July 7, 2021
Working in confined spaces
In confined spaces may be present or may accidentally occur formation of hazardous , asphyxiating, toxic, flammable or explosive atmospheres. Prevention, that has its aim in the reduction of risks, must firstly evaluate the hazards and subsequently, taking adequate safety measures, working to increase the awareness of the risks and of the accidental events, and of the related necessary protection measures to be taken from the workers involved. Given the importance of this topic, Sir Safety System has dedicated this publication to deepen the matter of working in confined spaces, with the purpose of making operators aware and providing technical indications and possible solutions for those operating in those working environments. “Confined space” is intended to be an enclosed space, featuring limited access points and an unfavourable natural ventilation, where considerable accidents may occurr, leading to serious injuries and even to death, in presence of dangerous chemical agents (e.g. gazes, vapours, dusts). Many confined spaces are easy to identify as such, because the limited access points and the low ventilation are well-evident and/or the presence of dangerous chemical agents is well-known (storage tanks, silos, reaction vessels, sewers, septic tanks).
Other spaces, at first sight may not appear as confined. In particular circumstances relating to the modalities of performing the working activity or arising from the surrounding environment, they may reveal themselves as such and reveal them dangerous; this is the case of top-opening rooms, tanks, purifiers, combustion chambers in furnaces and similar, various channellings, non-ventilated or low ventilated rooms. Of course, the above mentioned examples are not intended to be exhaustive about the numerous cases that may occur, but, as well as representing the most frequent number of situations where those events may occur, they intend to be an inviation to reflection and caution, every time it is necessary to perform working activities in such environments. In those cases, indeed, the risk assessment must consider all the hazards and situations that, in non-confined spaces, may not present any danger.