Confined space work is typically high-risk in nature. This work requires advanced technology and expertise to be done effectively. While not every company has these resources on-site, there are always options at their disposal. Dedicated confined space rescue teams are always a great option for companies looking to keep their employees safe with well-trained personnel.
Beyond people, there is equipment available that can help make confined space jobs run more smoothly. These include gas monitors, air systems, tripods, and winches just to name a few. Unfortunately, this equipment is typically expensive and time-consuming to maintain. For companies looking to keep their personnel safe but unable to invest in these solutions, confined space equipment rental may be the best option forward.
A confined space is any location, such as a tank or container, that is enclosed and creates conditions that increase the risk of injury. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), around 2.1 million workers enter permit-required confined spaces annually in the United States. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reports that from 2011 to 2018, there were 1,030 worker fatalities involving a confined space. It’s possible that the right equipment and expertise could prevent injuries and fatalities caused by the hazards that confined spaces are associated with.
The hazards commonly encountered in confined spaces include:
Toxic atmospheres—Toxic atmospheres have the potential to impair judgment and lead to unconsciousness or death. These environments are often caused due to the presence of hazardous substances that could be seeping in due to disturbance caused by the work being done.
Flammable or explosive atmospheres—When flammable liquids or gases are present in confined spaces, an explosion is always a risk.
Oxygen deficiency or enrichment—Oxygen may be lacking in a confined space due to the displacement of air by another gas or various biological processes happening in the space. An excess of oxygen, on the other hand, can increase the risk of fire or an explosion in the presence of compostable materials.
Flowing liquids or solids—The presence of flowing liquids or solids in a confined space can lead to drowning, burns, suffocation, and other injuries.
Excessive heat—Due to confined spaces being enclosed, workers can collapse from heatstroke or heat stress if conditions are too hot.
These are all real dangers our workers face in confined spaces, but they are also preventable. While equipment is not a fix for all confined space dangers, it can address a great number of them.
Knowing what equipment to have on-site and the benefits they bring is critical to any job’s success. There are a number of options depending on the work being done and the potential hazards involved, but we’ll stick with the basics for now.
Gas monitors are a great way to not only keep workers safe but comply with multiple regulations as well. Monitors like the Honeywell BW™ Max XT ll and Altair 4X are popular for their simple interface and robust features. There are many different gas monitors to choose from, but most have the same basic features, including monitoring for different gases and combustibles and remote sampling. More advanced solutions come with employee detection features and are typically rugged enough to work in a range of temperatures and conditions.
Air systems are another critical component of confined space work. These systems come with a variety of configurations to meet the unique needs of the space being worked in, as well as different durations of air.
Tripods and winches are also typical to have on-site for confined space work as they are important during any rescue operations that may occur. High-quality tripods and winches come with high weight capacities, are corrosion-resistant, and can be quickly deployed and used for rescue teams.
With these solutions on-site, working in confined spaces can be safer and less risky. Of course, that would require businesses to buy these solutions for all of their sites and workers. However, adding up the cost of these solutions and the number of them needed for any given job is only one piece of the puzzle. Maintenance must also be considered when calculating the total cost of ownership.
Owning this kind of equipment can be costly when it’s not in use. Buying the equipment is just the first step as it also needs to be properly stored and maintained. Typically, the more expensive the equipment, the more expensive the maintenance is to keep it running. Confined space equipment rentals offer peace of mind when it comes to getting the latest equipment when you need it. The equipment is also meticulously maintained and repaired so that businesses don’t have to worry about spare parts or repair technicians.
Similarly, it can be difficult to justify the costly purchase of confined space equipment as it’s difficult to say how often it will be needed. Businesses experience seasonal peak periods, such as outages and turnarounds, that will call for heavy equipment use. But during times when demand is not as high, that equipment if purchased, will just be sitting in a storage locker not being used. Confined space equipment rentals give businesses the flexibility to take advantage of peak periods without needing to buy extra equipment for every job.
Another key point to consider when choosing between purchasing or renting equipment is the rate of innovation in the solutions. Monitors and meters are always being improved and some new features may prove too good to not have on-site for employees. It can be challenging to know when to buy new equipment or how to know if your current equipment is good enough for the job that needs to be done.
Confined space equipment rental clears all those questions up. Businesses have the ability to gain access to the latest solutions available for a fraction of the cost it would take to buy them. That way, employees are properly equipped for their work and don’t need to worry about outdated or faulty equipment. After all, there should be no second-guessing when it comes to the safety of your employees.
Contact us today to discuss your equipment needs and see if confined space equipment rental is right for you.