PennCoat, Inc. Safety Protocols – Confined Spaces

PennCoat Industrial Painting Confined Spaces

Working in Confined Spaces – Dangers and Precautions

In industrial environment, how do you define a confined space? A confined space is a partially enclosed or completely enclosed area that can be entered by a worker. As the space can be restrictive and small, there are high risks associated with it. From drowning and asphyxiation to fire and explosion, there are several risks workers are exposed to when working in confined spaces.

Industrial spaces consist of various structures that have enclosures with limited openings. It commonly consists of

  • Storage tanks
  • Wells
  • Tunnels
  • Pipes
  • Shafts
  • Pits
  • Enclosed drains
  • Reaction vessels
  • Chambers
  • Unventilated rooms
  • Sewers

Dangers in enclosed spaces can arise due to following conditions –

  • Presence of flammable vapors and excess oxygen can lead to explosion or fire.
  • Lack of oxygen due to formation of rust in steel tanks and vessels.
  • Presence of high concentration of dust.
  • Dangerous rise in body temperature due to presence of hot conditions. Even, loud noise can cause harm.
  • Toxins in air can cause harm to nervous and respiratory systems.
  • Apart from these, there can be physical dangers like entanglement from moving parts that can crush or suffocate the worker. Physical dangers also include trip, slip or fall on ladders or inside equipment.
  • Poor visibility inside enclosed equipment also increases risk related to accidents.

Hazards due to enclosed spaces result from the work environment hence work atmosphere is classified as High, Moderate or Low hazard atmosphere. It is very important make sure industries follow safety regulations and standards and their workers are well-equipped to work in hazardous conditions. Basic safety precautions for working in enclosed spaces include –

  • Try to do as much work as possible from outside. Enter the enclosed area only when it is unavoidable. Implement safe system for entering enclosed spaces and make sure all workers are aware of it. Plan your work area in a way that it reduces confined spaces and need of working in them.
  • Also, devise an emergency escape plan and conduct mock drills with the workers.
  • Devise methods to clean, inspect and sample operations from outside with appropriate equipments.
  • Check whether your workers are certified and trained to handle specific tasks related to confined spaces.
  • Workers should be equipped with Personal Protective equipment like gloves, goggles and others before working in confined areas.

Working in confined spaces is very dangerous, and can risk life of victims as well as other workers present around. Proper training and equipment can reduce the risk and damage caused by working in confined spaces.

PennCoat, Inc. promotes safe working conditions by hosting monthly safety meetings for every installer.