Best Practice Guide to Confined Spaces
The Confined Space Regulation 1997 defines a confined space as "any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk". Excessive heat, toxic dust and fumes, oxygen deficiency and flammable substances can all make confined spaces extremely dangerous.
Each year, past exposure to dust and fumes in confined spaces are linked to 650 cancer deaths, 4000 COPD deaths and cases of brain damage (HSE, 2018). Short term effects of exposure are dizziness, fatigue and, in the most severe instances, death. Therefore, effective solutions are vital.
Simple tools are available to help assess whether your site is subject to this regulation, such as the flow chart below. If you answer 'Yes,' you will need to ensure that air quality is continuously monitored, and adequate ventilation is put in place.
To ensure the safety of your workers, RVT offers a variety of solutions that will make your site compliant to the regulation. Our Ventex® Axial and Centrifugal fans can move up to 120,000 m3 of fresh hour per hour depending on the model selected. They extract contaminated air out of the workspace, ensure that the work area remains under pressure as this will help to control air movement, and force clean air into the confined space to dilute the hazard. These fans are also specifically designed to maintain high pressure over long duct runs.
To protect workers from harmful fumes, our Ravex® fume extraction kits can move up to 5400m3 air/hr air flow when attached to a Ventex® fan, are mobile, and feature a spark arrestor and capture hood to ensure maximum safety. For dangerous diesel fumes, our Ravex® diesel fume filters remove at least 95% of diesel particulate, vastly improving air quality in the workspace. To ensure that these solutions work properly over project durations, our Monitex® dust and gas monitors will confirm that the air is safe, and alert you immediately if it is not.
Failure to comply with the Confined Space Regulation 1997 will leave you in hot water with the HSE and may even land you in court, facing large fines. Don't be caught out by confined spaces – contact RVT today to discuss the best solutions for your site.