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If your business involves a risk, you know that you have to have a plan to consider any "what if" scenario. For example, you may have a number of areas within your building that are classified by government as "confined spaces." You will be aware that a considerable amount of legislation is in place to help protect people who need to enter these spaces for any reason whatsoever. What are the key areas you need to consider over and above anything else for dealing with these confined spaces?
Types of Communication
Communication is everything whenever a worker is expected to enter such a space. All parties involved in the operation have to have a very precise method of communication. This may not always include verbal interaction between them. For example, a confined space may be relatively remote and you may have to have something more mundane, like the attachment of a rope to the remote person. Make sure that different signals can be sent by tugging on the rope a certain way to signify an issue. Always make sure, as well, that the responsible party has a clear and unequivocal way to contact emergency authorities, if needed.
Every type of risk must be assessed before any work can be conducted in the space. Rescue equipment has to be made available to cope with each and every potential risk. Also, this equipment has to go through regular inspections, so that it is always serviceable and ready for action. This is, of course, especially important when any worker has to carry resuscitation equipment with them upon entry.
There must always be at least one observer on duty at the entrance to the confined space when it is in use. They have to be physically fit and well trained in all eventualities. They need to be ready to carry out a rescue by themselves, if necessary. However, there must always be protection to safeguard the observer, as well, should he or she have to enter the space.
Sometimes, a confined space impacts many other parts of the business operation, some of which could be a long way away. Communication needs to be in place that can shut down any equipment or processes, if necessary, before a rescue can go ahead.
It is best practice to communicate with emergency services as a matter of course and before any work is undertaken in a confined space. Each space is different, and it will be beneficial to hear from the emergency services about their potential interaction. They may tell you that they need a certain amount of information whenever an emergency breaks out. You must, in turn, ensure that all of your people know this and can gather the information if needed.
Training is paramount. It's also important to schedule frequent updates to training, so that responsible people do not forget what they may have learned some time in the past.Share