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Confined Space Hazards and Control Measures
What is a Confined Space?
A confined space is a limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc. (Source: OSHA).
Working in confined space is an extremely high-risk activity. According to the data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program, fatal injuries in confined spaces averages 92 fatalities per year. That’s almost two per week.
According to OSHA, over 4.8 million confined space entries are made every year in the United States, and over 11,000 injuries that occur could be prevented if employers and workers had simply follow the standard procedures.
- Regulation 6 of the Confined Space Regulations 1997, UK
- ANSI (American national standard institute) standard for confined spaces, 1989
- Pakistan the factories act 1934 as amended to 1997 chapter 3 ‘health & safety’ clause 33-K, point # 4, ‘suitable breathing apparatus, reviving apparatus and belts and ropes shall in every factory be kept ready for instance use beside any confined space which any person entered and all such apparatus shall be periodically examined and certified by a competent person to be fit for use and a sufficient number of person employed in every factory shall be trained and practiced in use of all such apparatus and in the method of restoring respiration’.
Confined Space Hazards:
- Lack of Oxygen
- Temperature extreme
- Flammable atmosphere
- Toxic environment
- Poor visibility
- Premature collapse
- Chemical exposure
- Underground utilities
- Biological hazards
Confined Space Control Measures:
- Risk assessment
- Atmospheric testing (gas Testing)
- Ensure safe access and egress
- Isolation of utilities
- Adequate ventilation
- Establish communication means
- Intrinsically safe equipment
- Safety signs/ Barricade
- Ensure entrants’ training & supervision
- Fire emergency/ standby rescue
- Ensure Permit to work system
- Tripod stand & harness
- Personal protective equipment