June 1, 2016

Danger! 3 questions to ask before entering confined spaces

Danger! 3 questions to ask before entering confined spaces

“We must properly coach employees and individuals working as external service providers. Never assume that they are aware of the dangers or have the training required for this type of work.” See how we can help you protect them.

External service providers (ESP) are often at risk in confined spaces. We retain their services for work that we can’t do or don’t want to do ourselves. Actual case: Emballage Knowlton, tenth anniversary (in 2016) of a tragic accident. Some may remember this terrible accident that claimed the lives of a first-aid worker and two employees (ESP) hired by Emballage Knowlton, a company from Lac-Brome, to perform welding work inside a vat. The three people were poisoned due to the leakage of a lethal, colourless and odourless gas: argon. This accident could have been avoided.

According to the inspector’s report: “Safety equipment was missing at the incident site,” said spokesman Antoine Tousignant. Before confined space entry, employees should have measured the level of oxygen in the air, which had not been done. “Also, they should have worn safety harnesses in case of an accident,” he says.

BEFORE starting to work, ask the following questions…

If you must perform hazardous tasks in a confined space or around it (cleaning of vats pumping, welding, etc.) and you require a contractor (designated as an external service provider in the CSA Z1006-10 standard), here are a few questions to ask before starting the work:

  • This person is qualified to do the job, but can he perform the same task while in a confined space? Will you give him free reign or accompany him throughout the intervention?
  • Was a risk analysis performed?
  • Has the gas detector or other protection equipment chosen according to the work environment or work conditions?

Remember that the employer is responsible for the health and safety of the people he hires. For example, in Quebec, since March 2004, the C-21 Act is meant not only to make companies accountable, but also individuals (supervisors, colleagues, etc.) Actually, section 217.1 of the Criminal Code states that: “Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

Remove all doubt anymore, call us!

Contact our experts to guide you in the preparation of work in confined spaces. “Ensure the employees and people working as external service providers are properly trained. We are starting to understand the confined space environment, but we often ignore the risks related to tasks performed in it. Never assume people know the dangers or have the training required to perform this type of work. Also, many are unaware of its demands,” explains Fabien Demers, Senior Advisor/Trainer for 21 years at SPI Health and Safety. “We can go on site to coach and train employees, assess risks, etc. We are proud to have the best team of stakeholders in Canada!”

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