The worst part is that plenty of confined spaces can actually become deadly. Sometimes, the victim can be rescued if there is a team on site to help. Reacting fast is very likely to help, but once again, the lack of training might cause other workers to run for their lives instead, rather than helping victims. Even if they do care, they practically endanger themselves too. Thousands of people die every year around the world in confined spaces. Even more of them are severely injured while working in these environments. Such sad statistics come from all kinds of industries, as long as confined spaces are included. For example, confined spaces can be found in complex plants and factories, as well as basic storage vessels. Aside from the actual victims, many people die while trying to rescue and help too, especially since they do it without being properly trained or having the right equipments.
Understanding the crucial importance of confined space education begins with understanding what confined spaces actually are. In simple words, a confined space can be defined by an enclosed environment. As long as there is a risk of severe injuries or death, it is classified as being confined, but only if such risks are given by the exposure to particular conditions or substances. For example, the lack of oxygen can be very harmful, as well as a chemical environment. When workers fail to use the right equipments or wear protective clothes, they inevitably endanger themselves.
When not sure whether or not your working environment can be classified as a confined space, you should know that some places are fairly simple to identify and pay attention to. Enclosed environments with limited openings represent the most obvious examples. Storage tanks or silos are obviously confined spaces, as well as enclosed drains, reaction vessels or sewers. Even if particular situations occur, reaching to the victim might be very hard due to the lack of openings. Offering first aid is even harder, especially for someone with no experience at all.
At the same time, you should know that not all confined spaces are so easy to identify. Sometimes, it might be an expert’s job to handle these things accordingly and provide information, especially if you cannot really identify the risks. An open topped chamber can be used in a lot of industries and might represent a confined space. Vats or combustion chambers are very harmful as well. Ductwork can be included in this category too. Even a poorly ventilated room can expose workers to a series of dangerous situations.
Determining a detailed list of confined spaces is impossible because they are popular and influenced by a lot of factors. While some places may not necessarily look confined in the first place, they can become confined when work is being conducted inside them. They can get confined while they are being built, renovated or modified too. In other words, confined spaces represent a continuous challenge sometimes.