A confined space in the workplace is defined as being a space that is large enough for an employee to enter, but with restricted means of entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Types of confined spaces include tunnels, boilers, manholes, pits, tanks, pipelines, etc. The conditions of confined spaces categorize them as hazardous and may be associated with causing serious injury or death to workers if proper safety precautions are not taken. Which is why this is not ordinary safety training, and you must hire a professional to train employees on confined space safety.
Confined space training will teach your team how to identify confined spaces, follow protocol, and how and when to use all safety equipment. Employees must never, ever go into a confined space, permit or non-permit, before receiving proper training. First Response provides actual hands-on experience in a mobile simulator to put your employees directly into those dangerous situations, without the risk. It’s important to maintain composure, professionalism, and seamless prevention procedures in these situations, and what better way than with hands-on exercises.
Determining Permit Space Entry
A professional, confined space safety trainer will know how to determine if a space is a permit-required confined space. Permit spaces have a long list of things that could cause immediate danger on anyone inside, and this must be determined before anyone enters, or in some cases, even goes near the confined space.
As defined by OSHA, a permit-required confined space will have one or more of the following;
- contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
- contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
- has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
- contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress
The confined safety trainer will show employees how and where to spot these hazards in confined spaces. A non-permit confined space does not have those extra dangers like potential hazardous atmosphere or potential to be engulfed by material within the space.
Determining Dangers that can Lead to a Collapse
A confined spaces safety specialist is going to know how to spot slants, angles, and lose ceilings that have the potential to collapse. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewed hundreds of unfortunate confined space deaths, and out of 670 confined space deaths, the most common types of hazards were atmospheric conditions and loose material.
Though asphyxiation remains one of the top risks and reasons of death, a collapse endangers all involved from workers trapped beyond the collapse, to the injured worker, and rescue workers. Fully assessing the confined spaces and knowing how to spot a dangerous location within the space are crucial to maintaining an accident-free zone.
Knowing the Importance of Atmospheric Testing
Confined space training discusses the importance of atmosphere testing and how it will reveal what equipment will be necessary to work safely in that hazardous environment. In a confined space incident in 2010, perilous mistakes were made by not tasting the atmosphere that affected both the confined space worker and the rescuers that came. Firefighter rescue came to the scene of a worker lying at the bottom of a deep manhole, assuming he had fallen by accident, they began lowering themselves down the manhole to rescue. It turns out the low 2% oxygen levels had initially made the worker pass out and fall headfirst down the hole, due to him not testing the air beforehand. Because this knowledge was also not known to rescuers, they passed out on their way down, and they required rescue themselves.
The NIOSH in their investigation of confined space-related deaths found that 60% of these fatal accidents are of the rescue workers. Taking these precautions and helping managers receive training to properly identify, protect, and execute these types of atmospheric conditions is what a professional confined space safety trainer can do.
Proper Securing Techniques
A large part of safety training for confined spaces is knowing how to enter and exit the area safely. Many confined spaces may have only the one entrance and exit, and knowing how to utilize that safely can be a difference between life and death. Confined space training will include efficient monitoring of the confined space and proper ventilation techniques. Both of which involve making sure employees know how to identify danger before they enter, while they are inside, and while they are exiting the confined space. Properly securing the space, and themselves if they are repelling or climbing must be taught by someone who knows how these insecure areas work, and what to do when they fail.
How to Compose Oneself in an Emergency
A major part of the safety training includes teaching managers and their employees techniques on how to avert panic and maintain composure in an emergency. Knowing what to do and how to do it when faced with a situation will help save you from serious injury and may even save your life. In a small space, panic can set in, and it can be difficult to remember how to react in this time safely. Workers should leave the training feeling confident that when faced with an emergency, they know how to breathe, concentrate, and let their training take over.
It is very important to receive confined space training from an accredited, professional team of trainers who know everything there is to know about working in a confined space. The First Response confined space training includes four hours of classroom time, followed by a one-hour hands-on training experience. The classes can be done year-round, and will leave you and your team with OSHA certified training. Let us be the ones to give you the training you need to perform to the best of your abilities, and as safely as possible.