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Learn how to work safely in confined spaces

Working in confined spaces is part of the job for many involved in Australia's construction, manufacturing and mining sectors. However, while it can be rewarding activity, it is not without its risks. That is why Australia has specific workplace health and safety regulations to ensure employers have adequate risk assessment and reduction measures in place for such work. 

Confined spaces can be hazardous to workers' health, especially if there are limited entry and exit points and harmful gases present.

Why are confined spaces hazardous?

Confined spaces can be hazardous to workers' health, especially if there are limited entry and exit points and harmful gases present.

According to the Cancer Council Australia, around 130 Australian workers a year develop lung cancer due to diesel fume exposure, for example. It identified enclosed garages and workshops with heavy diesel-fueled machinery such as buses, trains and forklifts, as well as spaces operating diesel-operated generators and compressors, to be high-risk zones.

Safety training is critical for those involved in confined spaces work.Safety training is critical for those involved in confined spaces work.

Terry Slevin, chair of Cancer Council Australia's Occupational and Environmental Cancer Committee, said around 3.6 million Australians are exposed to cancer-causing compounds each year while working, with around 5,000 new cancer cases diagnosed as a result.

"Awareness of the hazards of exposure to diesel fumes is low, especially in relation to the potential harms," said Mr Slevin.

"While the general population might only be exposed to diesel occasionally, those who work with diesel-fuelled heavy machinery are at high risk." 

Responsible employers prioritise adherence to safety protocols and have adequate emergency procedures in place.

Adherence to health and safety protocols essential

Mild lapses in confined space risk monitoring can lead to tragedies, which is why responsible employers prioritise adherence to safety protocols and have adequate emergency procedures in place.

To mitigate the potential risks, staff working in confined spaces are required to undergo relevant training, with or without the use of breathing apparatus. The benefits of such training is clear - not only does it help develop the necessary skills for workers to complete confined spaces jobs at hand, it can also open up a world of new opportunities.

Training for working in confined spaces in Australia

Blackwoods Training, Australia's largest safety education provider, offers nationally recognised confined spaces training for a range of different situations held at locations nationwide.

Whether you work in construction, utilities infrastructure, manufacturing or mining, a confined space course will increase your skill set. Ready to train in the latest confined spaces techniques and best-practices? Contact us us today or browse our course finder to review course details to find one being held soon in your location.