Clarity and change urgently needed to save lives, safety and training leader says

MRS Confined Space Training

A LEADER in employee safety and training, which has a key base in Aberdeen, is urgently calling for changes and clarity around confined space training to save the lives of workers.

Approximately 15 people in the UK are killed while working in confined spaces, according to the most recent information shared by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) – with reasons ranging from asphyxiation and fires to explosions or becoming trapped.

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MRS Training & Rescue, which has as a state-of-the-art training centre in Bridge of Don, has over 120 years of delivering specialist skills, experience, and knowledge of working in confined, difficult, and potentially dangerous environments.

Today, the company has released a new report – No Room for Error – which states the solution is not more training, but “doing the correct, relevant, and appropriate training” for the identified risks.

CEO Stuart Hoult explained that information around confined space entry can often be complex and confusing for employers to navigate and fully understand. There is a need for greater clarity and simplicity about their responsibilities and options to ensure their workers are not only trained, but competent to work safely in these spaces.

He said: “Many employers recognise the dangers of working in confined spaces and take steps to mitigate the risk, however there is more to be done to support and give them the correct information.

“Employers have a legal duty of care and responsibility to their workers should an incident happen in a confined space. Dangers can escalate very quickly, and pleading ignorance in the aftermath is not a valid excuse in any enquiry.

“We hope the publication of this report will raise awareness of the risks currently facing the market and serve as a call to improvement, as well as make employers aware where they could be at risk.”

Despite the introduction of Confined Spaces Regulations in 1997, there remain a number of accidents, injuries and fatalities every year.

Several factors can lead to a death or injury in confined spaces, such as poor training, inadequate personal protective equipment, or a lack of a rescue plan. Some workers may be uninformed about potential hazards, while some employers may not recognise that a space in the workplace is classified as confined.

But these risks can be mitigated and brought to an acceptable level.

Andrew Watson, Special Technical Advisor with MRS Training & Rescue, explains: “It’s important to remember that the principles of keeping people safe remain the same regardless of sector. The differences lie in how you keep them safe according to the environment they’re working in – and whether they’re trained or competent.

“Training is just one of the essential building blocks of competence.”

MRS Training & Rescue is working with employers across the UK to pass on their years of experience to managers, to guide them in understanding the hazards, the risk they create and to explain to them why they need the control measures in place and the impact these will have in keeping people safe.

The confined spaces report produced by MRS Training & Rescue – No Room for Error – is available for download now.

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