An investigation into the rate and mechanism of incident of work-related confined space fatalities
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Confined spaces are defined by a particular set of hazards which include oxygen deficiency, toxic airborne contaminants, flammable atmospheres, the risk of engulfment in free-flowing solids and liquids, and physical hazards such as working at heights, electricity, and moving parts and machinery. This study conducted an analysis of work-related traumatic fatal injuries involving confined spaces and compared the rate of confined space fatalities in the working population between similar industrialised countries; the rate of confined space entrant to confined space rescuer deaths; and identified the difference in the mechanism of incident between entrant and rescuer deaths. The confined space fatality rate can be estimated to vary between 0.05 and 0.08 deaths per 100,000 workers, of which no more than 17% were found to be those undertaking rescue; with most of these deaths the result of hurried and ad hoc rescue attempts. While the major causes of death among entrants were toxic atmospheric hazards and physical hazards; confined space rescuer deaths were overwhelmingly as a result of toxic atmospheres. It is likely that these figures are an underestimate of all confined space fatalities, as government WHS authorities rarely identify such incidents as having occurred in a confined space. The inclusion of engulfment and other physical hazards of confined space work in safety legislation, and the separate identification of confined space incidents will permit better analysis and recommendations for confined space work safety improvements.
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Selman, J.; Spickett, Jeffery; Jansz, J.; Mullins, B. (2017)Occupational fatalities remain a significant issue in Australia and worldwide. Confined space fatalities are a particular subset. Confined spaces are defined by a particular set of hazards and often have poor ventilation, ...
Selman, J.; Spickett, Jeffery; Jansz, J.; Mullins, B. (2019)© 2018 Each year, workers are killed in incidents involving confined spaces. To minimise and control the risks so far as reasonably practicale, confined space work should be thoroughly considered and carefully planned ...
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