Confined spaces are partially or fully closed areas that were not designed to be permanently occupied by persons. Operations inside (confined space interventions) are then clearly defined as exceptional regardless if it happens when building these spaces, servicing them (particularly when cleaning) or maintaining them (periodical checking, repair).
Fields of application
- Control, chlorination, ozonization in water treatment
- Crawl spaces, sewers, accessible drains, pipes
- Mines, long and tight galleries
- Wells, pits, silos and cellars
CONFINED SPACE ENTRY
Most of accidents – severe or lethal – that occur while entering confined spaces are linked to a poorly oxygenated atmosphere, the presence of toxic gas or vapors or even fire or explosion. These are thus prime risks to monitor when establishing work procedure.
- Asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia: temporary or definitive absence of oxygen that can lead to death
- Intoxication: Intoxication is due to inhalation or absorption of a gas or a toxic product (hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide) that can lead to death
- Explosion and fire: presence of flammable gas (natural gas, butane, propane, hydrocarbon vapors) or dusts which can ignite fire and explosion
Confined space risk prevention
It is recommended to organize in advance any confined space entry feasibility and to collect necessary prevention means. In addition to classic PPE (helmet, gloves, safety boots…), it is advised to be equipped with a 4 gas detector ( combustible gases, oxygen deficiency, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide) and a self-rescuer mask for emergency escape…
WASTEWATER TREATMENT TRAINING
Any sanitation and waste water treatment worker who need to operate in a confined space has to receive a specific training (E.G. CATEC ® training in France). This training exists in two versions: operator or supervisor.
With near 35,000 people working in waste water treatment and sanitation in France, CATEC ® training is now required for safety at work. Other local and international training also exists. These trainings are made on common basis to improve safety levels and behaviors in field of sanitation.