Confined Spaces are a significant hazard in many workplaces.
Every year workers die or suffer serious injury in confined space accidents. Tragically, the person entering to save the worker often also becomes a victim.
What are confined spaces?
Confined spaces may include:
- storage tanks
- process or pressure vessels
- silos & other tank-like compartments
- open-topped spaces (such as pits & degreasers)
- dry-cargo holds
- similar structures.
A comprehensive definition and explanation of confined spaces is provided in Australian Standard AS 2865-2009: Confined Spaces.
What risks are associated with confined spaces?
The hazards in a confined space may be due to their contents when in normal use (toxic chemicals, gases etc), atmospheric reactions after being opened (ie oxygen depletion due to algal growth or corrosion) or work being undertaken in the space (e.g. welding, painting).
Working in confined spaces
You need to able to recognise and identify any Confined Spaces at your workplace.
If any work is to be done in a confined space, you need prior to entry to undertake a formal hazard identification and risk assessment process and fully document suitable controls such as:
- Isolation points including lock-out/tag-out systems,
- Access permit system,
- Stand-by person requirements and responsibilities,
- Ventilation requirements,
- Atmospheric monitoring,
- PPE requirements,
- Rescue and first aid procedures.
All employees and contractors entering confined space should also have received suitable training about the requirements for entering the space.
Mairin can assist you by identifying hazards and developing your confined spaces management plans, including a permit system.
We can also undertake initial and follow-up atmospheric testing. If required we can organise portable personal gas monitors for personnel working in the confined space and provide training in their use. Give us a call on 03 5127 2311 to find out more.