Managing Risks of Hot Works in Confined Space Environment
The fatalities occurred in across a variety of industries; whether simple vessels of storage or complex construction plants. The nature of accidents in confined spaces is inclusive of the fatal occurrences during rescue missions. The cross-cutting fatalities redefine the understanding of confined spaces (Sso. agc. gov. gov. sg, 2018). These findings indicate that in case of accidents in the CS environment, escape is usually restrained and so are the efforts to rescue the victims which mean that multiple injuries and fatalities are probable. This leads to the concept of rescuers. In case of the CS accidents, the research trends indicate that only two-thirds will not involve rescuers. There are therefore subjected to different types of injuries such as falling objects, moving prime rollers, fires and explosions, electrocution, tower crane collapse, and exposure to heat which may result in heat-related disorders.
Discussion In reference to the above findings on confined spaces and the risks of hot works, the risk management approach and the upholding of the safety standards are necessary to reduce the fatalities involved. Consolidation of the WSH CS requirements is necessary so that clear, precise guidelines are availed to the supervisors who then educate the workers on safety requirements and rescue procedures. Singapore plans to enact a new regulatory document on the CS safety where all the essential requirements are incorporated. These efforts will strengthen the existing safety regulations. It is crucial to define plausible hazards caused by the activities to be carried out. To evaluate the presence of chemical hazards, gas tests are done to detect fumes, flammable and toxic gases.
Physical hazards, on the other hand, need to be avoided by use of warning signs at access points. These hazards are the most assumed and yet are the root causes of injuries. They include loose materials that may cause slipping, or overhead falls, mechanized equipment, extreme temperatures, low illumination, difficulties in access and excessive noise which hinder communication (Sso. The other element of control is the established entry permits and procedures which clearly define that the confined space is safe for entry (Ross, 2007). This is an administrative role and is crucial in monitoring and keeping records of who enters and at what time. When all these measures are out of reach, the last resort is usually the Personal Protective Equipment which combines respiratory protective gears, supplies fresh air and facilitates physical protection (Specification for graphical symbols - safety colors and safety signs, 2004).
Moreover, risk management for hot works requires a clear communication of the assessments of risks to all the workers, who are exposed to the risks. In this regard, all the activities to be carried out in the confined spaces must be clearly communicated together with the health and potential safety hazards, and the planned control measures. The LEL and UEL determine the concentration of the gas at which burning occurs, with all the fire tetrahedron requirements of fuel, oxygen, heat source, and chain reaction present. A gas is said to be toxic when its concentration level of the compound is higher than the permissible limits of exposure, by OSHA. Examples of toxic gases in confined spaces Hot Works in confined spaces Challenges Construction in confined spaces requires hot works such as cutting and welding and this increases the already high risk of explosion and fire-related hazards; due to the potential threat of heat and excessive fire.
As the spaces are confined, exit during fire emergencies my lead into entrants being trapped due to poor ventilation and the presence of fumes, particles from the operation and gases are likely to cause suffocation and heat-related disorders. Due to blurred vision, the hazards that were once visible now become real hazards, worsening the situation. The procedures for control are similar to those of other confined spaces, only that the case of hot works needs extra consideration, more control measures and excessive monitoring for potential new hazards, as well as the existing hazards. Flooding or free-falling solids should be prevented as they are potentially explosive elements if they come into contact with heated surfaces (Usc. edu. au, 2018). If possibilities allow, the exits should be more than one and the entrances should be cleared of personnel and any obstacles.
Conclusion and Recommendations In summation of the risk management of hot works in confined spaces in Singapore, the findings indicate the significance of consolidating the existing regulations on CS to a single document that would be reduced confusions and propagate safety of workers. Therefore, the GP Regs 25, CP84 and International Regs & Standards were all consolidated into the new WSH (CS) Regs (2009). The new regulations are dedicated to a structure that is rigorous and systematic in the approach of Risk Assessment and measures of controlling entry into confined spaces. The enacted regulations have four parts that have 12 key features including definitions, coverage, compliance, recording and entry control into confined spaces, periodic atmospheric testing of the confined space and display of warning signs, just to mention but a few.
This reveals the in-depth of the document and provides procedures necessary for controlling hot works conducted in confined spaces. The rescue personnel should be close to the confined space and ready to attend to any emergencies, appropriately and effectively. Decision making in such delicate sites is critical and therefore record keeping of the permits, detailed work schedules and risk assessment outcomes is necessary. Frequent risk assessments are necessary to ensure compliance with the updated confined spaces regulations of 2009 or to counter hazardous threats that may arise. References • (Wshc. sg, 2018) https://www. agc. gov. sg/SL/WSHA2006-S462-2009. • Code of practice for temporary electrical installations. Singapore: Standardization Dept, SPRING Singapore. Singapore SPRING Singapore. • Sso. agc. gov. sg. usc. edu. au/explore/policies-and-procedures/working-in-confined-spaces-guideline.
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