When it comes to drilling through concrete or sawing through an old building in the process of tearing it down, your workers might encounter confined spaces. These spaces are often found on below-ground levels of existing buildings or anywhere where you might need to detect pipes, rebar, and utility lines before beginning any work. Whenever confined spaces become a concern, you should stop and ask these questions before proceeding.
What is a Confined Space?
First things first, how can you identify a confined space? Any potential confined spaces need to be labeled as such and are also given markings indicating that it is inaccessible without written authorization. Sewers, water tanks, and other similar locations are possibly hazardous, so any and all proper safety measures should be taken before sending workers in, whether to explore or clear out debris. For instance, consider the safety of the atmosphere within the confined space.
How Safe is the Atmosphere?
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is necessary on all job sites or work zones. However, when preparing to enter a confined space, this gear becomes even more vital. Any workers going in will need clean oxygen so that they can breathe normally without fatal consequences. These tragic outcomes won’t only result from a lack of oxygen, however – too much oxygen can be just as dangerous. Plus, other gaseous hazards may be present, such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide.
How Can We Communicate?
Communication is essential, especially if something happens and workers become trapped. Technology to facilitate communication, particularly in situations where conventional methods might be cut off due to distance or depth, are always evolving to meet new demands and challenges. For example, some of the more modern gas detectors have built-in alarm systems that will automatically trigger when it hasn’t moved for too long. This alarm indicates that the user is potentially in need of assistance or rescue due to their environment injuring or otherwise incapacitating them. Having someone posted by the entrances and exits from the confined space is another way to ensure that anyone who gets trapped can be rescued in time.
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At G&M Services we’re proud to champion safer, healthier workplaces and can help you develop positive safety practices in your business. We incorporate weekly and monthly discussions and meeting to ensure that all involved are aware of how to handle equipment and potential situations that could occur during a project.
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