It is inevitable at some point in your career that you may need to enter a confined space. Understanding the dangers and being able to identify a confined space and any hazards you may encounter is critical to navigating this situation safely.

A confined space is defined as any space that is large enough to enter, is not designed for human occupancy, and has limited entry or exit points. A confined space permit is needed for any confined space with a hazardous atmosphere or some other type of hazard, such as an electrical or mechanical hazard.

All confined spaces present a serious hazard and require some prior planning before entering the space, as defined above. Some things to consider are the essential dangers of confined spaces which include:

🛑 Toxic fumes
🛑 Oxygen deficiency
🛑 Explosive atmosphere
🛑 Exposure to hazardous energies
🛑 Moving parts of the machine
🛑 Envelopment/entrapment

🛑 Necessary safety precautions

Therefore — it is important to conduct a hazard assessment in all confined spaces and:

✅Identify all necessary hazards and controls; include the hazards created by the job itself

✅For a confined space permit, make sure the space is approved by the leadership on the project or client

In a confined space, the air must be tested—but in the required confined space it must be subjected to a control, and therefore when testing, you must:

✅Ensure there is initial and continuous monitoring of toxic/flammable fumes and oxygen
✅Ensure adequate ventilation and control when performing hot work or applying chemicals, either in a confined space or in an adjacent area
✅Check for adequate and continuous ventilation when hazardous atmospheres are possible
✅Block all energy sources — this includes stored energies
✅Wear appropriate protective controls and equipment — this includes respiratory, skin, eye, and fall protection in some cases
✅Set up a recovery device consisting of a tripod with a retractable lifeline
✅Make sure you have a rescue plan or contact a local jurisdiction that has authority to see if they can provide a safe rescue

✅Confirm that confined space training is up-to-date for: entrance staff, present supervisors, rescue personnel

You should also have an assistant that:

✅Is located at the point of entry
✅Is in communication with rescue and entry personnel

✅Knows how to prevent heat stress: 1) Take breaks as needed in a cool environment, and 2) Don’t forget to consume a lot of liquids

Remember that a confined space can be deadly if the entrance is not carefully planned and executed.

Please contact the Weifield Safety department if you have any questions about a confined space. We can assist you and your team in pre-planning and executing entrance to a confined space safely.

Here’s a great link to learn more about confined spaces:

Until next time…𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐒𝐚𝐟𝐞—𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐲!

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