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Workers’ compensation: What makes confined spaces hazardous?

| Dec 10, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Confined space pose hazards in various industries and compliance with the relevant safety standards as prescribed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is crucial. A significant number of workers’ compensation claims every year involve on-the-job injuries suffered in confined spaces, which are not necessarily small spaces. Even large areas that are confined and have limited entry and exit means can classify as confined spaces.

Some of the reasons for such spaces to pose life-threatening hazards include inadequate ventilation that could cause accumulation of harmful gases and the oxygen level becoming too low to maintain human life. Some gases can explode when a spark is introduced, and nitrogen is often used as fire protection. However, nitrogen does not sustain life, making respiratory protection essential.

Areas deemed safe might become deadly when processes like welding remove oxygen. A spark can even cause dust, grain and other finely-ground materials to explode. It is vital for the atmospheres in these spaces to be tested before sending workers into them, and even then, that worker must be in constant contact with a person outside the confined space to ensure prompt response to emergencies.

California workers who suffered on-the-job injuries might have questions about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney who is experienced in helping injured workers to obtain financial assistance can answer the questions and assist with the legal and administrative steps of the benefits claims process. Injured workers typically received compensation to cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages.