Training to work in confined spaces

At CSI we take on some dangerous jobs that put our workers in confined spaces for a significant period of […]

May 21st, 2020

Category: News

At CSI we take on some dangerous jobs that put our workers in confined spaces for a significant period of time. Working in a confined space is one of the most dangerous of all workplace hazards. It has been researched and calculated that working in a confined space is up to 150 times more dangerous than doing the same job outside. Workers entering a confined space can do so under a recognised Permit to Work.

CSI has had a number of staff complete Confined Space and Gas Testing standards such as:

  • 17599 Plan a confined space entry
  • 18426 Demonstrate Knowledge of hazards associated with confined spaces
  • 5510 ic testing device to determine a suitable atmosphere exists to work safely.

The key document to follow is the AS 2865: 1995 Safe working in a confined space. This standard was prepared so workers can meet the need for requirements for the prevention of occupational injuries associated with staff working in a confined space. Our team has enjoyed this training and has been putting their knowledge into practise around NZ.  Here is a quick summary of what it means to work within a confined space. 

What Is A Confined Space? 

According to Worksafe NZ a confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed space and is not intended or designed primarily for human occupancy and may present a risk from one or more of the following:

Unsafe concentration of harmful airborne contaminants unsafe concentration of:

            – flammable substances

            – unsafe levels of oxygen

            – substances that can cause engulfment.
Examples include: storage tanks, tank cars, process vessels, boilers, silos, pits, pipes, sewers, shafts, ducts and shipboard spaces.

The Dangers of Confined Spaces

Confined spaces have been likened to a serial killer. Year after year, people die when entering confined spaces to carry out work. In some cases, multiple fatalities occur when rescuers enter the space and become victims themselves. Consider these cases in New Zealand for example: 

  • A man was killed when he was engulfed in a silo containing sand.
  • Another example of two men that were hospitalised after inhaling hydrogen sulphide.
  • One man was cleaning inside a tank that previously stored a substance for cultivating mushrooms. When he lost consciousness, the second man climbed in to rescue him before also losing consciousness.
  • Three men died from lack of oxygen inside a sewer. 
  • A man drowned in slurry after being suffocated by fermentation fumes in a tank used to mash pig feed.
  • A winemaker inspecting a vat was suffocated by gases from fermenting wine.
  • A man was steam cleaning the inside of a fuel tank and died from lack of oxygen.

These New Zealand examples show just how dangerous it is to work in confined spaces.  The members of our team that have been trained to work in confined spaces have indicated that they believe anyone working within the construction sector and other associated consultants/contractors within the industry should be trained as understanding how to identify a confined space is not obvious without training and education. It is important to have a site-specific emergency procedure and emergency equipment for every confined space job.

To find out how our trained staff can help you please contact us or visit these Worksafe guides to learn more about working safely in a confined space.

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