Safety Tip - Confined Spaces

What is a Confined Space?

A confined space is any space that:

Risks

Never assume a confined space is safe. Some of the risks are:

Not Always Easy to Recognize

The first step is to identify confined spaces at your work site. Obviously, such things as tanks and vessels are confined spaces, but so is any area that has limited entry or exit. Some of these areas include open-topped water and degreaser tanks, open pits, and deep trenches.

Know the Limits

An Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) tells you how long you can work in a specific atmosphere for a certain amount of time. Know the limits. Check the MSDS or the OH&S Legislation.

Testing

Atmospheres can only be detected by careful initial and on-going testing with proper equipment. Remember - an atmosphere can become potentially fatal at a moment's notice.

Plan Your Entry

Before entering a confined space:

There are many extra safe work practices and procedures for confined space entry. As well, there are often entry permit systems and Codes of Practice for Respiratory Protective Equipment needed. You need to know all the information BEFORE you enter a confined space.

Invisible Killers

Do you know what an area low in oxygen looks like? Of course not - it doesn't look like anything. It looks just as safe as any other area. That's why you have tools (detection and protection). Even the hazards that you do see are often made worse by a confined space. Rescue is made much more difficult - and rescuers are exposed to the danger too.

Creation of Deadly Atmospheres

Deadly atmospheres in confined spaces can be created by:

What's in There?

Confined spaces can hold many deadly atmospheres:

What do you have?

Often people don't think about confined spaces at home. Remember that a confined space is an area that is somehow restricted in entry and exit. Some examples of confined spaces in the home are:

Home improvement jobs such as painting, wallpapering, and sanding all produce airborne particles or vapours. These particles and vapours can build up if there is no proper ventilation. You need to ventilate and use personal protective equipment that is specific to the job you're doing.

Confined spaces in your home can be just as hazardous as many found in the workplace. And the workplace has procedures, permits, Codes of Practice, communication systems, and rescue equipment and procedures. What do you have?

Sometimes it may be best to use professionals to do the job. They have all the necessary equipment and training to do a high-quality, safe job.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

Questions, Questions, Questions

Before entering a confined space, ask yourself:

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