HSE warning over confined spaces

 The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a warning to the manufacturing industry about the extreme dangers of entering confined spaces, particularly those dealing with waste and recycling.

In July 2004, three employees working on a farm near Thetford died when they were asphyxiated in a slurry tank. The men were overcome by carbon dioxide, compounded by a lack of oxygen, and they drowned in less than one metre of liquid.

James Barrett, the head of the HSE’s manufacturing sector, said: “This latest incident highlights the risks common to all industries and everyone; employers, trade unions, and workers themselves, need to be alert to the dangers.”

“It is no good managers implementing a safe system of work and assuming employees will follow it. Workers need to be carefully trained and supervised by a competent manager,” he said. “Senior management must carry out regular checks to be sure the correct procedures are always followed. Anything less is just not good enough and people will continue to die.”

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