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What are the hazards in a confined space?

All hazards found in a regular workspace can also be found in a confined space. However, they can be even more hazardous in a confined space than in a regular work site.

Hazards in confined spaces can include the following, for example:

  • Poor air quality: There may be an insufficient amount of oxygen for the worker to breathe. The atmosphere might contain a poisonous substance that could make the worker ill or even cause the worker to lose consciousness. Natural ventilation alone will often not be sufficient to maintain breathable quality air
  • Chemical exposures due to skin contact or ingestion as well as inhalation of ’bad’ air
  • Fire Hazard: There may be an explosive/inflammable atmosphere due to inflammable liquids and gases and combustible dusts which, if ignited, would lead to fire or explosion
  • Process-related hazards such as residual chemicals, release of contents of a supply line
  • Noise
  • Safety hazards such as moving parts of equipment, structural hazards, entanglement, slips, falls, etc.
  • Radiation
  • Temperature extremes including atmospheric and surface
  • Shifting or collapse of bulk material
  • Barrier failure resulting in a flood or release of free-flowing solid
  • Uncontrolled energy including electrical shock
  • Visibility
  • Biological hazards


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