Work done in confined spaces and high places has something in common: the need for fall protection equipment. This gear can help workers avoid falling in the first place, arrest their fall so they don’t hit a lower level, and keep them in place until they can be brought back up. But PPE is the last line of defense in the event of an accident and should be a part of a complete fall rescue plan. Prevent injuries and death by being prepared for fall hazards and confined space dangers.
The Dangers of Confined Spaces
The dangers of falling from heights are compounded when you fall into a confined space. Confined spaces are hard to enter and exit without special training and equipment and have little airflow, which can lead to a buildup of noxious fumes and dusts as well as reduce the oxygen levels. Fires and floods are not uncommon, either, and there’s more to bump into. These unique hazards make it especially crucial that workers are not only protected from falls but can be easily rescued without endangering more people. Confined space kits provide workers with all that they may need in those tight spaces including confined space entry systems, confined space retrieval system, tripods, space blowers, gas monitors, and more.
What’s Your Rescue Plan?
There are three common rescue approaches when it comes to confined spaces. Non-entry rescues are performed with ropes and winches without needing workers to enter a confined space. Companies that have their own in-house rescue teams that are trained in the equipment and techniques can use them for a rescue. Services like the fire department can also do rescues if needed.
A lot of confined space deaths happen when untrained and improperly equipped employees try to rescue someone and get caught themselves. Any authorized entrants must wear harnesses connected to retrieval lines, and all equipment should be in place before anyone enters the space. Whatever your rescue plan is, make sure that all employees are trained on all procedures, hazard control, and rescue operations.
What Works Best for Fall Protection?
Each confined space must be evaluated on its own to determine what kinds of PPE and other equipment you’ll need (and whether it needs to be labeled as a confined space or permit-required confined space). A checklist that notes the layout, dimensions, and entry and exit challenges of the space is crucial for determining what equipment you’ll need. For confined spaces in general, though, you’ll want equipment to test and monitor the atmosphere, gear to protect against chemicals, fire, arc flash, or respiratory hazards, communication equipment, fall protection gear and roof safety equipment.
A safety harness is a crucial part of fall protection. Most jobs benefit from full-body style harnesses with flat nylon webbing. A point of attachment at shoulder level in the center of the back is ideal. French Creek’s Full Body Tower Climbing Harness is ideal for vertical climbing systems. Harnesses are connected to a tripod system designed for vertical entry, usually one that’s eight feet or higher, by way of a rope and lifeline. If a tripod isn’t feasible, a concrete hole anchor or a similar connection point can support a fall protection system. If you’re unsure about where to start looking, you can get help from a safety expert.
PK Safety Confined Space Fall Protection Equipment
From the top of an oil rig to the bottom of a manhole, PK Safety has been your workplace safety partner for over 70 years. We carry trusted brands and quality equipment to keep you safe no matter where you are. For more information on any of our products or brands, or if you have any worksite safety questions, our safety experts can be called at 800.829.9580 or contacted with our online form.