If you’re working with any industry, you should be worrying about confined spaces. These dangerous, often hidden areas are not made for humans to easily access, are filled with danger and pose a significant risk to the lives of those who will have to enter them.
Ignoring a confined space could literally be the difference between life and death.
Under the domestic laws defined in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers are responsible at all times for ensuring the safety of their employers and others within their premises. Not worrying about confined spaces means an employer is not worrying about the welfare of their staff; a deadly mistake that could easily lead to catastrophic results. Employers who ignore the importance of confined spaces place their employees under massive risk and also risk huge fines and repercussions should an incident occur involving an enclosed environment.
If you’re not an employer, but are an employee, you should also be concerned about confined spaces. There’s a chance at some point in your career you may be asked to go inside a small area for routine maintenance/repairs etc; if you’re not familiar with the dangers and precautions you should be taking before entering a confined space, you’re risking your life entering the space.
Your employer should ahead of time have carried out risk assessments within the workplace to define a confined space. They should also provide the equipment, training and responsible staff members to ensure that work carried out within these areas can take place safely and that trained rescue staff are on-hand at all times to save a person affected by an incident within the area. Every person involved with the procedure must be adequately trained, have an understanding of the dangers of confined spaces and be confident about working around these areas. Any hazards must be clearly identified, removed where possible or precautionary measures must be taken.
Don’t ignore confined spaces – they’re a huge danger to all involved and must be treat with respect and caution.
The examples below are just a few examples of incidents that have occurred within confined spaces.
- Death due to carbon dioxide poisoning in an enclosed environment
- Liquor fumes cause deaths
- Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen in water meter chamber
- Crushed to death by limestone dust in a quarry