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Work environment´s monitoring is the more determining technical measure of those included in a procedure for working in confined spaces (1).
It is not more or less important than any other technical measures to establish (access and stay means, workplace ventilation, work or personal protective equipment), but indeed the outcomes obtained from a scrupulous gas identification and air´s measuring before and after working in a confined space determines the subsequent technical measures to apply.
Works in a confined space is one of the most challenging and highest responsibilities that workers and middle officers and managers can face in a company:
- in a confined space, workers are exposed to some of the most serious and immediate professional risks: noxious fumes, reduced oxygen levels, or a risk of fire;
- an effective realisation of work requires establishing tough work procedures and strict control of any specific factor of risk in confined spaces.
However, it is paradoxical that, contrasting with such high requirements of working in a confined space, what jeopardise a proper and safe realisation of tasks are external aspects to these tough work protocols themselves. I am talking about the typical unforeseen and problems related to measuring equipment, its maintenance and logistic issues which result in excuses such as:
“We cannot maintain our gas detectors”
“Costs are too high and unpredictable”
“We don’t have time to keep records”
“We really don’t know what’s happening in the field”
“We can’t possibly follow all the warnings in the user manual”
To have good work procedures is as important as to have measuring devices in an appropriate maintenance status and ready to be used by trained staff when any emerging situation comes.
A solution which may solve most of these problems is to hire the a service for gas detection: a specialised company integrated in customer´s processes of air´s monitoring in confined spaces. These kind of companies are more common day by day.
Appart from the classical training courses of staff or instruments maintenance and calibration, technological advance brings an uncountable range of services resolving in origin and with reasonable price most of colateral problems which may compromise your excellent procedure of working in confined spaces.
Imagine to have in your company the gases detectors. This is normal, ok. But imagine besides to count on your own workplace a complete system to keep the detectors tested and calibrated in-situ and, apart from reporting the measuring results, sending realtime alerts and status reports through the Internet to both staff from the user company and the service provider, which will give the proper support to the reported problems. It should be something like this:
By this way, logistics issues, and instruments maintenance and control are guaranteed and any other collateral inconveniences related to air monitoring are avoided.
In this context, a gas detection service becomes a part of the tough corporate procedures for working in confined spaces, which is an issue to take into account.
(1) A confined space is one which is both enclosed, or largely enclosed, and which also has a reasonably foreseeable risk to workers of fire, explosion, loss of consciousness, asphyxiation or drowning.