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Working in Confined Spaces: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Staying in confined spaces such as manholes, crawl spaces, and tanks are detrimental to your health if occupied for a continuous amount of time. According to OSHA.gov, they tend to be extremely difficult to exit in case of any emergencies that may happen to occur. People that work in confined spaces often face life-threatening hazards which include but are not limited to toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation.  EHS Today states that out of all the workplace hazards, confined spaces are some of the most deceptive. According to FireHouse.com, over 300 U.S. workers are killed annually and another 3,000 are injured in confined spaces. What might look like an average space, could be lethal. Your health comes first, so here are 4 tips on how to stay safe while working in confined spaces.

  1. Entrance size
    • You want to make sure the space is adequate enough for you to navigate
  1. Ventilation
    • If possible, increase the number of openings so it will be easier to breathe
    • If you are having a hard time breathing, you can try coming up periodically to obtain fresh air
  1. Protection
    • You are going to want to protect your eyes, face, head, ears, hands, and the rest of your body, when exposed to any hazards so harmful chemicals, will not enter your system
  1. Exit strategy
    • Are you able to safely get out quick in case of an emergency? If not, make sure to keep that passageway clear in order to enter and exit without any issues
    • If you are in need of rescue, will the rescuer be able to safely get to you? According to OSHA, an estimated 60% of fatalities have been among the would-be rescuers

Employers should consider proper training for entering and exiting confined areas to assure the safety of all employees. Remember, every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work. If you believe the space is unsafe to enter, do not enter. Make sure all the safety precautions are in place.

At Nova Medical Centers we specialize in Occupational Health. From our outstanding services to our convenient electronic systems, we provide the best care for employees who need our help and that have been exposed to any harmful chemicals or hazardous gas on the job. With over 48 facilities across Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Indiana, we strive to provide the best care for America’s workforce.  Feel free to contact Nova Medical Centers with any questions or comments that you may have.

Written by Monique Adenaike

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