Across the construction and chemicals industries, workplace health and safety are more important than ever. The number of on-site deaths and serious accidents in these industries is rising, with more than 5000 people in construction alone losing their lives at work every year.
In order to make your workplace safer and protect occupational health, you must have the correct standards and procedures in place. One of the most important of these is atmospheric testing.
Atmospheric testing will ensure that hazardous spaces are safe and suitable for your workers. With that in mind, here are the do’s and don’ts of atmosphere testing.
The Do’s of Atmospheric Testing
First, let’s break down the essentials of atmospheric testing. These are the tasks that belong on every atmospheric testing checklist:
Check Oxygen Levels
Oxygen levels are the most important component of a safe, confined space. Always start by checking that oxygen levels go beyond the minimum levels for safe entry.
Check Toxic Gas Levels
Gas testing is absolutely essential since toxic gases are a leading cause of workplace health violations. Test for hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide and make sure they fall well below OSHA-mandated exposure limits.
Get a Permit
If your atmospheric testing shows that a space is safe to enter and work within, you must get a permit. As this guide to confined space safety explains, you must show your test results to OSHA before they will grant you a Permit-Required Confined Spacing approval.
It is not enough to conduct testing once and then forget about it. All hazardous spaces must have a constant monitoring system attached.
Remember, atmospheres frequently change. This is why your monitoring should be in place to detect any sudden or dangerous changes.
The Don’ts of Atmospheric Testing
Now, let’s go through the no-nos. When conducting atmospheric testing, make sure to never make these mistakes.
No Remote Sampling Equipment
Regulations around confined spaces require those spaces to be tested before a worker can enter them. This means that you will need a full set of remote sampling equipment to conduct testing without putting anyone at risk.
The Wrong Sensors
All confined spaces have a unique atmosphere. This means that the requirements for safe testing will vary. You must make sure you have sensors that can actually detect the hazardous gases that could be present in your on-site confined space.
Not Testing Your Equipment
It is not only your spaces that need to be testing. You must also run tests on all of your sampling equipment before use, to ensure that they actually work and can detect the threats that could harm your workers.
Lack of Workplace Training
On all too many sites, there is an assumption that atmospheric testing is easy. This is not always the case. Any worker trusted with testing should always receive comprehensive training. They must be confident in all of the necessary equipment and be able to interpret the findings consistently.
The Tech to Empower Your Business
Proper atmospheric testing is not just about box-ticking. It is essential to ensure safe, legal, and productive workplaces.
If you’re looking for more insights on the tools that you can use to empower and grow your business, we have got you covered. Make sure to check out our dedicated Tech guides to learn more.