By Element Safety

I’m not talking about being run over by a lorry load of paperclips or being strangled by wearing a tie that has inadvertently been caught in the shredder…

It sounds dramatic (as well as a good reason not to wear a tie), but I’m actually talking about dangers that are all around us…

Confined Spaces (yawn, we don’t go into any of those…)
well maybe – but do you really know what a confined space is, where they are or that you may be responsible for them?

Ask yourself & your contractors these questions:

  • Is my work location a confined space?
  • Is the space fully or partially enclosed?

For example a tank, duct, sewer, silo or chamber. The space may also be open topped and does not necessarily have to be small. 
For example a vat, trench, flue or well. 
The space could even be a poorly ventilated room.

These spaces are all enclosures with either restricted or limited openings or spaces, which could retain 
solids, liquids or gases. All of the above work locations have the potential to be a confined space if there is also a serious risk from a dangerous substance or condition within the space.

Element Safety FumesDangerous substances could be:

  • Poisonous gases, fumes or vapours, which can slowly build up in sewers, tanks and pits and be released suddenly when sludge or liquid is disturbed. These may also leak into trenches from the land or nearby works.

These fumes and vapours can also be produced by welding, volatile or flammable solvents and adhesives.

These spaces could also be a roof void or basement – which due to the gases nearby, processes introduced or simply the physical difficulties involved whilst working in or exiting the space may require more controls.

  • Liquids or free flowing solids (grain, sugar, sand), which can rapidly fill a space or block an exit.
  • Flammable substances (solid, liquid or gas), which could cause a fire or explosion.

Dangerous conditions could be:

  • A lack of oxygen caused by reactions in the soil, groundwater reacting with limestone, substances 
being stored or used in the space reacting with the oxygen or rust forming inside enclosed tanks.
  • A hot environment, which can cause a dangerous increase in body core temperature.
  • A significantly restricted entrance (vertical or horizontal), an internal restriction or change in level which could significantly increase the time needed to exit or cause extra problems for rescuers.

Want to read the rest of this article? Contact –

The 1st step is awareness – at all levels…

Element Safety LiquidConfined spaces can be managed and as serving emergency service rescue specialists, we have a wealth of experience and offer the whole package.

Simply email: or call: 01143 421421 and let us take the strain.