Confined Space Scaffolding Guide – All You Need To Know

Undertaking a project in a confined space? Inspired Scaffolding Services Ltd (ISS) are confined space scaffolding specialists – we understand the complications involved with carrying out work in troublesome enclosed areas, which is why our team is fully trained and accredited with the “City and Guilds Confined Space Award”. Our confident team of scaffolding experts can help you to complete your project safely and professionally, from the carefully detailed planning stage through to the erection of the scaffolding.

What constitutes a confined space?

A confined space, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive, is a “place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen).”

Examples of confined spaces are extremely varied and too long to list them all, but can include: vessels, tanks, cellars, pipes, tunnels, underground sewers, pits and many many more. Due to the tight enclosed nature of confined spaces, they are highly likely to create dangerous working conditions, resulting in a much higher chance of harm or injury to occur.

Common hazards associated with confined spaces:

  • Toxic atmosphere – At its most extreme, this can cause unconsciousness and death. Toxic atmospheres occur as a result of the presence of hazardous substances.
  • Oxygen deficiency – Oxygen can be lacking due to the displacement of air by other harmful gasses, or various chemical reactions (rusting/rotting/burning etc).
  • Oxygen enrichment – This can cause significantly increased fire and explosion risks. Materials will act differently in these conditions, for instance materials that do not burn in air, may burn easily in increased oxygen conditions.
  • Flammable atmosphere – A flammable atmosphere can result from the presence of flammable liquids or gasses within the confined space. If the flammable atmosphere ignites, an explosion could potentially occur.
  • Flowing liquids – If liquids, or even free flowing solids, pour into the confined space when workers are present, this can cause serious injury or death in the form of burns, suffocation or drowning.
  • Excessive heat – Because of the nature of tightly enclosed spaces, conditions often get excessively hot. This can pose a risk to workers who, after a sustained period of working, may suffer from heat stroke or collapse from heat related stress. The risk of this will only increase in cases where workers are wearing thick protective clothing which will make them hotter.

Working in confined spaces requires extremely careful planning in order to avoid injury, or in the worst case scenario, death. To enable work to progress within a confined space, getting the scaffolding correct in the first place is essential, to maximise safety for workers. Inspired Scaffolding Services Ltd are confined space scaffolding experts who operate nationally, 24/7. Whatever the requirements of your project, we offer a bespoke service that will cater to your unique requirements. Get in touch with us on 01623 272 433 to discuss a project or visit our website to find out more.

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