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Working in Confined Space: Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Working in Confined Space: Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Confined Space: Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Working in Confined Space: Safety Do’s and Don’ts



Confined space safety Dos and Don’ts: Most of the time in the workplace and especially during management safety committee meeting with the company's management team, people from different disciplines debating on confined space. Some peoples interpret that any space which is confined or small in size is classified as confined space, while some say that confined space is where there is a potential risk of exposure to toxic gas or lack of oxygen. Also, it has been observed that it is debated to decide on the confined space when excavating trenches or entering an open storm-water channel for cleaning purposes when the depth is 1.2 meter or more.
So, what exactly is the confined space? A confined space is a fully or partially enclosed space which is not primarily designed or intended for permanent or continuous human occupancy, access and egress of which is limited or restricted and there is a potential health and safety risk to life due to lack of oxygen, exposure to toxic gas, its design and construction, characteristics of the material or substance in it and the type of work activities envisaged.
Each year, several people are rescued from a confined space and many of them are registered fatal. Confined spaces are also riskier for rescuers if they have not followed the correct rescue techniques. To avoid such incidents, there must be effective planning including hazard identification and risk assessment, decision of safety measures, monitoring of the work permit system and pre-rescue planning.
Working in a Confined Space Safety Do's and Don'ts should be prepared and communicated to workers for better implementation of safety control measures and to avoid unintended incidents.
For work in confined spaces, different rules and regulations established by local and international regulatory bodies. Regulations may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. All of these requirements should be part of the planning process and should be incorporated when preparing for safety Dos and Don'ts.

Safety Dos and Don’ts of Confined Space Work

Here are general Safety Dos and Don'ts for working in confined spaces to educate workers and ensure safety precautions when working in confined spaces.

Dos

  1. Do a risk assessment based on the nature of the work and the type of confined space.
  2. Follow the work permit system (confined space work permit) and attached the blind list or line brake note if a confined space is connected to liquid or gas lines.
  3. Communicate the hazards, risks and safety measures to workers before starting work in a confined space.
  4. Drain, wash, dry and purge for sufficient time to ensure a safe atmosphere inside.
  5. Positively isolate the confined space by blinding or disconnecting the pipeline.
  6. Vent the confined space and provide continuous ventilation.
  7. Keep all manholes open and provide continuous ventilation by natural or mechanical means.
  8. Check and monitor levels of LEL, oxygen, toxics and asphyxiating gases.
  9. A competent person should confirm that the space is safe for work by confirming the healthy atmosphere and other safety measures as per risk assessment.
  10. Deploy and keep standby personnel at manhole or entry point with an entry and exit logbook.
  11. Provide a tag board at the entrance/ manhole and record people entering and leaving the confined space.
  12. The person on standby must ensure communication with the workers.
  13. When entering a tank or deep vessel, use a full body harness and lifeline, with the free end held by the standby person.
  14. Post a hazard board or label such as "Danger - Confined Space" and "Restricted Entry"
  15. Use an SCBA if the oxygen concentration is less than 19.5% or if there is a risk of exposure to toxic gases.
  16. All tools and equipment must be spark or flame proof if the confined space presents a risk of flammable gases / vapours.
  17. All lights / light bulbs must be in a protected enclosure to prevent physical damage.


Don’ts

  1. Don’t enter a confined space without an entry permit.
  2. Don’t work unsupervised in a confined space.
  3. Don’t work if you are medically unfit.
  4. Don’t enter a confined space with an oxygen parentage less than 19.5 or greater than 22.5.
  5. Don’t rely on closed valves without blinding for insolation.
  6. Don’t use any electrical equipment, including a light bulb with a voltage greater than 24 V.
  7. Don’t take gas cylinders inside the confined space for welding work.
  8. Don’t allow more than one type of work simultaneously in a confined space.
  9. Don’t leave the unused manhole open without barricades and warning signs.
  10. Don’t smoke or eat food in the confined space.
  11. Don’t stay in the confined space if you feel uncomfortable.


Summary
Working in a confined space is riskier job therefore must follow all the safety precautions identified in the risk assessment and the work permit system. Availability of standby person must be ensured at the entry point, establish effective communication, and maintain the entry and exit log sheet.

Working in a Confined Space Safety Dos and Don'ts help workers understand how to follow simple but effective safety precautions while on the job. Safety Dos and Don'ts should also be posted in the workplace near the manhole or entry point to remind workers of safety precautions.

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