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Common Hazards in Confined Spaces

March 29 Safety Training, Workplace Safety

Confined spaces can be extremely dangerous for employees regardless of their proficiency or level of experience. Many workers are severely or fatally injured each year while working in these environments, so it is crucial to understand the common hazards in confined spaces and how to handle them. As leading providers of safety supplies and safety training, the team at EFAS Safety knows how important hazard awareness is for every work environment. That is why we have compiled a list of 4 common hazards in confined spaces to help workers understand what to be aware of and how to stay safe while on the job.

Learn about 4 tips to improve construction site safety.

4 Common Confined Space Hazards

The following hazards are among the most common and most dangerous when working in a confined space:

1. Lack of Oxygen

Oxygen can be removed from the atmosphere within a confined space through naturally occurring reactions. For example, there can be a reaction between certain soils, groundwater, or limestone, each of which can produce carbon dioxide to displace oxygen. Rust forming inside tanks can also cause a lack of oxygen, so it is crucial to ensure that these tanks are well-maintained and cared for. Before working in a confined space, the oxygen level should be measured and workers should be supplied with respiratory equipment.

2. Gases and Fumes

Poisonous gases and fumes can accumulate in confined spaces due to a lack of ventilation. If a worker will be painting, welding, or handling toxic substances in a confined space, they must wear proper respiratory equipment and ensure that the space is as ventilated as possible.

3. Fire and Explosions

Flammable liquids, fumes, and dust can gather within confined spaces and drastically increase the risk of fire. This risk is further increased during hot weather or when performing tasks such as welding. That is why it is crucial to ensure that every confined space within your facility is clean before performing any work.

4. Access Restrictions

Since confined spaces are difficult to enter and exit, it can be extremely difficult for workers to quickly escape from a hazardous situation. Emergency rescues are also exceptionally difficult to perform, especially if no other personnel are properly equipped to enter the space. Workers should always ensure that the entrance and exit to the confined space are clear of obstructions to make emergency exits as smooth as possible. Nearby workers should also be trained in safe rescue procedures to maximize the chance of rescuing the employee while minimizing the risk of harm to themselves.

To learn more about confined space safety or to inquire about our selection of safety products, get in touch with the team at EFAS Safety. We can be reached at 1-833-294-3327 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our safety supplies, training solutions, or audit services.