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Confined Space Training At Dounreay

4th June 2006

Photograph of Confined Space Training At Dounreay

Confined space working; the very term brings a sense of caution to those who have to work in such an environment, and also to those responsible for the safety of personnel. It conjures up images of working in tight, ill-lit, underground areas, ducts and passageways. It certainly is all of these things, but it can also apply to a relatively open area which has the potential for a hazardous situation to develop, where the space available to work is restricted, and where, in many cases the escape route(s) have obstacles in the way, for example, pipes.

Confined space working is a fact of industrial life, and this is no less true of a site like Dounreay. With the decommissioning of the site gathering pace, there will be an increasing need to work in areas of confined space, as plant and machinery is dismantled, and ducts cleared of pipes and cables.

To ensure that all grades of staff who have to experience confined space working can cope with working in claustrophobic conditions, the site training department has developed a training facility, as Paul McCallum from the department explains. "It is a facility that helps replicate a number of confined space hazards including, darkness, dead-ends and tight corners. It also allows personnel to experience using emergency escape sets and safety harnesses in these conditions, and, importantly they learn the techniques of rescuing a person should the need arise," said Paul.

The provision of this facility coincides with UKAEA Dounreay making it mandatory for all staff that have to work in a confined space, and confined space managers, to undergo this training. The benefits are many, according to Paul. "As well as practical training, our staff are given a thorough understanding of the relevant rules and regulations," said Paul. "The benefit for managerial staff is they get to fully understand the controls that need be in place to ensure the complete safety of their personnel.

However the facility is not just for the training of UKAEA personnel. "We are anxious that this facility be used by all contractors as our primary aim is the safety of the workforce," said Paul. "It has been designed to ensure that the potential hazards associated with confined space working are fully explained, and experienced in a controlled situation. This way everyone should be better equipped when faced with the real thing. Anyone interested should contact me."

The facility was designed and fabricated by JGC Engineering and Technical Services Ltd, at their Harpsdale, Halkirk, headquarters.

In The Photo
Graeme Mackay training to cope with a tight, dark corner!


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