New Online Tool Helps Design and Assess Confined Spaces
The Quebec-based research agency IRSST has released an online tool for analyzing and managing the risks of work in confined spaces. Intended for occupational health and safety professionals, including supervisors, contractors, and rescuers, the tool allows users to consider the hazards of confined spaces within the context of Quebec regulations. Users of the tool, which IRSST has named “CLOSE,” can store descriptions of a confined space and the work that occurs within it. The tool helps users determine potential hazards, choose preventive measures, and estimate risk before and after implementation of preventive measures. According to an IRSST press release, users can also generate reports and use the information in the tool to prepare entry permits and other documents. Users must create an account to access CLOSE. Text accompanying the tool warns that the analysis takes time to complete and should not be attempted immediately before entering a confined space.  “Some companies have trouble applying the regulations governing confined space work,” said IRSST researcher Damien Burlet-Vienney, one of the developers of the web-based tool. “Analysis of fatal accident statistics and reports for confined space work often reveals a lack of knowledge of the risks involved. The CLOSE procedure takes into account the complexity of confined space work and provides users with a structure for their analysis of hazardous situations.” To access CLOSE, visit the IRSST website.