Industrial Safety and Health Management
Industrial Safety and Health Management Confined spaces refer to rooms, areas or workplaces with a configuration that is capable of getting in the way of those who are working, entering or exiting in that area. In is designed as such for it serves to have continuous employee occupancy. Examples of confined spaces may include underground vaults, manholes, pits, tanks, silos pipelines and process vessels. As such, these confined spaces, being designed this way poses certain hazards or gives them characteristics that make them hazardous.
Confined spaces are said to be hazardous because of poor air quality and may include inhalation of “bad air”, chemical exposures from ingestion and skin contact, fire hazards, process-related hazards such as residual chemicals, noise, radiation, safety hazards and temperature extremes. Some hazardous characteristics of confined spaces may also include collapse or even simple shifting of bulk materials, barrier failures, uncontrolled energy, visibility and biological hazards.
Poor air quality is generally observed in confined spaces wherein an individual working in the confined spaces experiences insufficient amount of oxygen, resulting to difficulty in breathing. Furthermore, it could be related to chemical exposure especially when the chemical or poisonous substance is volatile. Such chemicals may lead to unconsciousness or to serious illnesses.
Fire hazards may includes the flammable atmosphere of confined spaces or presence of flammable liquids and gases whereas safety hazards includes slips, entanglement, falls, hazards due to the structure of confined spaces and moving parts of the equipment.
The temperature extremes which can be felt in the confined spaces may include atmospheric and surface temperatures, whereas barrier failures may result to flood or the discharge of large amounts of free-flowing solids. References Asfahl, R. (1990). Industrial Safety and Health Management. USA: Prentice Hall.