May 18, 2024

What is confined space and its characteristics


What is confined space and its characteristics? The confined spaces are those enclosures that cannot be easily accessed or exited but imply a difficulty. They have unfavorable natural ventilation in which different toxic or flammable pollutants can accumulate, or have an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.

They are large enough for the worker to enter them to perform the assigned task; however, they are not designed for the continued occupation of employees, since they imply a much greater problem than normal enclosures. How to check gas inside confined space with Ventis MX4

What are confined spaces and their characteristics

Classification of confined spaces

They can be classified according to the opening, according to the risk and according to the danger posed to the workers.

 Classification of the spaces according to the opening

They can be opened at the top and with a depth that hinders natural ventilation, such as wells and open tanks.

Closed by a small entrance and exit opening, such as tanks, tunnels or sewers.

Classification of enclosed spaces according to the degree of danger

Class A: Those who present a very obvious danger to the lives of workers, such as the presence of toxic gases or the lack and/or enrichment of O2 in the premises.

Class B: Those that can generate some potential risk (such as injuries or illnesses) that can be controlled by the implementation of personnel protection.

Class C: The dangers of confined spaces of this type do not imply modifications in the usual work procedures. What is confined space definition and dangers

Classification of confined spaces according to risk

Another of the classifications that should not be overlooked when working is the risk. These might be: 

General: As they are narrow spaces with deficiencies in material conditions, they can cause:

Biological risks: For bites of insects, rodents, viruses or bacteria that can cause diseases.

Mechanical hazards: such as bumps, falls or injuries.

Ergonomic risks: Other accidents due to forced postures on irregular and/or sliding surfaces

Specific Are those risks that, due to the usual conditions in which the work is carried out, cause other hazards such as fire or explosion. what is confined space safety and measures

Prevention measures for confined spaces

As we have seen, there are many risks in confined spaces that endanger workers. However, many of these accidents are due to a lack of training by staff or poor communication about the installation and the correct conditions in which operations must be performed.

Proper ventilation is key for this type of enclosures. Highly qualified personnel should measure the environmental conditions from outside the confined space. These should always include:

 % lower explosion limit (LEL)

% oxygen

Carbon monoxide levels

Hydrogen sulfide levels.

In addition, an entry authorization system should be available that considers the review and control of the key points of the installation and the means and conditions in which the work should be performed. How to rescue in confined space

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