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The dangers of working in confined spaces

South Carolina residents who work in confined spaces are probably aware that it is extremely dangerous. From manholes, holding tanks and pits to boilers, vats, septic tanks and silos, confined spaces have caused numerous fatalities, many of which could have been avoided if safety precautions were in place.

For example, five employees died after breathing poisonous methane gas from a manure pit in Virginia. A Washington man was killed when he fell to the bottom of a grain storage bin as he tried to repair a jammed chute. In these recurring occupational tragedies, two-thirds of those who were killed were trying to rescue others.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines confined spaces as areas that are large enough for employees to enter and complete their job duties, have a restricted or limited means of exit or entry and are not created for continuous occupancy. Reaction vessels, pumping and lift stations, pipelines, utility vaults and sewage distribution systems are all considered occupational confined spaces.

Due to the atmospheric toxins, restricted air flow and other hazards that are present in confined work spaces, the major cause of death among those who work in such areas is asphyxiation. This occurs when workers don't get enough oxygen, breathe in toxins or get stuck in narrow discharge pipes, where they usually die from their torsos being compressed. Business owners must realize that since confined space tragedies usually result in death, they need to arm their workers with adequate safety training. Employers should also strictly enforce safety regulations at sites where their workers are exposed to confined space dangers.

Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees stay safe, especially those who work in confined spaces. Family members whose loved one died in a workplace accident due to gross negligence might wish to speak with an attorney about pursuing compensation for their losses.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
115 Broadus Ave.
Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
Phone: 864-990-0226
Fax: 864-242-1566
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