The limited access and poor ventilation of confined spaces bring challenges and dangers. It is very important to know of the hazards and take relevant safety precautions to ensure the safety of workers.

This article will explore some of the common confined space hazards and applicable safety precautions.

Reduced oxygen level

Since the space is confined, the air circulation is limited. If the oxygen levels fall to 16% by volume, individuals will start feeling the effects of hypoxia such as difficulty in breathing, nausea, and drowsiness. There is a risk of losing consciousness at 12% and even brain cells can die if the oxygen levels fall below 6%.

Make sure that the confined space has proper ventilation before entering. Introducing temporary ventilation such as fans, blowers, or ventilation equipment helps in air circulation into the space.

Toxic Atmospheres

Some confined spaces may contain toxic substances or gases that are harmful and lead to deleterious health effects on people if inhaled. Hazards cover exposure to a toxic and flammable atmosphere.

Monitoring the atmosphere is an important precaution and has to be carried out before confined space entry. You can use a gas detector to test the air quality and measure the concentration of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and methane.

Fire and Explosion

Some confined spaces may pose a risk of fires or explosions. This is typically due to flammable materials, chemicals, and/or improper storage of combustible substances.

Watching out for the presence of potential flammable substances through hazard assessment can avoid fire or explosion. Testing the air helps in detecting the presence of flammable substances.


The engulfment hazard in a confined space includes being trapped by liquid or solid materials. The serious consequence of engulfment is asphyxiation and potential crushing.

Developing proper procedures for safe entry and exit helps in preventing engulfment hazards in confined spaces.

Electrical Hazards

Certain confined spaces such as silos, tanks, and storage vessels involve electrical equipment and wiring, and hence hazards to the workers. The electrical hazards from confined spaces can be due to exposed wires, damaged or improper insulation, and faulty equipment.

Take appropriate safety measures such as identifying all potential resources of electrical hazards and ensuring proper grounding before entering a confined space to prevent the dangers.

Physical Hazards

Physical Hazards are the most common risks encountered by workers in confined spaces. These risks include being struck by falling objects or trapped in machinery.

Developing appropriate safety procedures and implementing lockout/tagout procedures is crucial in avoiding any physical hazards.

Fall Hazards

The potential fall hazards can be recognized with confined spaces and has the risk of falling such as an open top or an elevated entry point. If the workers fall from ladders, stairways, or any elevated surfaces, they can end up with serious injuries or fatalities.

The best practice to control this hazard is to install effective procedures like using a safety harness, fall protection equipment and awareness of emergency procedures can avoid the scenarios of a worker falling and becoming trapped.

You should never underestimate the inherent risks in confined spaces. Understanding the potential hazards and being proactive with necessary precautions ensure everyone is safe in the confined space.

Schedule Confined Space Training with Green World

Green World is a leading HSE Training and consultancy service globally; our Confined Space Training covers essential practices and safety protocols tailored to your specific needs, ensuring knowledge and skills to navigate confined spaces confidently. With Green World’s Expert guidance, you will learn how to identify hazards and respond effectively in challenging situations.

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Mrs. Umayal Sathappan

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