In Australia, one of the biggest safety hazards in the workplace is working in confined spaces. These areas harbour risks that can cause health problems and even death. However, understanding the hazards and carrying out regular confined space medicals can help promote workplace safety.
According to the Australian Standard AS 2865-2009, confined space assessments by qualified occupational health Brisbane professionals create productive workforces and prevent unnecessary fatality. Below are the risks involved and why these medicals are critical.
A confined space is one that is not created to provide continuous occupancy and poses a safety and health risk for anyone working in it. Within such spaces:
- The restricted or limited entrance may complicate the emergency response, first aid, evacuation, or first aid efforts
- There are potentially hazardous materials or substances
- Contain safety, process, and mechanical hazards
- Pose a risk of entering or working in them
Applying the definition above, confined spaces are more common than most people think.
The dangers differ across different industries, but when working in confined spaces workers are at risk of sustaining serious injuries. That is why they have to wear protective equipment like hard hats and SCBA gear. According to occupational health Brisbane professionals, some risks that arise while working in restricted spaces include:
- Asthma or respiratory infections
- Limited mobility
- Concentration or awareness impairment
- Loss of consciousness
- Hearing or visual impairment
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Phobias such as claustrophobia
- High dust levels
Employers should carry out a risk assessment of any work employees undertake. In confined areas, the employer should identify hazards, assess risks, and determine precautions to implement. Most times, the process involves considering:
- The task or tasks
- The work environment
- Materials and tools
- Fitness and suitability of employees to carry out these tasks
- The emergency rescue and resuscitation procedures arrangements
Employers should avoid duties that involve working in confined spaces, but where it is not possible, they ought to institute a safety system. Confined space medicals help employers determine the fitness and suitability of an employee to work in the environment.
During the assessment, the medical practitioner will probably give you a confidential health questionnaire that helps establish underlying issues such as claustrophobia. Other steps involved during the medical include:
- Health assessment concerning working in confined spaces identified
- Measuring of pulse, blood pressure, and body mass index
- Assessment of your musculoskeletal function
- Audiometry, lung function, and urinalysis tests
If the practitioner has any concerns about your health and your work environment, they will ask you to discuss this with your employer. Assessments by occupational health Brisbane practitioners also help employers adhere to occupational health standards.
Medical tests for confined spaces should be conducted before employees get to work in these environments. Plus, periodic testing may be required depending on employee age or at the discretion of an employee’s physician.
At Resile, you will find extensive knowledge and experience with workplace safety, especially regarding confined spaces. The company has helped countless organizations and companies assess and reduce risk by conducting thorough confined space medicals. Contact them today at resile.com.au for more information and to find out how they can help. For more details, please visit at http://resile.com.au/.