While not all confined spaces are hazardous, they may be cramped, poorly ventilated, and directly exposed to the sun’s heat. In either case, they are susceptible to severe temperatures and other safety threats. As a result, Confined Space Entry (CSE) in hot environments can be a particularly dangerous task.
Needless to say, a safe confined space operation in a hot environment necessitates a full understanding of the environment and its specific threats, sufficient CSE training, ample early planning, and appropriate PPE, which can range from gloves and protective eyewear to SCBAs and portable gas detection systems.
All confined spaces are not created equal. Some places have the potential for extreme, life-threatening heat. Boilers, steam pipes, and other industrial equipment can all contribute to elevated temperatures in confined spaces. Workers on an attic or rooftop may also be exposed to deadly temperatures. Read on to learn more about confined space rescue in hot environments.
Why It Is Important to Measure Temperature
Taking temperature and humidity readings in a confined space is essential to prevent people from becoming overheated. Heat stress is a precursor to Hyperthermia – a potentially fatal condition also known as Heat Prostration or Heat Exhaustion.
Temperatures in the “normal” range are 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). Heat exhaustion can result from prolonged exposure to excessive heat, and if a person’s body temperature exceeds 104°F (40°C), it can result in a “heatstroke,” which can be exceedingly dangerous, even fatal, if not recognized and treated promptly.
You’re probably familiar with the process of evaporative cooling. Sweating is a form of evaporative cooling in which the human body loses heat. If the relative humidity in the surrounding air is low, it accelerates up. If the relative humidity is high, it slows down. As a result, both ambient temperature and humidity play a role in heat stress.
Facility managers must keep these considerations in mind when assessing their safety practices and preparing for confined space rescue in hot environments.
Protective Measures for Confined Space Rescue in Hot Environments
Several variables contribute to a higher risk of heat-related illnesses, and protecting workers against the impacts of severe heat may require several actions. Using the Wet Bulb Temperature is a decent initial step; monitoring the heat index is better, but it’s generally utilized in the shade for heat stress assessment.
The ideal measurement is a Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Meter (WBGT), which accounts for radiant heat from the sun as well as other radiation sources such as building surfaces and wind impacts. Individuals may react differently to various environmental variables. Therefore, skin temperature measurement is the best technique to monitor for heat stress.
DCS Rescue: Confined Space Rescue Specialists
While safety managers and industrial engineers are working hard to improve processes and use technology to eliminate risks or the requirement for workers to do maintenance or work in hazardous confined spaces, Confined Space Entry remains a critical part of most industrial operations for the time being.
If you are looking for specialists for confined space rescue in hot environments, DCS Rescue has got you covered. Our confined space rescue teams are a cost-effective alternative to keeping on-site equipment and staff. Contact us today to learn more about services.