Confined Space articles

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND, BRISBANE, MARCH 1 2017. THE DANGERS OF WORKING IN CONFINED SPACES AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM 

As we approach annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Thursday 28 April, we are again reminded of the dangers faced in the workplace, particularly for those in well-known high-risk occupations. Among them are those working in confined spaces - in fact, when compared with working outside, a confined space can increase the hazards and risks workers face by up to 150 times. Another unfortunate statistic when looking into confined space incidents is the propensity for multiple fatalities - indeed according to De Vaney (1997, p22) when examining confined space entry risks in the US, "other than vehicular accidents, more multiple fatalities occur during confined space entry work than any other type of work performed..." Here in Australia we rank better than most nations in terms of the number of fatalities in confined spaces: Malaysia: 1,396 fatalities (Year 2010) USA: 350 fatalities (Years 2000 - 09) UK: 29 fatalities (Years 2003 - 11) Australia: 8 fatalities (Years 2003 - 11) However there is always more we can be doing to reduce the alarming statistics. What is a confined space?: According to Safe Work Australia (2016), a confined space is determined by the hazards associated with a set of specific circumstances and not just because work is performed in a small space. Examples of confined spaces can be found in a wide and varied number of places and include tanks, vats, silos, bins and vaults and there are also a number of less obvious, but no less dangerous spaces, such as open-top tanks and vats and closed and unventilated rooms.
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USA, FLA, KEY LARGO, MARCH 2 2017. OFFICIALS MUM ON WORKERS' DEATHS
(OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION REPORTS STILL PENDING)

Six weeks after the deaths of three D.N. Higgins contractors working on a Monroe County roadway and drainage project, investigations are ongoing and officials are tight-lipped. A detective with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office as well as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still looking into the Jan. 16 incident. Robert Wilson, 24, from Sugarloaf Key, Louis O’Keefe, 49, from Little Torch Key and Elway Gray, 34, from Fort Lauderdale, all perished in a stormwater drain, overcome by toxic fumes. The mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases knocked them unconscious almost immediately. The family of Robert Wilson has retained attorney Marc Lyons to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. The Free Press’ attempts to contact a D.N. Higgins representative for comment have remained unsuccessful, both in Key West and Ann Harbor, Mich., where the company is headquartered. “We continue to be disappointed and angered by the lack of official or unofficial response by Douglas N. Higgins regarding this tragedy,” Lyons said. “The families of those men who needlessly perished deserve better.” Lyons faults the company for its apparent lack of safety precautions for workers entering a confined space where deadly gases might be present. He has launched a Facebook page devoted to the incident, “Investigating the Deaths of Three Key Largo Utility Workers.”
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