Working in the industrial and agricultural sectors can sometimes mean entering confined spaces. Confined spaces are places not meant for continuous habitation. They may also be difficult to exit quickly and can often trap hazardous gases. Before entering a confined space, know these five tips for proper ventilation in confined spaces.
1. OSHA Guidance on Confined Spaces
Much of what we mention in this blog comes from the official OSHA guidance on entering confined spaces. Specifically, it’s the Permit-required Confined Spaces Standard, 29 CFR 1910.146. While we’ll do our best to outline the most important information without all the legalese, remember that the written standard gets the final say.
2. Detecting a Hazardous Atmosphere
Not every confined space is dangerous for the same reasons, so you won’t always need to worry about ventilation. However, if air quality tests detect hazardous materials in the air or dangerous gas levels, you’re dealing with a permit-required situation. This also means you’re entitled to protection from the hazardous atmosphere before you enter it.
3. Ventilating Before Entry
You can greatly reduce the danger of certain spaces by ventilating them before you enter. If you plan to do this, we recommend that you give the space at least ten minutes to ventilate to ensure a safer atmosphere inside.
4. Using Mechanical Ventilation
Most of the confined spaces you’ll encounter in industrial and agricultural jobs don’t have built-in ventilation systems. It’s not as easy as opening a window. You’ll need to bring in mechanical help, such as a box fan, to ventilate the space properly.
5. Ventilation Needs a Clean Air Supply
One of the biggest dangers with proper ventilation in confined spaces is accidentally adding toxic air back into the space. You must always be sure your mechanical ventilator uses clean air, which may mean you need a more sophisticated ventilation system. Putting a box fan in a hazardous atmosphere may not do much more than blow the hazardous air around the space.
If you need radiation meters or hazardous gas detection equipment, contact TG Technical Services. We carry all the essential safety gear you might need in an industrial or agricultural setting. Let us help you keep your workplace safe.