Many people find themselves working in confined spaces every day, whether in sewer systems, sewers, or other cramped places. These areas have unique risks to life and limbs and must be carefully considered to avoid disasters.
To this end, the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia (known as WorkSafe BC) produced a video about the dangers of working in these areas. Confined space, deadly space Focus on how these areas kill people, and the correct way to solve these hazards.
Things can change in a few seconds
Warning: The last 90 seconds of this video contains flashing graphics that can cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.
The video started out like many safety videos, showing a variety of workers ignoring the risks of their occupations. They brag ironically about their ability to deal with danger and claim that taking preventive measures is too time-consuming.It makes us realize that these people are So wrong, And do this by highlighting a few cases that accurately explain the cause.
References to actual studies of incidents that led to casualties in confined spaces to show the very real dangers at play. There are also simulated scenes of confined space accidents, including fabricated news reports, in which a firefighter with a beard lamented that workers did not follow proper procedures. This is all the typical security video fare, well executed and cleanly produced.
As the video shows, the problems surrounding working in confined spaces are multifaceted. Due to poor ventilation and usually underground, they are easily filled with toxic gases. The two most common are hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide.
Common hazards for utility workers
Hydrogen sulfide may fill up the space due to decomposition of biological material, or seepage from other sources such as chemical leaks or sewers. It is very dangerous, and the damage to the nervous system is the most significant. At low concentrations, hydrogen sulfide has a strong smell of rotten eggs, which can cause eye damage and fatigue. At a higher level, it can knock out the olfactory nerve and cut off the sense of smell. At these elevated concentrations, it can cause collapse and death within seconds.
As an asphyxiant, carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in the blood more easily than oxygen. It can even cause death at low concentrations and is a colorless and odorless gas. Because carbon-based fuel burns incompletely, or as a by-product of operations such as welding, it usually appears in confined spaces.
The video also pointed out that other gases and oxygen consumption also have wide-ranging risks. Oxygen usually accounts for 21% of the air around us, but in confined spaces, this number may be much lower. It can be depleted by microbial activity, rusty metal, or other chemical processes that remove most of the oxygen from the air. As the level decreases, workers will soon be affected by hypoxia, from confusion and delirium to death.
The video highlights the range of risks faced by workers in these situations, and then aims to point out the appropriate procedures to mitigate these problems. It is correct to rely on rescue when there is a problem. Usually, death happens quickly, and attempts to rescue often expose the rescuer himself to any risk of disabling the first worker himself.
Don’t worry, this video really shifts the focus to mitigation strategies. Portable gas monitors should be used to carefully check the safe oxygen concentration and the presence of toxic gases in confined spaces at multiple levels. This is necessary because different gases may accumulate at different heights in the space due to their relative weight relative to air. Ventilation should also be used to pump fresh air into the space to further ensure safety. In addition, in the case of rescue, observers outside the confined space should seek help, and rescuers should use appropriate equipment to prevent themselves from being overcome.
All this is presented in a very realistic style, clear and easy to understand. It also comes with innovative graphics from 1994, similar to the popular 2D platform games of that era. Seeing our brave underground workers overwhelmed by the green hydrogen sulfide clusters made us realize that things can quickly get out of control in a narrow space. The main points at the end of the video are included, with flashing graphics, clearly designed to wake up bored workers who doze off during mandatory training sessions. However, this is a poor choice, because fast flashes may cause photosensitive seizures in some viewers.
Overall, despite its age, it is a good primer on the basic dangers and necessary precautions of working in confined spaces. It is not a substitute for proper workplace-specific training, but it is a good primer for those who are not familiar with the practices involved.