Why Are Confined Spaces Considered a Workplace Hazard?

Many workplaces include confined spaces, which are spacious enough for workers to enter and complete specific tasks. However, these spaces may not be built for humans as their primary purpose.

A confined space may have restricted or limited exit and entry points. Thus, these spaces tend not to be meant for continuous occupancy. Some examples of such areas include vaults, pipelines, tunnels, and ducting.

Now let’s look into why we deem confined spaces as workplace hazards.

Workplace Hazards in Confined Spaces

Are confined spaces dangerous? What are the risks of confined spaces?

Working in confined spaces is hazardous due to the dangers of toxic gases, the possibility of fire, and low oxygen levels. Also, flooding and drowning are possibilities we should be aware of in such spaces. Workers can also suffer from asphyxiation due to other causes such as grain, dust, or another pollutant.

When analyzing the dangers of a confined space, you should check for:

All these hazards are enough for any employer to worry about in various standard-size work environments. However, in confined spaces with limited access, the threats we mentioned need serious consideration.

What You Need to Consider

You should avoid performing work in confined spaces whenever feasible. If this isn’t doable, you’ll need to analyze the hazards of the restricted place in question and devise a strategy for dealing with them.

Now we’ll summarize some actions that you could take to lessen the hazards within your particular confined space. Here are some example scenarios:

You also need to consider emergy situations in case they might occur. For instance, if a worker enters a confined space, how will they know if the fumes are dangerous? Also, how would you get the worker out if the fumes were too intense?

It’s worth conducting a what is job hazard analysis. This way, you not only understand the hazards of the space but the job role too.

Enforcement and Standards

Specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules for maritime, construction, and general industry address confined spaces. OSHA defines a confined space as a permit-required confined space or permit space if it meets specific criteria.

The space will be permit-required if it meets one or more of these conditions:

To be sure about all the rules and regulations on this topic, be sure to check out the OSHA website.

Learn About Confined Spaces

If you are an employer that has confined spaces, it’s crucial to understand your responsibilities. Whether you or someone else is entering a confined space, you should carry out a full assessment. Also, learn the standards that OSHA has laid out.

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