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Working in Confined Spaces

One of the most dangerous situations you could be in is when you get stuck while you are working in a confined space. There are a lot of industries across the country, which requires workers to go through confined spaces, and every year, a lot of these people face the risk of serious injuries or even death. In fact, in the United Kingdom, workplace incidents relating to confined spaces have become rampant that specific regulations and standards were put in place to avoid unwanted accidents, especially in construction sites and rescue missions. As an example, in 2006, a construction company was fined a whopping £40,000 because they failed to meet safety regulations and standards when they got inspected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Another incident in Swansea also resulted in the death of a worker employed by a self-employed contractor because of a trench collapsing on him. The HSE, later on, found out that the workers had no training and knowledge about how to safely work within confined spaces and the lack of planning resulted in the collapse of the trench, putting the contractor behind bars for 6 months. Whether you are a business owner, contractor, or even an employee who works in confined spaces a lot of times throughout the year, getting the proper confined space training is highly necessary and crucial for not only your safety but as well as the people around you.

Confined Space by Definition

Under the regulations, by definition, a confined space is “any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well, or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk”. Confined spaces like sewers or tanks closed for chemical storage are easily identifiable as a confined space, but there are those which are hard to classify such as those of silos, vats, or ships’ holds because they do not necessarily have enclosed sides or tops, or they are not necessarily small for a person to be in, or it may not have a difficult design to work in and out from. So in order for you to identify a space as a confined working space, you do not necessarily have to consider the actual space and its nature or dimensions. What you need to consider mainly are the work activities you are planning to do within that space. Once you can figure that out and nail it down, you would be able to lock in work safety measures and precautions for you and your workers to avoid untoward incidents and also to avoid paying for fines or getting some jail time. 

Confined Spaces Regulations

Laws state that employers should be able to ensure the safety of their employees. Their responsibility to do so is actually reinforced by certain regulations, such as for workers exposed to confined spaces, there is the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997. This certain regulation applies so that the risks of getting seriously injured or accidents resulting in death from working in confined spaces are avoided. Under the regulations, it is highly encouraged for workers to actually avoid the entry into confined spaces by looking for alternative solutions such as working from the outside. However, for certain cases, it is actually unavoidable, and the need to work in the confined space is a must. In such cases, a safe system of work should be in place before having the worker enter the space. Most importantly, there should also be emergency arrangements in place should anything go wrong.

Confined Space Training

In order for you to be fully compliant to regulations and standards placed for confined space work, you should be able to undergo and let your workers undergo a training course designed specifically for working in confined spaces. Mark One Training has a one day low/medium risk confined space training which features a whole course on the theories relating to working in confined spaces and how to apply it through practical exercises. They have two training centres in the United Kingdom, one in Chelmsford, Essex and the other in Rochford, Essex. Their training centres are fully equipped with a purpose-built confined space training unit where delegates could experience the theories hands on. The training course they offer is perfect for businesses in the following industries: rail, construction, food production, agriculture, telecommunications, and asbestos removal. In short, for those working in industries that would require them to be in confined spaces such as chambers, trenches, pits, sewers, and the link. Their materials are in line with the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997, so you are guaranteed that all of the learning you and your workers would gain are up to date and safe for the workplace.

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