Confined Space

  1. Confined Space 101

    It’s no secret that working at-height, industry, and construction is dangerous. But confined spaces bring a whole slew of additional dangers. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down confined space and talk about some of the important things to keep in mind/remember when working in confined space.

    What is a Confined Space


     

    A confined space is an area that has an opening large enough for a worker to access and enter to perform work. The area has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. Because of the restricted means of entry and exit confined spaces are considered one of the most dangerous job sites. Some examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, sewers, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, and silos.

    Confined Space Work


     

    It is important to know if your job site, plant, or shop requires confined space entry. If it does, you will need to ensure that you are following the appropriate safety precautions. Safety precautions include equipment that has been designed specifically for confined space applications (like a confined space kit). It’s also important to understand and be prepared for hazards that are common to confined space work.

    Hazards common to confined space work include unsafe air, toxic contaminants, electrical hazards, mechanical hazards like augers, and leading-edge fall hazards. While these are some of the common hazards, each confined space is unique and may feature some, all, or additional hazards that we haven’t listed in this post. Confined spaces should, under no circumstances, be entered unless you are trained and authorized and proper safety precautions have been taken.

    Safety First


     

    When it comes to confined space, the safety first mindset is extremely important. Untrained and unauthorized employees should never enter a confined space and a competent person should determine if the confined space is safe for entry before employees enter. Stay alert of changing conditions, know how to contact emergency services, and always have an emergency rescue plan in place.

    A safety first focus for confined space doesn’t have to be limited to inside the space itself. It’s also important to make sure to lockout and tag any mechanical equipment that could activate or energize while the confined space is occupied. You should also have the appropriate barriers and signs outside of the confined space to alert and prevent other people from entering or falling into the confined space.

    Equipment


     

    As we mentioned above, confined spaces vary in size, shape, location, and environment. That means that there isn’t a standard or typical application, so your confined space safety equipment must be flexible as well. Consistent anchorage is rarely found from one job to the next. Some confined spaces like a manhole on a street will require vertical equipment, but others like a tank would have a side-entry or horizontal requirement.

    Choosing the right confined space entry and rescue equipment can be difficult. Temporary jobs require lightweight and easy-to-use portable confined space systems. For areas that are accessed frequently a davit system with a permanently mounted base would be more ideal.

    Lifeline type and length are other variables to consider. In some situations, a back-up system may be required. Typical mechanical devices include man-rated winches and 3-way retracting lifelines with both fall protection and emergency rescue functions.

    If you’ve got questions about confined space solutions, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Click here to see our selection of confined space solutions

    Gas Detection 101: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

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    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

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  2. Gas Detection 101

    Gasses aren’t always at the top of mind when a project is being discussed or planned, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. When it comes to gas, the best way to be prepared is to know what you’re up against. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down gas detection and how you can accurately keep your crew safe no matter what gas is flying around the job site.

    Gas


     

    Let’s start with the basics. We are constantly inhaling and exhaling gas – the oxygen we breathe in, the carbon dioxide we breathe out, and all the other gasses that are around us every day. Not all gas is hazardous and not all hazardous gas is toxic unless enough is breathed in. Every job is different and that means the air around the structure and the gasses created by the environment and machines are different, too. Hazardous gas can be created by a long list of different things – from natural occurrences to man-made devices.

    Knowing that a hazardous gas is present is an essential part of job site safety. Some hazardous gasses smell – which means our noses can tell us when we are exposed to them. However, not every hazardous gas can be detected by human senses – at least, not until it is too late. On top of that, mixtures of otherwise harmless gasses can cause a whole slew of dangers like suffocation, explosions, and/or fires.

    Gas Detection


     

    We’ve already mentioned that there are some gasses that we can smell easily and some gasses that we cannot smell at all. So how do we know if we are being exposed to a hazardous gas? Or how do we know if there are two gasses present that can cause other issues (like an explosion)? That can be done with a gas monitor. A gas monitor, also referred to as a gas detector, is a device that detects the presence of gas in an area.

    The actual function of a gas detector is pretty simple. The device has sensors in it that are programmed to detect the presence of specific gasses. If that type of gas is detected, the gas detector will alert the user via an alarm. The most common sensors used in at-height, industry, and construction are Combustible (LEL), Oxygen, and Toxic.

    Combustible (LEL): Combustible (LEL), or combustible lower exposure level sensors, are designed to detect and monitor combustible hydrocarbon gases in the air. The most common combustible gasses are:

    • Methane
    • Butane
    • High Hydrogen Content (HHC)
    • Nonane
    • Propane
    • Hydrogen

    Oxygen: Oxygen sensors are essential for situations where having accurate oxygen measurements could prevent injury or death. Not all areas have safe oxygen levels, especially when in confined spaces.

    Toxic: Toxic sensors are pretty self-explanatory, but they measure the levels of toxic gasses. The most common toxic gasses are:

    • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
    • Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
    • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
    • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

    How the Sensors Work


     

    The way the sensors work varies depending on the type of sensor the manufacturer used. The most common types of sensors are:

    • Electrochemical Sensors – Most commonly used for toxic gas detection. These sensors use electrodes to send signals when gas is detected.
    • MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductors) – Most commonly used for toxic gasses – carbon monoxide in particular. Metal oxide semiconductors use a gas sensitive film that triggers when the levels of gas become toxic.
    • Catalytic Sensors – Most modern gas monitors use catalytic sensors. Catalytic sensors have a platinum treated wire coil that heats up when exposed to gasses due to oxidation. When the resistance of the wire is changed, due to the heat generated by oxidation, a circuit detects this change and triggers the warning.
    • IR (Infrared Sensors) – This type of sensor uses a series of transmitters and receivers. The transmitters emit a light. If the receiver cannot “see” the light because of gas being in the way it triggers the warning.

    If you’ve got questions about which gas detection methods are right for your job site or if you’re looking for more information about gas detectors in general, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of Gas Monitors

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any PPE is used.

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® will be coming to your ears in early 2019 and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up to get alerted when our first episode drops, head on over to gearexperts.com. There's a trailer there too, so you can get a sneak peek of the show.

    Get Social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

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