Confined Space Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

When you learn in the real world, it’s often through your mistakes. While this is effective in many areas and required to gain deep knowledge and understanding of a given subject, it does not work out well when it comes to the monitoring of confined spaces in petroleum projects. When mistakes are made with a confined space, the cost is often human life.

Not knowing the applicable recommendations, regulations and rules

There are many rules, recommendations and requirements for dealing with a confined space in multiple levels of government. You are responsible for knowing and following all of the rules. If you don’t, your company will be held liable should something unexpected happen, and you’ll be facing fines and other sanctions. Loss of human life is costly enough, and your business will also suffer, particularly when it comes to its reputation.

One way to keep your business and those entering confined spaces safe is by working with a petroleum project partner that also offers confined space rescue. They will be able to help you ensure you are following all the applicable rules when it comes to your confined space. If you currently don’t have any guidelines on how to handle a confined space emergency, they can also help you draft them.

Having employees use their senses in a confined space petroleum project

Confined spaces can be full of toxic gases. While it is well-known that some hazardous gases have no odor or color, many people mistakenly believe they can detect hydrogen sulfide, which is a common toxic gas in a confined space. However, the “rotten egg” smell associated with this gas is actually something you can only sense at a lower concentration. Where there are higher levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air, it can have a paralyzing impact on a person’s sense of smell. Even lower concentrations, over time, can dull the sense of smell so that a person being exposed won’t necessarily detect a sudden spike in the concentration.

The air in confined spaces must be properly tested before people enter. You simply cannot rely on people being able to detect these hazards using their own senses.

Not having any emergency plan in place

If there is no plan in place when a confined space emergency happens, the consequences can be dire. It puts the person in the confined space and even those who want to help nearby at risk. Have a plan in place, and make sure someone on site and near the space knows what that plan is.

If you are using an experienced confined rescue team outside of your company, make sure your emergency contact on the ground knows who to call. This person can also receive some basic confined space training before anyone enters the area so they can take some immediate steps to control the situation while waiting for rescue personnel to arrive.

Don’t leave anything about your confined space project to chance. There’s simply too much at stake should something go wrong. Partner with an experienced fuel project team to keep everyone involved in your fuel project safe.