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Confined Space Permit to Work

In a confined space, there are a number of additional dangers and issues to consider that would not necessarily be present when doing the work in an open space.

Firstly, the confined space can trap toxic gases and prevent an adequate supply of oxygen getting in. Often, this would not be much of an issue if the work was being done outdoors or in a large space as there would be plenty of oxygen and harmful gases would be able to disperse easily. Although some gases and fumes are dangerous in small concentrations, many will only pose a threat to health if inhaled in a large concentration which can be the case when they are trapped in a confined space.

Secondly, escape or rescue is much more difficult when working in a small area. If a fire broke out for example, normally the worker could quickly evacuate the building through an emergency exit. If the fire started outside, such as an accident welding with a blowtorch on a construction site, a person could easily step away from the fire. In a confined space however, it will take much longer to get out, increasing the risk of burns or smoke inhalation. Often a confined space may only have one way in and out, so if the fire blocks their route of escape, this could be a serious problem. Rescuers will also struggle to get to an injured person due to a lack of space or blocked entry. A person suffering a serious injury and requiring a stretcher and neck brace will be in trouble if a stretcher does not fit in the space.

There are also other dangers including the threat of being submerged in a liquid or small free-flowing solid like sugar or sand, along with panic and anxiety attacks from claustrophobia.

A confined space permit to work will help to identify the potential hazards to health and ensure that the necessary precautions have been taken and emergency procedures put in place ready in the event of an incident occurring. Like a general permit to work system, a confined space permit to work seeks to greatly minimise the risks associated with doing particularly hazardous tasks. A combination of a sufficient permit to work system with appropriate health and safety courses can enable workers to carry out tasks safely and efficiently.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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