You may have noticed signs around your work site that say “confined space” or “restricted space.” These signs let workers know what procedures and safety precautions need to be followed if you or a fellow worker needs to enter that space to do work. But, what’s the difference between a restricted and a confined space? Let’s take a closer look.
A restricted space is any work area that wasn’t originally designed for people to work in it. This includes any enclosed or semi-enclosed space that you wouldn’t normally be in or hang out in during your day-to-day duties, such as your home’s crawl space or a large water culvert. The most common hazards with a restricted space involve getting into and out of the space itself.
A confined space, on the other hand, is a restricted space with additional hazards and dangers. These spaces are also enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces that weren’t originally intended for people to work in them. In addition to dangers getting in and out of the area, confined spaces have the additional potential danger of a lack of oxygen, flammable atmospheres or toxic chemicals such as H2S.
When working in either type of space, it’s important that you know the potential risks, work plan and what to do in case of an emergency. So, it’s important that you can identify these spaces in order to leave work each day safely.
To learn more about confined space entry, keep an eye out for our next blog.