Confined spaces are one of the important yet critical working scenarios and are present in various industrial settings like in construction projects, city enhancement projects, water pipeline maintenance, electric cables or internet fiber installations, maintenance of oil and gas reserves, underground sewage collectors to name a few.
However, at the same time, confined spaces represent one of the most dangerous and hazardous work environments owing to their small and restrictive space to work with toxic fumes, lower levels of oxygen, and risks of fire, explosion, asphyxiation, or drowning.
This blog is thus an attempt to showcase how viAct’s construction management software powered by its proprietary scenario-based AI can help different industries ensure confined space work safety.
What are Confined Spaces?
As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a confined space has:
Limited means of entry and/or exit,
Is large enough for a worker to enter it, and
Is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy
OSHA generally uses the term “permit-required confined space” to refer to the confined spaces that have one or more than one of the following characteristics:
(May) contain hazardous atmosphere
Contain such material(s) that can engulf an entrant
Have inwards converging walls or sloppy floors tapering into smaller areas that can trap or asphyxiate an entrant
Contain any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, heat stress, exposed wires, and so on
Thus, a confined space is any place which is enclosed in nature and has certain characteristics that make accidents, harm or injury more likely. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to:
What are the prime hazards associated with confined spaces?
The major hazards associated with confined spaces include:
Toxic Atmosphere: Confined spaces may have hazardous substances. Not wearing proper PPE like BA or gas mask can cause acute effects on the entrant, like unconsciousness, impairment of judgment, or even at times death.
Oxygen Deficiency: Various biological processes or chemical reactions, say rotting of organic matter, rusting of metals, etc.; or absorption of air into steel surfaces and such other factors may cause deficiency of oxygen in the confined spaces
Flammable or Explosive Atmosphere: The presence of flammable liquids or gases or any suspension of combustible dust in air in the confined spaces can make them vulnerable to risk of fire or explosion.
Flowing Liquid or Free Flowing Solids: Liquids or solids may flow into the confined spaces that may result in drowning, suffocation, burns and other injuries.
High Temperature: Being generally enclosed in nature, with minimal or no ventilation, the confined spaces may have high temperatures, thus increasing the risk of heat stroke or collapse from heat stress.
Dark Working Area: Confined spaces are generally dark working areas. Being in an atmosphere with inadequate light, toxic air and flowing liquids or solids, can cause accidents such as the workers tripping to objects, getting hurt or even unconscious but no one knows about it.
Long Underground Working Hours: Sometimes workers work underground for too long and there is no one to remind them about it. Long underground working hours and lack of breaks have severe effects on them such as unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing and such others.
Worker Getting tapped in Confined Space: This is one of the common happening in confined space workplaces. Many-a-times, the worker is left out working even after the closure of the confined space, say manholes, leading to death of workers. This is basically due to careless supervisors’ attendance of workers during the entry and exit from the confined spaces.
Why is confined space work safety a matter of concern?
In recent times, the number of confined space fatalities has registered a hike. Report shows that:
The average number of deaths per year associated with confined space hazards scaled up from 96 in the year 2005-09 to 128 in 2011-18, with the death count reaching as high as 166 in the year 2017.
Amongst all the hazards, ‘contact with objects and equipment’ topped the list of events causing the highest number of confined space casualties, followed by exposure to harmful substances or environment; fall, slip and trip; fire or explosion.
From 2011-18, trench collapses, atmospheric hazards, and falls account for half of all fatalities related to confined space.
According to OSHA, although the number of confined space accidents in 2021 was lesser than 2020, yet all of those accidents involved fatalities.
Thus, it is highly evident from the statistics that safety precautions when working in and around confined space is a matter of growing importance that needs to be looked upon seriously so as to prevent fatalities and ensure holistic safety in the jobsite.
How viAct’s AI-enabled safety solution ensures Confined Space Work Safety?
Looking into the growing number of confined space fatalities, viAct has brought about World’s 1st Mobile AI Safety Monitoring Solution for Confined Space Work – viMOV. With viMOV, viAct aims at leading the next generation of confined space work by making sure that the stakeholders are always aware of what is happening in the confined spaces. viMOV can facilitate different sectors concerned with confined spaces, such as construction, oil & gas industry, and the like in risk anticipation and management so as to save workers’ lives from confined space fatalities as well as ensure greater transparency in the confined space work.
viMOV is capable enough to meet the safety monitoring demand on various underground as well as above ground confined spaces, like:
Storage, and the like
Important Read: Ensure Hassle-Free Construction Fleet Management with viAct
How does it Work?
viAct’s confined space work safety solution can offer autonomous, intelligent and seamless safety monitoring in three simple steps:
Connect any IP/CCTV camera already installed on site to viMOV and the AI and computer vision enabled cameras will capture the real-time happenings in the jobsite.
Process the insights captured by the cameras with viAct’s AI.
Monitor the jobsite any time and from anywhere, via viAct’s mobile app or web interface.
What are its benefits?
The following benefits can be incurred by viAct’s AI-enabled safety monitoring solution for confined spaces:
High Mobility & Easy Portability
One of the biggest advantages of viMOV is its high mobility and easy portability features that make it suitable for autonomous and intelligent safety monitoring in the sites that constantly keep on changing.
Can work even without permanent power and internet facilities
viMOV has been made in such a way that it can work effortlessly, efficiently and without any error even in conditions where there is no permanent power supply or internet facilities. viMOV has been built with high battery capacity that can last until approximately 50 hours.
One viMOV, Endless Solutions
viMOV is a holistic solution for the stakeholders as it is capable enough to support multiple AI modules simultaneously, and enables the stakeholders to keep an eye on the multiple safety aspects in the confined spaces. Various AI modules like PPE Detection, Atmospheric & Dusty Condition Monitoring, Danger Zone Intrusion, Flowing Solid & Liquid Detection, Counting Workers on Entry Site and the like enables the stakeholders to detect any safety non-compliances such as worker without (proper) PPE, or entering danger zone, or any solid or liquid flowing in the jobsite, and such others.
It also assists in supervisors’ attendance by counting the number of workers at the entry and exit to ensure no worker is tapped underground after the closure of the confined space. Moreover, it can also detect and alert the stakeholders if any worker has been working underground for too long so that they can ask them to get out of the confined space and take a break. It thus, helps them in anticipating risk as well as managing them so as to ensure holistic safety in the risky jobsites.
Instant & Automatic Alert System
viMOV has been equipped with an instant and automatic alert system that sends light & sound alerts in matter of seconds as soon as any safety non-compliance gets detected by the AI cameras. Not only this, the alerts are also sent to the concerned remote stakeholders, via SMS, email or other instant messaging app. Thus, with viAct both the on-site as well as the remote stakeholders can remain updated about the happenings in their jobsites. This can thus help stakeholders in risk anticipation and management in their jobsites.
Another benefit that users can reap out of viAct is its integrated dashboard – viHUB. In viHUB, the stakeholders can find all the captured insights, safety non-compliances, alert history and the like that they can view anytime later. Moreover, it also acts as a common platform for all the stakeholders to come, discuss and comment on their projects. Thus, it offers an ALL-IN-ONE platform to the stakeholders for data, insights and automation.
Thus with viAct, industries can Save 70% of time and 90% of budget on inspection that too in a manner that is way more efficient than manual monitoring.
Want to ensure Confined Space Work safety in your jobsite?
Let viAct offer you the solution!
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