All people who are required to work in confined spaces need to undertake the appropriate training, so they don't put themselves or their fellow employees at risk.

Confined Spaces: Code of Practice, a practical guide to the WHS rules and regulations associated with this area, lists "Information, Instruction and Training" as one of the best ways to keep safe with performing tasks in confined spaces.

This training must delve into five main areas, according to Safe Work Australia. These are:

– How to recognise hazards in confined spaces.
– Why risk control measures are needed and how to implement them.
– How to choose, utilise, fit, test and store personal protective equipment (PPE).
– What a confined space entry permit is and what it contains.
– The emergency procedures relevant to the industry and confined spaces in which you're working.

Safe Work Australia also outlines in the Confined Spaces: Code of Practice exactly who needs to receive this training.

Basically, anyone who enters or works in confined spaces or is responsible in any way, shape or form for identifying hazards and implementing risk control measures in them should be trained before they enter these spaces.

In addition to this, people who are tasked with issuing the aforementioned confined space entry permits, design workplaces that include confined spaces or even communicate with people working in confined spaces are also expected to up their knowledge and enhance their skills via training.

That covers what type of "Information, Instruction and Training" is needed and who is required to undertake it, but which industries in Australia benefit from Confined Space Training the most?

The following are just five!

Construction

According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, some confined spaces that might be found on construction sites include trenches, crawl spaces and drainage pipes.

The construction industry is one of Australia's biggest employers, keeping approximately one million people (or nine per cent of the country's population) in work. However, it's also one of Australia's most dangerous sectors. Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, a total of 211 people died from work-related injuries in the construction industry.

That means the sector's fatality rate is almost twice the national average – 4.34 deaths per 100,000 workers as opposed to 2.29 per 100,000 workers. Many of the accidents that led to these employees' deaths could have been avoided if best practices were observed and the appropriate training completed.

Mining

A whopping 245,000 people work in the mining industry, a number that equates to 2 per cent of Australia's workforce.

In addition to employing a lot of people, the mining industry injures and even kills many workers, too. A total of 36 people died from work-related injuries in this sector between 2007-08 and 2011-12, states Safe Work Australia – which, like the construction industry, puts the mining industry's fatality rate at a level 70 per cent higher than the national rate (3.84 deaths per 100,000 workers).

Out of these fatalities, three were caused by a "slide or cave-in". The possibility of this occurring may have been reduced if a risk assessment had been conducted by a trained professional.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is another sector in which employees could need to enter and work in confined spaces. It employs one million or 9 per cent of the country's total workforce and was responsible for 113 fatalities between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

Food and Beverage

Believe it or not, those working in the food and beverage industry may be required to perform tasks in enclosed or partially enclosed areas from time to time.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations states that employees may need to access vessels used for storing, transporting and processing materials, products and "finished food and beverages".

Transport and Storage

In this industry, understanding how to safely transport and store hazardous substances – such as flammable gases – in the confined spaces of vehicles is important. If the proper control measures aren't implemented and these confined spaces are damaged, the results could be catastrophic.

If you're working in confined spaces in any of the above industries, or would simply like more information about what Confined Space Training can do for you and your career, get in touch with the team at AlertForce today!

We offer a Confined Space Training (General Awareness Only) course that will help you understand the hazards associated with working in confined spaces and prevent accidents from occurring.

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