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Risk Assessment and Hazard Control in Confined Work Spaces

by RaihanGardiner

There are many hazards that are associated with working in confined spaces. And you need to carry out careful assessment of risks in order to come up with effective measures for hazard control. Some of the confined spaces you may be working in can be pits, tanks, silos etc.

You will learn about risk assessment in confined space training so that you are able to identify and evaluate potential threats and risks that are associated with this situation. This allows you to prioritise the hazards. When you are able to identify potential hazards proactively, you will be able to carry out appropriate control measures in order to minimize the chances of these accidents and injuries happening. First, you need to identify the potential hazards. There can be physical hazards such as having restricted access. The entry and exits to the area can be limited. You also may not have proper lighting in the work area. Then there are environmental hazards that are associated with working in confined spaces such as deficiency of oxygen, presence of toxic gases and flammable vapours.

You have to evaluate

How likely it is for a potential hazard to happen and the severity of the hazard. To do this, you have to evaluate a few factors such as duration of exposure, nature of the hazard, number of workers affected by this and the frequency of exposure. Some of the tools that can be used here are job safety and hazard analysis along with risk matrices. There should be proper risk control measures identified and implemented so that these hazards can be mitigated. This will contribute to a lowering of overall accidents in the workplace. Engineering controls such as barriers, access controls and ventilation systems can be used along with administrative controls like training, confined entry procures and work permits. Also, personal protective equipment have to be used which include fall protection, harnesses and respiratory protection. Some of the respiratory protection that can be provided to the workers are air supplied breathing apparatus and respirators.

The effectiveness of the risk control measures

Should be monitored regularly and reviews so that you can ensure these are up to date. You need to carry out periodic audits, inspections and safety reviews to see whether there are any changes in the work conditions or the hazards present. In this case, you can make relevant adjustments to the control measures so that they are still effective. Engineering controls can be used to minimise hazards at the source. For example, when air quality is poor, this can be improved with the installation of ventilation systems. You can use mechanical ventilation to remove any accumulated toxic fumes or gases. There should be barriers in place to prevent workers being entrapped. Guards can be placed for this purpose as well. Pre-entry assessments should be carried out along with developing procedures for confined space entry to mitigate risks. You need to make sure that the workers are given comprehensive training and supervision.

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