In many industrial factories, such as paper mills, chemical plants, and refineries, there is a considerable risk to personnel. Every day, workers in these types of facilities face the possible risk of coming into contact with lethal or fatal airborne contaminants. This hazard is especially true for workers who must enter confined spaces to perform their jobs.
What Is a Confined Space?
A confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed area not intended for human occupancy; they’re typically in place to house or direct inanimate objects, fluids, and gases. Examples may include pipelines, holds, and tanks, etc. Unfortunately, the materials that compromise these structures can degrade over time, requiring either exterior or interior maintenance.
Due to their narrow dimensions, confined spaces restrict mobility and typically feature a limited number of entrances or exits. These physical properties present a significant risk to anyone entering them.
Why Use Gas Detectors?
Unfortunately, the restricted physical environment of confined spaces poses a considerable hazard to your workers. Not only can these areas already likely contain harmful contaminants, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane, but they can also exacerbate the effects of exposure to other harmful gases.
The atmosphere of tight spaces is more likely to contain unsafe oxygen levels that may result in increased danger for your workers. For example, too low oxygen levels can cause unconsciousness and lead to asphyxiation.
In addition to their low oxygen levels, confined areas are typically limited regarding ventilation. This combination can prevent toxic gases from diluting in the air and result in more concentrated gas leaks, which take less time to reach fatal levels and create lasting health problems for those who are exposed.
For these reasons, many companies are required to have facility-wide fixed gas detection systems to monitor for gas leakage and make personnel aware of the need to evacuate. Owners may also be legally mandated to provide their workers with portable gas detection devices, which are compact enough to be carried into enclosed spaces. Contact DOD Technologies for more.