Confined Space work is one of the most challenging aspects of a maintenance project. Accidents can occur if potential hazards such as fire, elevated temperatures, gas, fumes, vapor, lack of oxygen or limitations to movement are not properly managed. This considerable level of danger calls for extra safety measures that consist of a safety watch who monitors the entry and maintains communication with the workers inside. However, the duties of the attendant are restricted to the outside of the vessel. So how does safety extend to the activities inside the confined space?

A solution was designed that combines gas detection, video surveillance, two-way communication, access control and a command center to improve safety while improving productivity and reducing costs. If an injury occurs inside the vessel, under existing processes, the Safety Attendant is alerted by another worker or via a lack of communication with the injured worker. The attendant then radios for a rescue team. With this innovation, owners no longer require a safety attendant and the safety operators monitoring the command center can see the issue and communicate directly with the injured worker. First responders or rescue team are alerted directly.

Through the combination of real-time gas detection, cameras with day/night vision installed outside and inside vessels, video recording and two-way communication, the innovation delivers and stores data useful in alerting workers of hazardous environments, providing video evidence of safe behaviors, enables operators to see work inside the vessels real time, and stores valuable video and overlaid gas data logs to protect against future liabilities. The system can be utilized in trainings or investigations, enables personnel in the vessel to communicate with personnel offsite through the command center, allows for remote correction of safety practices, controls access to the confined space or facilitates faster response to emergencies. The innovation saves significant costs to owners through the elimination of safety watch and the resulting costs and liabilities of these personnel on site. Further cost savings will be achieved through smoother operation of the permit process, improved communication with workers in confined spaces, and enhancements to productivity.

A product of collaboration between technology and safety expertise, the innovation revolutionizes the role of the safety watch, enhances safety and productivity, and reduces costs for the owner. The paper will discuss examples and provide data on the potential savings resulting from the implementation of the technology. This paper will also discuss further enhancements include body cameras, monitoring of employee wellbeing and facility access control. This is the path to the technical turnaround of the future.

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