Confined Space Training is a specialist offering at Glanville Training Academy.
Head of Training, Mark Stephens, has 18 years of experience in confined space work including high-risk sewer rehabilitation and culvert repairs across the South West and Midlands.
We work with high-profile construction firms to ensure their employees are fully trained and confident while working in a confined space environment from low risk to high risk, and our purpose-built confined space facility provides a simulated experience of a confined space.
But why is Confined Space Training necessary, and in what scenarios does it come into play?
Let's start with defining what a confined space is and what the law says:
A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states employers must ensure the safety of workers and others, this goes into more detail in the Confined Spaces ACOP (approved code of practice) Regulations 1997, which states employers must avoid confined space entry where possible and follow safe working systems where this is unavoidable by putting in place emergency arrangements before the commencement of the work with a thorough risk assessment required beforehand to identify measures needed to prevent injuries such as specialist equipment including harnesses and safety barriers.
The hazards of a confined space can be life-threatening, and that's why proper training is required for a person to carry out confined space work.
Although hazards found in a normal working environment are also found in confined spaces, there are potentially more hazardous threats to working in a confined space such as:
- Poor air quality: insufficient amount of oxygen to breathe, toxic gases that could result in illness or cause loss of consciousness and asphyxiants such as argon, nitrogen, or carbon monoxide
- Chemical exposures due to skin contact or ingestion (as well as inhalation of toxic gases)
- Fire hazard - An explosive or flammable atmosphere due to flammable liquids and gases and combustible dust which, if ignited, would lead to fire or explosion
- Process-related hazards - such as residual chemicals, or release of contents of a supply line
- Physical hazards – noise, heat, cold, radiation, vibration, electrical, and inadequate lighting
- Safety hazards - such as moving parts of equipment, structural hazards, engulfment, entanglement, slips, or falls
- Vehicular and pedestrian traffic
- Shifting or collapse of bulk material (engulfment)
- Barrier failure that results in a flood or release of free-flowing solid or liquid
- Visibility - such as smoke particles in the air
- Biological hazards – viruses, bacteria from fecal matter and sludge, fungi, or moulds
The importance of Confined Space Training lies with the high risk involved in the job, especially when working with sewage pipes and culverts, like we do at Glanville Environmental, as this presents a higher risk than normal due to working underground, and therefore many factors need to be evaluated before the work commences. Underground work involves a very small margin of error and lack of forward planning and proper evaluation could result in serious consequences including loss of life.
Here are some reasons why ensuring your workers are properly Confined Space Trained is important:
- Training will allow workers to establish what is a confined space and increase their awareness of the hazards they can expect to find when entering one. Increasing awareness of the dangers through vigorous training will ensure the worker is more alert, and taking extra caution, resulting in fewer injuries.
- During confined space training, workers will discuss and learn the importance of atmosphere testing to prepare for working in a confined space and what equipment will be necessary. Prior to entry, the atmosphere must be tested - the oxygen levels must be within safe limits and the same goes for flammability and toxicity levels too. By knowing how to prepare and gather information ahead of entering a confined space, the more likely a worker will perform the job in a quick, efficient, and safe manner.
- Another important aspect of confined space training is providing candidates with the confidence and understanding on how to fill out risk assessments, method statements, safe systems of work and confined space entry permits which are all crucial in the confined space work process.
- Confined Space training will provide the worker with the knowledge, experience, and confidence to deal with emergencies and evacuation procedures that maybe occur while working in a confined space. Being aware of procedures to follow in the event of an emergency while working will ensure workers can avoid injury and exit safely.
If workers have not received the correct and proper training required to operate in a confined space, they increase the risk of injury and loss of life, therefore it is your responsibility as an employer to provide the correct training for every employee working within a confined space.
Glanville Training Academy provides three levels of Confined Space Training: Low, Medium, and High risk. Our trainers provide candidates with the knowledge and hands-on experience they need to work in a confined space with confidence.