Confined spaces…it can be terrifying for many people, however going into a very a small space is often a necessary part of many peoples jobs. Often people feel uncomfortable in small spaces and can suffer from claustrophobia.
When thinking about a confined space, it’s probably common to instantly think of a manhole or something similar. Yet, a confined space is really anywhere that is enclosed and presents a health and safety issue. There are various places that are classified as confined spaces which are not even very obvious – for example having a space with lack of oxygen is classified as a confined space (bet you didn’t know that, did you?!).
Your job may require you to work within a confined space so it’s probably a good idea to understand how to deal with it in the best way possible! Which is why it is important to be aware of the various health and safety implications you should be aware of…that is why in this weeks’ blog we’re going to look at what you need to know about confined spaces from a health and safety perspective, what dangers they present and tips for working in such conditions!
What Are The Dangers of Working In a Confined Space?
There are many dangers posed from working in a confined space which can prove difficult from a health and safety standpoint.
- With that being said, it can also be hard to ascertain exactly how many deaths from working in confined spaces in the UK have occurred, yet figures have estimated to be around 15 people per year.
- A lack of oxygen – a most obvious danger
- Water suddenly filling a confined space
- Fire in a confined space
- Sudden rises in body temperature
All of the above factors post significant risks, yet there are various other factors which can depend on the confined space itself. Emergency evacuation can also be considered as a factor too, as this can be quite problematic.
In addition, there are numerous laws that dictate health and safety at work, which requires a thorough risk assessment to be carried out, in order to decide whether or not the confined space is safe to go into or not. The Confined Spaces Regulations (1997) has implemented various duties which must be met – you can read more about these with the HSE document – Confined Spaces: A brief guide to working safely.
Tips For Working In Confined Spaces
When it comes to working in confined spaces, what should you do and what should you not do?
- Risk assessment – As mentioned above – this is crucial. You also need to ensure the person carrying out the risk assessment not only is completely aware of what they are doing, but is also aware of the emergency procedures if should something goes wrong.
- Confined spaces should be avoided as much as possible – If the work is able to be carried out without entering the confined space, then all measures should be taken in order to enforce this. That being said, if working in the confined space is necessary it is then important to remember that there are hazards and many dangers which could occur at any time.
- Expert training – It is very important to have advanced knowledge on the hazards, dangers and health and safety implications on confined spaces. If danger was to occur within a confined space – your knowledge could save your own, or somebody’s life.
As we all know, working in a confined space is can be unavoidable and there are a lot of risks involved in going into one. That is why all measures should be taken to ensure a proper level of health and safety is maintained.
In fact one of the best ways to protect yourself and others, is to invest in proper training. Here at Project Skills Solutions we offer a wide range of confined space training courses which covers everything you need to know with working in a confined space, the hazards you need to be aware of and being safe.
To find out more about the confined space courses Project Skills Solutions offer, click here.
Working in a confined space should be avoided as much as possible however, if it is necessary it is very important to ensure you are trained on what to do in an emergency situation.