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matelot1965  
#1 Posted : 02 June 2021 15:53:58(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Hello All,

We have just identified a number of confined spaces on our site six in total. I am looking to outsource the development of risk assessments, SSOW, emergency procedures and training of all six spaces for our engineers to access safely. Any recommendations on  who could provide this service

Thanks in advance

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 03 June 2021 15:37:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Matelot

Why would you want to outsource this in entirety (as against bringing in a specialist to provide guidance)?

Confined spaces come in all shapes and sizes and some are not even fully enclosed.

Your six confined spaces might be dissimilar in parts, and you might conclude that you wanted to classify them by levels of risk either in normal conditions and/or when specific tasks are done. If those doing the work are not involved in the assessment of the risks, then it is quite likely that outsourcing would reach inappropriate decisions.

As example, most of the water companies in the UK classify their confined spaces at levels 1-3, with an additional category 4 when things like welding are done so as to exacerbate the risks.

Imagine the very simple scenario as a culvert under a road. It might be so safe as to be designed as a route for mammals [there is specific guidance on culvert design published by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association, CIRIA]. But in flood conditions it becomes very dangerous for humans or other mammals, so falls within the definition of "confined space".

Make that culvert much bigger and run overground trains regularly through it, the trains themselves ventilate the tunnel and, if it is not that long, the atmosphere will generally be absolutely OK. Stop running trains or put in some welders and the scenario can change markedly. 

matelot1965  
#3 Posted : 03 June 2021 18:45:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Hi Peter,

It's a simple matter of too much work and not enough people. If we can get the basics in place we can modify on a needs basis

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 04 June 2021 12:38:58(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Matelot

One of the facts of life for most health and safety professionals is "too much work and not enough people"!

So, what do you do when you outsource the entirety of this work and an external consultant quite reasonably takes a conservative "worst case scenario" approach to the six confined spaces and advocates?

e.g. that all entry be done with self-contained breathing apparatus and that six engineers and others all go on a 3-5 day course + you buy six (perhaps more) multigas monitors and buy in someone to do the maintenance and thorough examination of those, and may be you will need six air blowers for use at the ingress + six exhaust ventilation units as well.

Oh, and they tell you to replace all the electrics in the six confined spaces with Ex rated kit, which in turn means that you are likely to disturb some asbestos containing materials.

The potential can of worms that you could UNNECESSARILY open up by not keeping control of the overall risk is endless.

In contrast you could work on a game plan based on your understanding of these six spaces and what needs to be done and how often and for what duration - by all means ask for some outside help in drawing up that plan. Depending on the outside help, they may or may not try and overegg the pudding, but if they do, it is quite likely to be relatively obvious that this is what they are doing.

matelot1965  
#5 Posted : 04 June 2021 17:20:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Hi Peter,

You maybe right but we will control the risk. At the end of the day it like most work done by a consultant they can recommend and may overegg. There is nothing to stop us from not following the recommendation and reviewing and updating where we feel over egging has been undertaken Is it any different from outsourcing a fire risk assessment where you may decide not to follow all the recommendations contained within. 

peter gotch  
#6 Posted : 04 June 2021 18:00:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Matelot

I think that perhaps you have instinctively accepted that outsourcing the entirety of this exercise is a risky strategy in that your reference to overegging responds in effect only to the last paragraph of my second reply.

You have to have a basic game plan in mind to be able to make a coherent decision as to when a consultant is overegging the pudding.

Which implies a recognition of a need to give that consultant a clear brief and inputting into how that brief is executed before and during their work. Without such input it is very unlikely that any risk assessment (and all that follows from the risk assessment) would meet legislative requirements OR meet those requirements without excessive resources.

Your analogy of a fire risk assessment is relatively apt, though a little problematic in the middle of the Grenfell Inquiry. The assessor would need to know whether they are assessing Windsor Castle, Wakefield Prison, a Walmart supermarket, Wrigley's Spearmint factory, Wolverhampton station, or maintenance of Winchester bypass OR a mix of such places. Some of the differences are readily visible, some less so. If you don't enable them to get the necessary information, they should reasonably resort to making conservative assumptions about issues such as occupancy levels and types of occupants.

A bit of investment in defining the brief is likely to save lots of tears down the line. You should know how confined your confined spaces are and why to enable you to define a brief that is likely to produce an effective outcome.

matelot1965  
#7 Posted : 05 June 2021 20:54:18(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Hi Peter, 

I think we would need to brief the consultant so that at least he could find the confined spaces :) and also be aware of their complexity or simplicity. They will be made aware of our requirements and the work will undoubtedly be reviewed and discussed by both parties. I would expect the consultant to be able to justify any recommendations made when they are on site. As long as both parties are happy with the outcome I cannot see the problem. Perhaps my analogy should have referred to a noise assessment rather than an FRA :)

firesafety101  
#8 Posted : 06 June 2021 19:48:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Hi Matelot, I know someone who may be able to help.  Please let me know the location of your confined spaces and I'll ask him if he is interested.

matelot1965  
#9 Posted : 06 June 2021 20:04:47(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

Hi Matelot, I know someone who may be able to help.  Please let me know the location of your confined spaces and I'll ask him if he is interested.

Thanks firesafty have pm'd you 

AcornsConsult  
#10 Posted : 07 June 2021 06:20:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
AcornsConsult

Originally Posted by: matelot1965 Go to Quoted Post

Hi Peter,

It's a simple matter of too much work and not enough people. If we can get the basics in place we can modify on a needs basis

hi Matelot, I can see it as a sound decision to recognise the company's shortfalls and seek more specific help.  As you say, if they can get the core work done, that can then be blended into your other systems.  Unfortunately, can't recommend anyone.  

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