Becoming familiar with the term of confined space is quite challenging. Interested to learn about confined spaces? As an employer, it is actually mandatory. You do not have to study yourself or conduct training courses on your own. Instead, you have to hire an expert team for these operations. A team will identify the potential risks associated with your company and determine whether or not you need a hand. Even if it looks like there are no risks involved, keep in mind that you are not a professional, so some confined spaces may not necessarily be so obvious in the first place anyway.
Aside from the legal regulations, training your employees is also about a solid personal protection. Any accident on site can be attacked in court by your workers. If you have failed to train them accordingly, you risk exquisite penalties. Besides, you do not want any dramas within your company. No employer wants dead workers, severe injuries, bad news reports or a negative reputation. With these factors in mind, understanding the dangers of confined spaces should be a main priority for you. These dangers are quite diversified though.
The lack of oxygen is by far the most common danger in confined spaces. It is also responsible for a series of unexpected accidents too. For instance, a basic chemical reaction between the oxygen around and some soils may reduce its properties, so it is no longer so easy to inhale. Displacing oxygen is a very common issue too. It can arise from multiple directions. Think about the chemical reactions between groundwater on chalk, for instance. Limestone and groundwater may have similar effects, especially in an enclosed environment. When the oxygen is altered and no longer breathable, workers face a series of issues.
The lack of oxygen can be determined in a lot of different manners. The transportation industry is exposed to plenty of cargo reactions. Freight containers, holds or lorries are just some of the most popular transportation methods. When the products react with the oxygen around, the air is contaminated and no longer helpful for the human body. Finally, do not forget about vessels or steel tanks. They might look safe, but rust on the internal walls will decrease the levels of oxygen.
While the missing oxygen is the first thing people think about in confined spaces, risks can go way further than that. An accidental spill or a moment of inattention can become very challenging when handling dangerous substances. It makes no difference if it comes to solid substances or liquids. Some substances can fill the enclosed environment within seconds or minutes while endangering workers. Some others release fumes and gases. The worst part is that inexperienced workers may not even notice these changes in the air, so sooner or later, they end up fainting. Generally, these problems occur when handling substances or disturbing them. Some free flowing solid elements may also solidify and cause blockages or collapses. Grain is the most common sample, so pay attention if you run a silo.
The confined profile of silos is defined by other issues as well. Unfortunately, these places are not properly maintained or cleaned, so the concentrations of dust are way over the healthy limits. High concentrations will lead to inhalations, so employees risk becoming victims. Flour silos are some of the most popular samples, but such environments can be a lot more dangerous if you handle other substances and not flour.