TB Steam Rotary Services
With confined space works covering a wide range of industries and operational requirements, there are various working scenarios to contend with and one plan cannot fit all eventualities. Confined spaces are not just ‘holes in the ground’, and as industry and commerce evolve so do the associated workplace locations and hazards. Appropriate consideration must be given to safe systems of work at each workplace environment based on its own merits.
If you aim to ensure that the operational requirements of working in a confined space are fulfilled by planning for worst case scenarios that include all associated hazards - both present and introduced by the works party - then you should also factor in the manpower and equipment needed to ensure an expedient extrication of a casualty if required in an emergency.
It’s this element that in our experience is overlooked the most. Planning for an emergency is often perceived as an expensive and potentially unnecessary objective, or perhaps it’s not planned to an accurate level relative to the hazards to which the workforce could be exposed. Either way, not enough emphasis is placed on the safe system of casualty extrication during an emergency situation.
The HSE regulations define confined space works as “Any place in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a specified risk of harm from fire or explosion; loss of consciousness from increase in body temperature; loss of consciousness or asphyxiation from gas, vapour or lack of oxygen; drowning or asphyxiation from free flowing solids.”
Some confined spaces are fairly easy to identify, eg enclosures with limited openings:
Others may be less obvious, but can be equally dangerous, for example:
It is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of confined spaces. Some places may become confined spaces when work is carried out, or during their construction, fabrication or subsequent modification.
You must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all work activities to decide what measures are necessary for safety (under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 3). For work in confined spaces this means identifying the hazards present, assessing the risks and determining what precautions to take. In most cases the assessment will include consideration of:
TB Steam Rotary Services Ltd, 36 Burnside Crescent Skipton, BD23 2BJ,Company Registration 6988728 VAT 9814 929 77