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A confined space represents a reasonably foreseeable risk to workers

In all business environments, it is critical to managing the health and safety risks that are in place. In this blog post, we are going to deal with working in confined spaces in particular. A confined space is defined as one that is enclosed and has a reasonably foreseeable risk to workers of drowning, asphyxiation, loss of consciousness, explosion, or fire. Such environments can be large or they can restrictive and small for workers. Below, we will explain more about the different hazards and the steps that you need to take to safeguard your employees.

The hazards of working in a small space

Working in a confined space can be dangerous because of the risk of fire, lowered oxygen levels, or noxious fumes. There are a number of other dangers that can be associated with this sort of working environment. Examples include asphyxiation from a sort of grain, dust, or another contaminant, as well as the risk of flooding or drowning.

The legislation you will need to adhere here to

There are a number of different laws in place relating to working in a confined space, so you will need to refer to these. The main one is the Confined Spaces Regulations of 1997. However, there are some other laws that may be applicable, including the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002, Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), the latter of which refers to using machinery within a confined space.

The steps you need to take when it comes to safeguarding confined spaces

Whenever it is possible for you to do so, carrying out a task in a confined space should be avoided. If this is not feasible, it is imperative to evaluate the risks associated with the confined space in question so that you can put a plan in place in terms of controlling these risks.

For example, if someone is going to be working in a space that is confined and there is not sufficient oxygen to breathe effectively, it is critical that breathing apparatus is provided or the space is ventilated so that oxygen levels are increased before anyone enters.

Make sure you put emergency arrangements in place where required

If someone is going to be working in a confined space, it is imperative that you consider how you are going to know whether or not they are in danger. If someone has become overcome by the fumes, you need to make sure that there is a way you can be alerted immediately. Furthermore, you need to have an effective strategy for getting the person out of there so that they can get the help they need.

All in all, there is no denying that all businesses have a legal and moral obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment for their workers. If your workers operate in confined spaces, use the advice and information below to find out what training they need to make sure that this is the case.

Working in Low Risk Confined Spaces

This 1-day course works towards National Occupational Standards (EUSCS01) and is about working in an environment with low risk entry with adequate natural or mechanical ventilation. Access appears simple and unobstructed and there is no likely risk of flooding (for example meter pits, valve chambers; stairwells). It is a blend of theory and practical information, to allow for the delegate to gain the most from the course.

Working in Medium Risk Confined Spaces

This course works towards National Occupational Standards (EUSCS02) and is about working in confined space environments where there is a medium risk that a specified hazard may be present. It will require the use of escape breathing apparatus. It will involve the presence of one or more people – positioned outside the confined space – who have designated responsibilities for controlling the entry and dealing with emergencies.

Working in High Risk Confined Spaces

This course works towards National Occupational Standards (EUSCS03) and is about working in confined spaces which have non-standard entries and which, in consequence, makes rescue difficult. It is likely that a hazard will be present at some time during the entry.

If you need more information on confined space training for your business, contact Vital Fire Solutions via our online enquiry form here. Or call us on: 0191 375 5690.

One of our team will get back to you with details on how we can help very soon. Thank you for your time and interest in Vital Fire Solutions Ltd, part of the County Durham and Darlington Fire Authority’s service.