Just as heat in confined spaces can cause added danger to entrants, so too can cold temperatures. Here are a list of procedures to follow to avoid cold-related injury while working in a confined space:
- Increase the temperature by heating the atmosphere within your confined space. If you decide to heat the environment, be sure it is safe to do so. You don't want to introduce a new ignition source to the area. Also when heating a confined space, you must ensure there is no increase in vaporization. Sometimes an increase in temperature can create toxic or flammable vapors that can displace oxygen and create a new danger that wasn't there with the cold. Be aware.
- Minimize the number of people exposed to the cold. If there is wind, keep non-essential participants out of it, and rotate workers whenever possible.
- Stay dry. Heat loss increases ten-fold when people are wet. This is also an issue with non-breathable clothing that causes workers to sweat. Sweat is a body's cooling action, and not something you want to have happening during cold conditions.
- Pace your work. This helps workers stay within their physical limitations, and increases efficiency in situations where manual dexterity is likely to diminish.
- Monitor medical conditions of workers in order to minimize and prevent injuries. By checking body temperature and other vital signs of workers it is possible to be aware of hypothermia and other dangerous conditions in workers who are unable to see it in themselves.
Apr 3rd 2015