1161 40th Ave. N.E. • Calgary, AB CAN • T2E 6M9

Keep Your Workers Safe in Confined Spaces

Working in confined spaces is tricky enough. Your employees may have to contend with unstable surfaces, toxic atmospheres, or a host of other challenges in such spaces. Every year approximately 100 worker deaths occur within confined spaces in Canada.

When getting the job done requires work in places like sewers, tunnels, manholes, ducts, elevator shafts, pipelines, storage tanks – or any other sort of confined environment, it takes expert knowledge to ensure you’ve got the right confined space equipment.

It’s important to know, though, just what constitutes a “confined space” on your particular job site. A confined space, depending on circumstances, could be as big as an arena. Under provincial work-place regulations, what constitutes a confined space may well differ in a paper mill than it does on a construction site.

Generally, a “confined space” is any that:

  1. Is big enough for a person to perform tasks in
  2. Is one with limited or restricted means of entry or exit
  3. Isn’t designed for continuous occupancy
  4. Is any covered space of depth more than 4 feet

A utility tunnel, the inside of a fluid storage tank regardless of its size, a septic tank, a small underground electrical vault are just a few examples of confined spaces.

Hazardous Thinking

To determine what is your best choice for fall protection and confined space equipment it’s important for employers and site supervisors to think specifically about what hazards workers may face when doing their jobs in such spaces. Potential risks – which are exacerbated by confined space situations – include entrapment, toxic substance or gas accumulation, fires, falls, and flooding. Any of the above could be classified as permit-required confined spaces depending on the type and severity of the hazard.

Federal, provincial, and territorial legislation requires companies have a confined space management program that ensures hazards are proactively identified and control strategies are put in place.

Orion Safety Equipment Ltd. has been in the safety business since 2007. We think about and understand the challenges and risks associated with working in confined spaces. And we can help ensure you’ve got the gear right, when things get tight.

Fall Protection

It might sound surprising, but injuries from falls are actually exacerbated in confined spaces. There’s a higher risk of striking objects in a fall. And when a worker does, there’s an increased chance he or she might get a pinned in that space, making rescue difficult.

We carry a wide range of fall protection rental equipment specifically designed to prevent falls during confined space tasks, such as our Davit-arm systems and Self-Retrieving Life Lines (SRLs). If you’re unfamiliar with fall protection & confined space equipment, the Orion Safety Equipment team will help you select the appropriate gear for your specific needs.

Confined Space Dangers are Contagious

The Injuries and fatalities that happen in confined space frequently involve a domino effect, as would-be rescuers succumb to the same problem as the initial victim. Often, this is related to air contamination: As one rescuer succumbs to toxic fumes, or just a lack of breathable air – either because of inadequate equipment or an unexpected encounter with air contaminants – so can those who jump in to save him or her.

This is what makes the correct selection of gear such as breathing equipment, proper PPE vital to avoiding tragedy. Orion Safety Equipment sells and rents equipment which is used by all industries to reduce or prevent injuries.

Whether its for utilities, construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, or many other industries, Orion Safety is your one-stop provider of sales, repair, and rental of various types of safety systems, including well-known brands such as Miller, DBI-SALA, and Protecta® Petzl, MSA, & Fall-Tech. We can inspect harnesses & lanyards, repair & recertify: winches, SRLs and more in our shop so your safety equipment always meets CSA standards.

For more on breathing equipment, fall protection gear, and other products to protect your workers in tight spaces and help them do their jobs safely and efficiently, please check these links.


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