Risk Assessment for Confined Spaces- Part 1

Confined space is the term used to describe a place such as a tank, vessel, container, bund, pit, cellar or chamber, that is enclosed by nature and produces conditions that may give rise to an accident, injury or harm. The possible causes of such a medical emergency include:

The foreseeable presence or actual presence of:-

  • Harmful vapor, gas or fume
  • Excessively high temperature
  • Explosive or flammable atmospheres
  • Excess of oxygen
  • Increase in liquid level or free flowing solid

The reasonably foreseeable or actual lack of oxygen

Confined Space- Hazards

Here is a list of confined space hazards:-

Oxygen Deficiency– The possible causes of lack of oxygen include the following:

  • Various chemical reactions or biological processes (for example, metal rusting, organic mater decomposition and burning)
  • Steel surfaces absorbing air, especially when they are damp
  • A different gas displacing air

Toxic Atmosphere– This may result in different types of acute effects such as impairing judgment, unconsciousness as well as death. Some of the substances that may cause a confined space to turn into a toxic atmosphere include the following:

  • Substances that remain from previous storage or processing
  • Substances that arise from sludge disturbance and various other deposits
  • Seepage occurring de to improperly isolated plant (adjoining)
  • The presence of flames or fire within the area
  • Substances that are released in brickwork and from under scale due to the work process
  • Formation of substances during the work processes that take pace in the space

Oxygen Enrichment– Excessive oxygen, when present in spaces containing combustible materials, increase the risk of fire or in worst cases, explosion. There are some materials that do not themselves burn in air, but burn spontaneously or vigorously in an atmosphere that is oxygen enriched.

To be continues in risk assessment for confined spaces-part 2