Occupational Risk Prevention in Confined Spaces

Occupational Risk Prevention in Confined Spaces. A confined space is any space with limited entry and exit openings and unfavorable natural ventilation, in which toxic or flammable contaminants may accumulate, or have an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, and is not for human occupancy.

The risks in these spaces are multiple since, in addition to the accumulation of toxic or flammable substances and a shortage of oxygen, there are added those caused by the narrowness, discomfort of work postures, limited lighting, etc. Another aspect to be highlighted is the amplification of some risks, such as noise, much higher than that generated by the same equipment in an open space, due to the transmission of vibrations.

In general, it can be said that work in confined spaces involves a problem of additional risks that require more demanding precautions, all of which are addressed in the following sections.

A characteristic of accidents in these spaces is the seriousness of their consequences for both the person who performs the work and the people who help them immediately without adopting the necessary safety measures, generating fatalities every year.

The origin of these accidents is the ignorance of the risks, due in most cases to lack of training and training, and poor communication about the state of the installation and the safe conditions in which the operations have to be carried out.

A confined space is considered any space with limited openings for entry, exit, and unfavorable natural ventilation. Toxic or flammable contaminants may accumulate, or have an oxygen-deficient atmosphere and are not intended for continuous worker occupation.

To avoid risks, a prior meeting of the workers who are going to intervene will first be held where the aspects defined in the work procedure will be checked. Afterward, the enclosure of untimely energy supply will be isolated, as well as from the contribution of polluting substances. Before access, the state of the interior atmosphere will be verified, if natural ventilation is insufficient, use forced ventilation. It is very important to carry out continuous checks of the indoor atmosphere. The presence of the preventive resource will be mandatory, which will monitor from the outside and maintain constant communication with the worker who remains inside. In case of activation of the gas detector alarm, the workers will leave the confined area, and in case of rescue, the person must have the necessary training and equipment.

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