Conducting a survey in a confined space
19 January, 2023
Surveying in confined spaces can be challenging, requiring careful planning and attention to safety. Confined spaces, such as tanks, vessels, and pipelines, are enclosed or partially enclosed areas with limited access and egress.
These spaces can be hazardous due to a lack of ventilation, limited visibility, and the potential for atmospheric hazards such as toxic gases, flammable vapours, and oxygen-deficient air. In this post, we will discuss some of the critical considerations for surveying in confined spaces.
Before surveying a confined space, assessing the potential hazards and planning the survey accordingly is essential. A thorough hazard assessment should be undertaken to identify the types of hazards present in the space, the potential for those hazards to cause harm, and the necessary precautions to mitigate those hazards. Hazard assessments should also consider potential dangers that may arise during the survey, such as unexpected leaks or spills.
Proper safety equipment is essential for surveying in confined spaces. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, eye protection, and gloves. It also provides monitoring equipment, such as gas detectors and air quality monitors. Before entering a confined space, all safety equipment should be inspected, tested, and calibrated to ensure it is functioning correctly.
Communication is critical in confined spaces. Establishing a reliable means of communication between the survey team inside the confined space and the group outside is essential. This can include two-way radios, hand signals, or other communication devices. A system should also be in place to allow for emergency communication and response.
Proper ventilation is crucial in confined spaces. Ventilation systems should be tested and monitored to ensure they are functioning correctly before the survey begins. If ventilation is inadequate, the survey may need to be postponed, or additional measures may be taken to mitigate the risk.
Survey teams should be adequately trained in confined space entry and rescue procedures. This includes training in using PPE and monitoring equipment, as well as proper entry and exit procedures. The survey team should also have a plan for emergency rescue procedures in case of an accident or injury.
In conclusion, surveying in confined spaces is a complex and potentially hazardous task that requires careful planning and attention to safety. Proper hazard assessment, safety equipment, communication, ventilation, and training are all essential components of a successful confined space survey. By following these guidelines, survey teams can safely and effectively conduct surveys in even the most challenging environments.