The thought of being in a confined space might make you fearful if you are claustrophobic. But there are many more dangers associated with being in close quarters than that. Some of them can lead to serious injuries or be deadly. Workers like electricians, farm workers, construction workers, shipyard workers and plumbers must be very cautious before entering a confined space.
A confined space has been defined as “any place that is not designed for human occupancy, but may require workers to perform work or service.” These spaces clearly are not intended to be occupied for long. Even so, workers can be at significant risk during the comparatively brief time they are completing a job-related task.
Examples of confined spaces include tunnels, wells, ditches, manholes, silos, storage tanks and vats. A quick escape for any reason might be hard or impossible.
Safety measures are critical in small spaces
Testing the air quality in a confined space with a gas detector prior to entering is important. Donning appropriate safety gear matters, too. Having a team of experienced professionals nearby who are ready to help you immediately if you get into trouble is also essential.
The dangers may be unknown to you unless you are well-trained about them beforehand. Some of the worst perils of confined spaces are the ones you are not aware of until it’s too late, like carbon monoxide.
- Getting trapped
- Exposure to dust that is combustible
- Getting caught in an explosion
- Insufficient oxygen can lead to asphyxiation
- Inhaling toxic gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide or carbon dioxide
The threat of getting hurt is very real
The dangers of working in a confined space cannot be overstated. The most thoroughly trained workers can be overcome by fumes, inadequate oxygen or other major hazards before they can even react. If you are hurt working in a confined space while doing your job, workers’ compensation, which in Florida covers medical costs, attorney’s fees, and wages that you lose, would be beneficial to you.