Creating a strong safety culture in the workplace is essential to help maintain the safety, health and welfare of people at work. Many risks in the workplace can be minimised or removed with the implementation of good safety and health habits and practices by all individuals at work, and this is one of the main aims of the legislation in Singapore called the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act.
The WSH Act aims to protect the safety and health of workers in all workplaces, and requires all stakeholders to take reasonable practicable steps for the safety and health of workers and others affected by work.
In 2009 Workplace Safety and Health (Confined Spaces) Regulations came into operation under the WSH Act enforcing that no entry into or work in a confined space can be carried out without an evaluation and confined space entry permit.
As part of the application for the permit, a confined space safety assessor will be required to use a properly calibrated instrument to conduct a test of the atmosphere in the following sequence:
- Test for level of oxygen content
- Test for level of flammable gas or vapour
- Test for concentration of toxic gas or vapour (where applicable)
- Conduct the test in a manner that will not endanger himself or others
- Record the results of the test in the confined space entry permit
If the confined space safety assessor is satisfied that entry into or work in a confined space can be carried out with due regard to the safety and health of persons who enter or work in the confined space, they shall endorse the application for the confined space entry permit and forward the endorsed application to the authorised manager for the confined space.
The authorised manager will issue a permit if they are satisfied that the level of oxygen (O2) in the confined space is within the range of 19.5% to 23.5% by volume; the level of flammable gas or vapour in the confined space is less than 10% of its lower explosive limit, and the levels of toxic substances in the atmosphere of the confined space do not exceed the permissible exposure levels (PEL) as specified in the First Schedule to the Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations.
Confined spaces such as laboratories use gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ozone (O3), and phosphine (PH3), for scientific or technological research, experiments and measurement.
Short term and long term PEL for gases such as these are defined in the regulations as follows:
PEL (long term) – permissible exposure level over an 8 hour working day and a 40 hour week
- CO2 – 5000pm
- CO – 25ppm
- H2S – 10ppm
- Ozone – N/A
- PH3 – 0.3ppm
PEL (short term) – permissible exposure level over a 15 minute period during any working day
- CO2 – 30,000ppm
- CO – N/A
- H2S – 15ppm
- Ozone – 0.1ppm
- PH3 – 1ppm
Looking after your workforce and protecting them from risk should be your number one priority.
Gas monitoring in confined spaces will help you comply with legislation and also improve the safety of staff and others.
Analox – helping you to keep your staff safe
Whether you have a scientific, medical, research or educational laboratory, Analox offer a wide variety of highly accurate sensors which can be used to detect different gases in the atmosphere.
The O2NE+ is an ambient oxygen deficiency monitor and sensor for use in laboratories which use inert gases. It is usually situated in laboratories that are using multiple gases to ensure that oxygen levels do not deteriorate to an unsafe level. The unit is also used in the gas storage area where there is potential for a leak of helium or nitrogen.
We also offer the Safe-Ox+, an ambient oxygen enrichment and depletion monitor for monitoring enriched oxygen in a laboratory environment. Laboratories that store and operate with high levels of O2 need to detect and monitor the levels of oxygen – should there be a leak of enriched O2 this could prove to be a fire risk, higher explosion risk and a risk of hyperoxia, a condition which can cause seizures in humans and animals.
Author: Araminta Hartley, Content Writer
Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.