Person felt unwell while working in confined space

What happened?

A worker felt dizzy and weak while cleaning a mud tank. The tank watchman noticed this and initiated the emergency rescue procedures to recover the person from confined space.  Following First Aid on-board and further diagnosis of increased blood pressure, the worker had some rest and returned to his duties a few hours later.

What went wrong?

  • There was a failure to safely control the work process: permits and certificates incorrectly issued, incorrect gas-freeing checks, personal gas detector not worn, wrong isolation process (no ‘lock-out’);
  • The rescue equipment was not suitable – there were no certificates to evidence inspection of safety harness, tripod and inertia reel;
  • There was no confined space rescue plan in place;
  • Hazards not identified – The mud loaded previously had no safety datasheet hence the hazards were unknown.

Remember: Uncontrolled work in confined space can lead to fatalities!

What lessons were learned?

  • Thorough check of lock-out/tag-out kits, gas detectors and rescue equipment to ensure properly available and suitable for use.