Safety First – Confined Space Training

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Confined spaces are not for everyone but, for some, it can be part of the job. To fulfill occupational, health and safety priorities, a number of South Gippsland Water staff recently participated in a 2-day Full Confined Space Entry training program.

As part of their re-assessment program, operations and maintenance staff were involved in a range of practical height-safety and confined space training activities conducted by Absafe.

South Gippsland Water’s Managing Director, Philippe du Plessis said, “The safety of our staff is paramount. Working in a confined space can be high risk and, if not well controlled, can result in injury or worse.”

South Gippsland Water has over 150 confined space sites including filtration, water and chemical tanks; sewer pump stations; and, valve pits and trenches. In addition, there are many hundreds of man-holes and kilometers of pipes around towns.

Confined spaces can present a range of hazards including low oxygen levels, toxic or flammable gases, intrusion of materials such as soil and water, and presence of contaminated materials.

“Across the organisation we can conduct between two to six confined space entries per month,” confirmed Mr du Plessis. “Ensuring staff training is up-to-date and that procedures and protocols reflect best practice means that the job gets done well, but most importantly it gets done safely.”

As part of its commitment to risk minimisation, workplace safety and staff professional development, South Gippsland Water will provide follow-up modules in rescue and the use of breathing apparatus in the coming months.