When most people head off to their jobs each day, they may be going to a comfortable, climate-controlled office building. Perhaps they are heading to a busy, noisy factory or restaurant. Maybe they be going to an institutional setting, such as a school, hospital, or prison. Some will be hopping behind the wheel of a semi-truck or bus or a tractor or a police cruiser.
Whatever their job, and whatever inherent dangers the industry they work in may have, most won't be climbing into what the federal government refers to as a "confined space in construction." Here is what you should know about being in these conditions.
What Constitutes A Confined Space In Construction?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that a confined space in construction is defined as an area that is big enough to allow a human to enter but one that has limited entrances or exits. It's also not a workspace that is designed for the worker's continuous presence.
What Are Examples Of A Confined Space In Construction?
Workers who routinely must go down manholes and into the sewer system to analyze, build, and repair the infrastructure is a perfect example. Those who clean giant vats in factories or silos on farms and ranches are other examples. Pipes, wells, tunnels, ship holds, and airplane wings can all be confined spaces in construction.
What Makes A Confined Space In Construction So Dangerous?
It takes a special kind of person to be able to handle the often-claustrophobic spaces some employees work in. In addition to the psychological or physical discomfort, though, there are very real dangers. Tunnels can collapse. Pipes can fill with water or earth. Silos can have deadly fumes. Sewers have rats and snakes and spiders and filthy, bacteria-ridden substances. At any given moment, workers can become trapped in these confined spaces. Sometimes, the only way out is the way in, which can become blocked. In the event of an emergency, a confined space in construction is a bad place to be.
Who Handles Confined Space Rescue Services?
One of the most dangerous aspects of working in confined spaces is that if something were to happen, picking up the phone and dialing 911 isn't always an option. Even if you can reach emergency services, it can take a long time for them to devise a plan and reach the area. Additionally, many municipal emergency services simply aren't equipped to handle these kinds of things, especially in rural areas. Unfortunately, fatalities can occur not only among the workers but among untrained rescuers as well. Thankfully, there are independent agencies, like Elite Technical Services Group, that can train community responders and provide support when something does happen.
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