GWI revamps confined spaces safety arrangements 

The Guyana Water Inc (GWI), has embarked on a total revamp of the company’s confined spaces safety arrangements to protect its staff from the hazards of these working environments.

According a press release from the GWI, the process began in February and to date, all 15 members of the Sanitation Unit, who make up the confined space entry and rescue teams, have received intensive training on newly acquired safety devices. These devices include air-purifying and supplied air respirator systems, portable resuscitators, MSA Altair 5 gas monitors, and full body fall arrest harnesses.

 “We are not stopping there; the Entry Teams are eagerly awaiting the arrival of more safety devices that are on order. These include, personal single gas monitors, fall protection life-line tripods, a three-stage breathing air compressor, two Self Contained Breathing Apparatus sets with remote airlines, non-Sparking tool kits, confined space blowers, lock-out/tag-out equipment, and intrinsically safe flashlights and lighting,” GWI’s Health and Safety Officer,  Christopher Cathro, was quoted in the GWI release, as saying.

In addition to the training on these safety devices, the entry teams are undergoing training in entry drills, including the use of entry permit systems, confined space rescue such as high angle rescue and the recertification of the employees in first aid and CPR (using the portable resuscitators), the GWI statement added. The objective is to ensure that team members involved in confined space work are highly proficient in the skills needed to safely and efficiently perform entry and rescues in confined spaces in the work environment.

Generally speaking, a confined space is a fully or partially enclosed space that among other things, must be “large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work”; must “have limited or restricted means for entry or exit” and can represent a risk for the safety and health of anyone who enters, the GWI press release said. A confined space, despite its name, is not necessarily small. Examples of confined spaces in the company include Wet Wells, above and below ground reservoirs, storage tanks, water supply towers, sewers, pipes, access shafts, manholes, pump stations, and storage bins. Ditches, trenches and excavations may also be a confined space when access or egress is limited.

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