Working in a confined space: 5 vital points to consider

confined space

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Umer Malik

A confined space is an area in a workplace, which is not suitable for people to stay there for a long time. These small spaces are however just large enough for people to pass and do their assigned work and nothing more than that. They have limited means of entry and exit and accommodate a large group of people together.

In 2018, around 166 workers died due to ignorance of the confined space and this number keeps on increasing. So, if you are the one that works in a confined space, here are 5 vital points you should consider for your safety.

1. An entry and exit plan

Confined spaces are very small and awkwardly shaped. There is usually only one entry and exit point for these places. Before entering a confined worksite, you must spot an entry and exit plan.

It might seem kiddish at first because it’s just one door for entry and exit. But that is the main point here, there is only one door for entry and exit.

A typical worksite is not at all designed to handle any sort of rush. Exiting out of the confined space is a huge task again, so knowing the exact plan for entry and exit solves a lot of management inconveniences happening in the future.

2. The Atmosphere

The atmosphere in a confined space is very suffocating. But it can be made habitable if the correct procedures are followed. Before beginning the work in a confined space, equipment should be used to detect the air quality.

This is also important, because most of the time, hazardous work goes under confined spaces, if not detected properly, during an emergency they might worsen the situation.

The tests should be done for inspection of 3 things:

·        Amount of oxygen

·        Toxic gases

·        Combustible gases

These tests should be done regularly, to ensure the atmospheric condition of the workplace remains safe.

3. Lighting

The amount of lighting available in a confined workstation is never on the bright side. Lightings are often ignored in workplaces and workers are forced to work in dim conditions.

Dim lighting causes small accidents like tripping and falling. If the workers won’t be able to see properly, how will they protect themselves from these accidents?

In order to prevent that, a sufficient number of light bulbs should be placed in the confined zones that are compatible with that environment. A small amount of effort might prevent the disruption that comes from the poor working conditions.

4. Space condition

If it hasn’t been established already, confined spaces are not a habitable or preferred place for work. But it can be made habitable if proper care is used.

Space conditions should be kept in check regularly. During the times of entry, working hours, time of exit, and even while recruiting new workers.

The workplace should have a proper ventilation system that is suitable for ventilators so the workplace doesn’t get suffocated. Or if the workplace poses any other kinds of hazards, rescue kits should be made available for the workers immediately.

5. Communication

And lastly, communicate. This is always ignored a lot in worksites but it is of immense importance if you wish to carry the whole process smoothly.

Communicate with your workers about everything that will concern them. Starting from the work schedule, regular inspection of the work area, drafting the rescue operation, everything.

You can use various devices for smooth communication, including

·        Wireless communication

·        Hands-free

·        Man-down alarm

·        And independently operated.

The first device is the most popular and used for places like these.

Plan the whole work and mindfully communicate it to the workers. If smooth communication is encouraged and proper training is provided, you can prevent several fatalities.

Over to you…

There is no doubt that high risks are associated with working in confined zones. In almost all fatal cases, adequate training and precautionary measures are never used, which makes the situation so worse. Immediate bosses and employers are just interested in getting their work done which sometimes leads to life-threatening accidents.

It’s high time that employers and companies should take precautionary measures seriously. Employees should be given confined space training so that they are well-equipped to keep the situations under control.

A trained workforce might delay the work for a bit, but they will be equipped to take control of delicate situations without any casualties.

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