OSHA has studied confined space dangers for many years and some of the most recent statistics are:
- 2010 – 63 fatal accidents in confined spaces and 28 hospitalizations.
- January 1, 2011 to August 1, 2011 – 22 confirmed fatal accidents and 3 confirmed hospitalizations.
The dangers of confined spaces are many including lack of oxygen, toxic atmospheres, explosive atmospheres, and cave-ins. The most surprising statistic on confined space dangers is the number of deaths and injuries that happen to the rescuers of trapped people. Over the last two decades this number has fluctuated between 40%-60% of all confined space fatalities and injuries happen to the initial rescuer. Here are some tips that can help companies and individuals avoid this:
- When a confined space incident happens, don’t rush in and be a hero. Think the rescue through before you act – this will protect you and your employees.
- Call 911 as quickly as possible. Fire fighters and emergency personnel have been trained for this and other scenarios.
- Have a step by step system in place for confined space emergencies and any other emergencies that can happen on any job site.
- If feasible have an individual or individuals on staff that have trained and drilled for confined space rescues.