Safe confined-space entry

Paul Harrison, from Martin Engineering, looks at how to achieve safe confined space entry for silos and hoppers

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Never do this - confined-space entry by untrained personnel is a formula for serious injury

Whether it is humidity, moisture content, size/texture of the raw material, or increased volume, many factors can cause bulk materials to adhere to the sides of silos and hoppers, resulting in lost capacity or clogging.

Accumulation contributes to ratholing or bridging that eventually stops production, causing expensive downtime and requiring extra labour to clear the obstruction, often involving confined-space entry.

The consequences of untrained or inexperienced staff entering a silo or hopper can be disastrous, including physical injury, burial and asphyxiation.

Disrupted material adhered to the sides of the vessel can suddenly break loose and fall on a worker. If the discharge door is in the open position, cargo can suddenly evacuate, causing unsecured wor...