In every aspect of life, you should know what you are getting into. Confined spaces are no different. Before you or your workers enter a confined space, you should be aware of the potential hazards and the ways to avoid them. Read the rest of this article before you barge into a confined space and risk your safety.
Confined space products help you provide a secure and safe environment in areas with limited space.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines confined space as an enclosed area with limited means for entry or exit. If you look around, you will actually see a lot of confined spaces. You’d find storage bins, manholes, silos and mining sites, to name a few.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unfavorable natural ventilation in confined spaces could contain or produce dangerous air contaminants. This means it’s not ideal for you to stay inside a confined space for a long time. Other confined space hazards you might find are explosions, panic attacks, ear injury, and collapses, which are more common in mining sites.
So, how can you or your workers avoid these hazards? Follow these steps from the Mine Safety and Health Administration:
1. Test and monitor the atmosphere. Before you enter a confined space, test the external atmosphere for oxygen content, flammability, and toxic contaminants. Make sure the oxygen content is at least 19.5%, which is the MSHA standard. Use a safety belt if the air seems dangerous.
2. Purge and ventilate. To remove air contaminants, you need to purge the confined space by ventilating the area. You need to do this before anybody enters the site.
3. Conduct trainings. Identify the hazards involved. Familiarize yourself with the entry and exit procedures. Remember the location of the safety equipment and first aid supplies and how to use them.
4. Use safety signs. Remind people of the hazards by posting safety signs. Confined space signs should be posted in multiple locations within the area. Block the entrance when work is not in progress.
Confined space signs clearly and effectively warn employees of confined space dangers.