The importance of confined space training

23-11-2012

Recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive paint a positive picture for health and safety at work. Over the last 20 years there has been a downward trend in the rate of fatal injury in the workplace. When looking at these kinds of statistics it is often useful to compare a 10-year period and in 1992/93 there were 340 people fatally injured at work, compared with to the latest statistic of 173.

While the statistics do not include a break down for those injured in confined spaces we are safe to assume that these incidents are also falling. This rather dramatic fall can be largely attributed to the increased amount of health and safety training that businesses take part in. Before embarking on a health and safety course it is always worth checking which courses are going to be the most relevant for your business.

Is confined space training necessary for your business?

The first step is making sure you know what the definition of a confined space is, it is then possible to locate any within your premises and act accordingly. The Health and Safety Executive define a confined space as; 

‘any space of an enclosed nature where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions’

A confined space can be fairly easy to spot – silos, storage tanks and sewers, and other areas with limited openings. Others are harder to locate – open topped chambers and even an unventilated office. It is also important to think about spaces that have a changing function and those subject to modification.

Once you have located possible confined spaces within your premises/site it is important to know which rules and regulations are applicable.

The law

As part of the ‘Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999’ sufficient risk assessments must be completed for all work that is to be completed before moving onto the next stage. If your risk assessment identifies the risk of fatal injury from working in a confined space then you are expected to adhere to the ‘Confined Spaces Regulations, 1997’. These regulations state that an employee must;

  • Avoid entry to confined spaces
  • Follow a safe system of work
  • Put emergency arrangements in place before starting any work

What to expect from a training course

There are various levels of confined space training available so it’s important to work out which employees will be working in which areas and make sure they undertake the most suitable form of training.

-          Confined Space Awareness: This introductory course is suitable for those who work near a confined space and will involve the principles of confined space hazards, principles of confined space and identified and classification (this is an ideal step towards the confined spaces for entry training course)

-          Confined Space Training for Supervisors: This course is most suited for those who are responsible for planning and supervising confined space operations. The course will prepare candidates who are required to write safe systems of work and rescue plans developing their understanding of the necessary legislation.

-          Confined Space Entry: Suited for those who are required to enter confined spaces this course will involve training on access equipment, confined space harness, monitoring equipment and the use of emergency escape sets

As a responsible employer if any of your employees are looking to work near or in a confined space it is essential to enrol them in role specific training so that the risks of this dangerous type of work can be kept to a minimum.

Britannia Safety and Training are a comprehensive training provider who offer Confined Space Training to businesses in Norwich, Norfolk. For more information please visit their site at http://www.britanniaits.com/courses/confined-space-training/



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