Did you know that 5 million people enter confined spaces everyday to partake in their manual work and 259 of them lose their life?
Safety and protection always comes first. Regardless of how skilled the manual labour employees are in their job, their wellbeing is only guaranteed when every single employee is trained by a manual handling instructor to handle situations where their life and the lives of their fellow workers is put at risk.
Some lines of work such as construction, docks, sewage industry or mining demand workers to enter confined spaces on a regular basis, but what these workers and even their employers fail to realize is that these spaces can become death-traps for their skilled workers.
Knowledge is power and the following detailed information on confined spaces can actually help save lives of millions.
What makes a space confined?
If a space is enclosed to a great extent and there are risks of mechanical or electrical hazards, entrapment, slips, falling on sharp edges, or presence of hazardous materials then it is considered a confined space and training by a professional manual handling instructor is necessary.
Moreover, the injury in the confined space must be of serious nature in order to call for rescue. Scraps and minor injuries caused due to reasons other than that pertaining to a confined space is not counted as a confined space injury or fatality.
Hazards of Confined spaces:
Most times, dangers in the confined spaces are lurking in the deep dark corners and they are so quiet and unpredictable that they often take the poor worker by surprise. The untrained workers fail to notice the risks from an object or fail to recognize the smell, or leakage as any sort of risk.
Following are the hazards that are prevailing in confined spaces:
- Toxicity in the air;
- Excessive amount of heat in the are;
- Explosive or flammable material or gasses in the air;
- Lack of oxygen;
- A leakage of any sort;
- Free flow of any liquid or solid;
- Excess of oxygen in the atmosphere.
Workers who have become victims of confined space injury or fatality were mostly the ones who were untrained, had poor supervision, had lack of equipments or lack of understanding on how safety equipments work. The companies who put their employees the most risk are the ones who fail to acquire work permits, have no rescue procedures set in place, and do not carry any sort of risk assessment in order to detect any hazard or risks before sending their employees in the confined spaces to carry out their work.
Not only is it an ethical and moral responsibility of employers to get their employees trained by manual handling instructor for their safety in confined spaces, but it has also been declared a legal responsibility under the domestic law (the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974), according to which “Employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees and others.” It is required by law that the employers take every step–whether it involves training their employees or conducting risk assessment–in order to ensure their safety during work.
If you are an employer, then we suggest getting your workers trained by a manual handling instructor who is not only a trained but also holds considerable experience working in the field and has vast knowledge on the subject.