Confined Space Ventilation

At Pro Safety and Training confined space safety is something we are passionate about. Researching and looking into control measures to make confined space workers safer is something we do on a regular basis.

 

ExitConfinedSpace

Confined Space and Breathing Apparatus training underway

 

A confined space job we recently were engaged for in Sydney highlighted to us the importance of adequate ventilation so this news article looks at the specifics of adequate ventilation for confined spaces.

 

 

How and why do we ventilate?

 

We ventilate through the following methods:

  • natural ventilation- basically opening all opening to the confined space and allowing the space to draw in fresh air
  • mechanical ventilation- which basically involves forcing in fresh air or pushing in fresh air

 

The whole aim of ventilating is to ensure the atmosphere is safe for workers. Without ventilating harmful gasses such as Carbon Monoxide or Hydrogen Sulphide may be present, the space may have low levels of oxygen or an explosive or flammable environment may exist.

 

gasdetector

We ventilate to ensure our area to remove any harmful contaminants

 

What is the best form of ventilation?

 

There is no best form- the type of ventilation for your confined space work always comes back to the shape,size of the space and openings for the space along with the airborne contaminants you are to going to control. Usually if the confined space has a number of openings then natural ventilation may be a suitable option- usually this is not the case and either mechanical ventilation (dilution ventilation or local exhaust ventilation) will be needed.

A risk assessment must be completed to decide whether fresh air is to be pushed into the confined space (dilution ventilation) or whether it will be extracted from a localized point (local exhaust ventilation).

 

With dilution ventilation care must be taken to ensure that the fresh air source does not come from a location that may be contaminated and the air needs to be introduced in a way where the air is effectively circulated through the space. Thought has to be put into this as different shaped confined spaces will affect air flow and movement.

 

Likewise with LEV the extracted air needs to be vented to an area that does not create additional risks for workers or others and it is critical to ensure contaminated air is not drawn in through the openings. During LEV it is important that equipment used is running constantly to ensure contaminants do not build up. To do this we ensure the following:

  • the equipment is constantly monitored to ensure it is operating while the confined space is occupied
  • have the controls clearly identified, tagged, signed and protected to prevent unauthorized interference

 

 

What options can we use for dilution or LEV?

 

During our confined space training in Sydney and Brisbane and our confined space work we regularly undertake the easiest way to complete ventilation is through an extraction fan. We use a DYNABREEZE Power Fan 300 which we find is capable for majority of our training and confined space work. For larger confined spaces we have even used multiple units and we find these extremely effective. This particular unit is capable of moving 60 m3 of air a minute.

Like any confined space jobs the right dilution or LEV comes back to the size and shape of the confined space so always consult your manufacturers specifications and complete a risk assessment for the project.

 

Dilution

Dilution ventilation using the Dynabreeze Power Fan 300






 

 

 

 

Stowe Australia

Stowe Australia

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Doval Constructions (QLD) Ltd

Doval Constructions (QLD) Ltd

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Evoqua

Evoqua

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Newcrest Mining Limited

Newcrest Mining Limited

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BHP Billiton

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Ventia Utility Services P/L

Ventia Utility Services P/L

Remove Non-Friable Asbestos Training

TestimonialA very well organised course to conduct the course on a remote site. Worthwhile skills delivered to all participants with customised discussion for the specific circumstances of the site.

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