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Safe and reliable ventilation for hazardous environments

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Oilfield Technology,

Entering hazardous confined space poses health and safety risks to the lives of operators conducting work within these environments. Confined spaces commonly present conditions where gases and vapours in the air can be extremely harmful to everyone working there. To minimise risks presented by these challenging conditions comprehensive inspections and risk assessments should be conducted by a competent authority to classify the dangers and steps to prevent incidents occurring.

Safe and reliable ventilation for hazardous environments

Actions should be taken to measure and test enclosed space air to monitor levels of explosiveness, toxicity and oxygen. If there are any signs of danger for workers within the confined space, it is essential that prior to entry the space is effectively cleaned and ventilated. It is essential to maintain an effective ventilation system when working in hazardous environments where the air quality is poor, and the health and safety of operational personnel must always be assured.

There are a few important outcomes which are required from your hazardous area ventilation including:

  1. It must avoid introducing polluted air inside the confined space.
  2. Provide enough airflow to extract any potentially dangerous vapours.
  3. Reach the entire confined space.

Ventilation in these environments must therefore be carried out meticulously and responsibly using the correct fit-for-purpose equipment.

Identifying and classifying hazardous environments

The fundamental step is to identify hazardous environments by carrying out processes to detect dangerous vapours and gases. Both toxic and flammable vapours can be present in subterranean areas, and these are what your ventilation fans will expel to render the area safe for personnel. The process starts with an operative examining the area with a hand aspirator or an electric pump to detect the presence of gases. The main hazards to monitor for are methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide, all of which need to be vented to produce a safe environment.

Targeted ventilation solutions

You can utilise portable fans like the SA CYCLONE EX Air Mover, which allows you to configure the system to ensure your specific needs are accommodated. It is lightweight and designed for portability, ready to be moved wherever you need to use it. Having the ability to move and reconfigure your ventilation setup when required allows significant savings on power usage - a real bonus when budgets are tight.

Safe and reliable ventilation for any situation

When you opt for portable units for ventilation there is no compromise on quality. With ultra-tough, durable construction that is fully certified, you get a solid workhorse that will keep on working as long as you need it to. With lightweight materials, you can easily move and reposition each unit to achieve the optimal setup in any work environment. They are user-friendly and include safety features to minimise the risk of workplace accidents, ensuring your workers can focus solely on the task at hand.

Portable products like the EX Air Mover are ideal for several industries where the air itself can be a threat to safety. There are thousands of miners, offshore workers, utility operatives, shipbuilders, refurb teams and chemical maintenance crews working in environments where there are toxic or flammable substances present in the air they would breathe. Many of these workers need to frequently up sticks and move to a different location with specific ventilation requirements in order to complete their work. With a lightweight, portable fan that is highly robust and optimised for the maintenance of safe working environments, these workers can easily carry out their responsibilities wherever they need to.

ATEX & IECEx certified, this unit has a wide range of safety features such as an automatic thermal cut-off on the motor, marine-grade stainless steel finger guards and IP66 certification. The versatile and compact design enables easy handling and movement of the unit across confined and adverse environments.

Rescuers must be trained in and follow established emergency procedures and use appropriate equipment and techniques (lifelines, respiratory protection, standby persons, etc.). Steps for safe rescue should be included in all confined space entry procedures. Rescue should be well planned, and drills should be frequently conducted on emergency procedures. Unplanned rescue, such as when someone instinctively rushes in to help a downed co-worker, can easily result in a double fatality or even multiple fatalities if there is more than one would-be rescuer.

Author: Louise Green, SA Equip

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