Confined-Spaces - THE CHANGING NATURE OF CONFINED SPACES by...

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Unformatted text preview: THE CHANGING NATURE OF CONFINED SPACES by Jimmie Hinze There is a high death toll in construction associated with Confined Spaces. The exact count is unclear due to the way injury causation is coded. Prevention of deaths in confined spaces lies in understanding them better, but the definitions are not universal. General Descriptions of Confined Spaces: Space is large enough for human entry. Space has limited/restricted entry or exit. Space is not designed for continuous occupancy. Air Quality may be Hazardous The definition seems broad, even so, exceptions can be found. This was examined in a study of Confined Space Accidents. Records of 120 confined space accidents were examined that occurred from 1990­1995. These included 238 victims (106 fatalities, 78 hospitalizations, 54 injuries w/o hospitalizaiton). Injury reports contain coded data and abstract information. The abstracts were the primary source of information. Types of Confinement Tanks, manholes, work spaces, truck tanks, vessels, vaults, tank cars, sumps, silos, pools, pipes, bins, pits, etc. Tank Pip e bin Silo Manhole Trench Examples of Confined Spaces Exceptions to the Formal Definitions Large enough for human occupancy: Working above “mud” truck opening to add water. Worker was overcome by methane gas released by the drilling operation. He fell in and drowned. Limited/restricted exit/entry: Working in long corridor with dropped floor section with faulty water cooler. Worker was lying on his back when dense refrigerant escaped. Worker died. Not designed for continuous occupancy: Gasline pump used to pump water from excavation. Workers stayed out for several hours. Later, workers entered the area and were overcome by carbon monoxide. Toxic environments are associated with some confined space accidents: Toluene, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrogen, methyl chloroform, hydrogen chloride, smoke, propane, hexane, etc. Types of injuries sustained in confined spaces: Inhale toxins, asphyxia, burns, systemic poisoning, drowning, fracture, etc. Failure to recognize hazard: Painting the walls of a large pool. Workers were overcome by toluene fumes from the paint. Unexpected conditions in a trench: Small cave­in pinned a worker’s legs. A subsequent cave­in broke a large water main and the worker drowned. Unusual circumstances: A worker dropped a tool in a dumpster. He entered the bin to retrieve the tool. The 60­year old man tried to get out, but could not. He died of a heart attack. Confined spaces: Conditions are difficult to classify: Trench, pool, bin, etc. Must be open­minded to anticipate dangers. Major problem with confined spaces: Hazards take many forms. Workers are injured are often those who did not recognize the potential hazards. Hazards of confined spaces are serious: A high proportion of the accidents involve fatalities and multiple victims. The solution lies in training workers to recognize the confined spaces. But is not a simple task as workers must think. Recognize the hazards (workers and supervisors). Take precautions!!! ...
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