Confined spaces are notorious for hazards, often hidden that you can’t see or smell. Too many times when a hazard in a confined space is recognized it is too late for the entrants in the space to save themselves. Here are six hazardous and deadly confined space situations.
- You can suffocate from lack of oxygen inside the space. Other chemicals can displace the oxygen and turn the atmosphere deadly in a matter of seconds. Oxygen levels should be between 19.5% and 23.5%. Anything lower is an oxygen deficient atmosphere. Anything higher is an oxygen rich atmosphere which leads to an increased risk of fire and explosion.
- You can be poisoned from breathing toxic or contaminated air inside the space. This air can come from work done in the space or exhaust from machines, equipment, and other work done outside the space.
- You can be killed by an explosion caused by ignition of flammable or combustible substances. Hot work, sparks, and high temperatures/pressures are often found inside confined spaces.
- You can be trapped inside the space and unable to evacuate from a fire or other emergency.
- You can be hit and killed by a vehicle or equipment while entering or exiting the space. This is common in road and utility work where confined spaces are in or near roadways and other traffic areas.
- You can drown or suffocate if the space is engulfed with water, soil or other materials.