Important Questions to Ask about Confined Space Regulations and Safety: Part 2 of 2
Thousands and millions of workers need to access and work in confined spaces every year. However, every confined space has unique safety risks and hazards that need to be addressed. To ensure enhanced safety of your confined spaces, there are important questions that you need to ask. The questions will help you avoid most of the unwanted scenarios common with confined spaces. In our previous part, we learnt about the meaning of a confined space, common hazards involved in confined spaces, and how one can differentiate between different confined spaces. Read on to learn more essential questions to ask about confined space regulations and safety.
How Does a Confined Space Differ From a Restricted Space?
A confined space is normally a controlled space that requires a set of precautions in place before anyone is allowed to work on-site. It requires an approved permit, proper air ventilation, frequent atmospheric testing, efficient access equipment such as safety ladders, availability of fall protection equipment like the tripods, lanyard, and harnesses, and emergency response equipment, as well. A restricted space, on the other hand, refers to a site where people are generally barred from entering or exiting. These spaces might still require some control measures but the precautions will hardly be of the same level as those afforded to confined spaces requiring permits.
What is Confined Space Training?
Only competent workers and contractors should be allowed access to confined spaces for safety purposes. This competency is usually achieved through training. Most legislation requires different levels of training before one can enter and work in confined spaces. All employers need to provide proper training for their workforce intended to work in confined spaces. The training will help the workers acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and understanding to safely conduct their duties in the spaces. The training should also be provided to rescue team members and all operational personnel who’ll be involved with confined space duties. The training normally takes between half a day to a few days, depending on the activities to be completed and the complexity of the entry.
Does Confined Space Training Expire?
The validity of the training depends on the set local regulations or the results of internal risk assessments. However, most regulations require a review of the training after every two or three years. Non-project type workplaces require a review of the training annually and whenever there’s a change in circumstances that could affect workers’ safety when entering or working in confined spaces. The review is usually different from the actual training.
How Can I Mitigate the Hazards?
Once you’ve identified the confined space hazards in your workplace, you need to focus on their elimination and the control of hazards that can hardly be eliminated. It is recommended that you have a professional conduct an assessment of the hazards and provide professional advice on specific controls and protective measures to help mitigate the hazards. Make sure you document everything to ensure you develop the right strategies for mitigation and future reference.