The Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces

Crude Tanker Roll Over – Vernal Utah
May 15, 2015
Truck Roll Over Pulling Triple Trailers – Idaho, Interstate 15
June 2, 2015

The Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces

When working in an area that is not primarily designed for a place where people should be, workers are exposed to a number of safety risks—everything from ductwork and pipelines to vaults and manholes, to name a few. When it’s not possible to avoid working in these dangerous areas, the best thing you can do it learn how to mitigate some of the biggest risks.

Many people think of employees working in confined spaces and all the accompanying hazards with regards to mining, but they are present in many other industries as well. It’s important to train employees to never assume that a space is safe to enter, even if someone has previously worked there without any incident; conditions can change rapidly, and carelessness might prove lethal. Here are some common workplace dangers your employees might face.

1. Toxicity – Poisonous gases and fumes can be hard to detect at first (and in some cases might be completely undetectable), and by the time workers notice, they might be too weak to escape on their own. Even when the vapors are not lethal by themselves, there is a chance that they can impair judgement and the senses, potentially leading to injury or death.

2. Oxygen deprivation – Gases can displace the air and lead to an abnormally low oxygen level within the space, which will cause asphyxiation. Conversely, an oxygen rich environment is a hazard because of an increased risk of flammability.

3. Fire and explosions – Many of these environments are rich in combustible liquids and gases. Apart from the obvious risks to the workers, a fire can also heavily damage the surroundings and possibly cause a structural collapse.

4. Drowning – Because of the nature of confined spaces, a sudden surge of liquid can easily trap and drown workers. It is crucial to plan for and mitigate these risks, as rescue operations are difficult in a submerged space and people have very limited time to escape safely.

5. Physical strain – Lastly, you should not underestimate the physical and mental toll that working in a confined space might have on employees. For instance, the lack of ventilation combined with heavy personal protective equipment can cause conditions such as heat stroke or exhaustion.

Knowing the possible dangers is just the first step. We provide specialty training and certification that will give people the necessary skills to stay safe while working in these conditions. Combined with a hazard assessment and control program, you can ensure that the company is offering the safest possible conditions for all your employees.

When it comes to creating a safer workplace, you can always count on Enviro Care to help. Get in touch with us today to learn more.