Building A Tools Arsenal For Working In Confined Spaces

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While working with electricity or gas is obviously dangerous, one of the most dangerous situations in a given workplace is a confined space, and these spots are often much more common than either gas or electric lines and equipment. Therefore, in order to ensure you're safe and productive in confined spaces, you're going to need to develop a specialized collection of tools to get these tricky jobs done. Here are some recommendations to get you started working in confined spaces, or to improve the work you might already do in such areas. 

Lift System

A lift system is an absolute must to do any kind of confined space entry, since it is the most basic piece of safety equipment that is specifically designed for this type of work. OSHA specifies that a confined space lift should be used when entering a permit confined space, but the option for an impersonal rescue system is always a good idea, regardless of the need for a permit. Tripod lift systems are the simplest types of lift, and are very effective in many different situations. 

Anything Articulated or Mini

Obviously, space is limited when you're working in a tight environment, so getting tools that can operate well in this space is critical. Some of the best tools that can be slimmed down or broken and assembled in pieces are wrenches, levels, and cleaning equipment like vacuums, brooms, and mops. Thinking outside of the box in regards to hand tools will pay off in the form of space as well. Handheld impact drivers and nail guns will pay off in the long run, since a framing hammer won't do you much good with a only a 3" space to swing it. 

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Gas Monitors

A leak of 3 cubic feet of gas isn't going to have a whole ton of effect on an empty warehouse, for example, but this same amount of gas can be catastrophic if released in a confined space with one or two workers inside it, especially if an exit strategy hasn't been explicitly mapped out. Gas monitors alert you to changes in the composition of the air around you, especially gases that are dangerous to breathe in. A standard 4-gas monitor should keep you plenty safe in the majority of normal construction situations, but make sure that your monitor will pick up any gases that you might encounter based on the job site.