Toxic gases can be present
in a confined space because the type of manufacturing process uses toxic
substances as part of the production process, or biological and chemical
"breakdown" of the product being stored in a tank, and from maintenance
activities (welding) being performed in the confined space.
Common types of toxic gases
encountered in confined spaces are:
Sulfide - "sewer gas" a colorless gas with the odor of rotten
eggs. Excessive exposure has been linked to many confined space deaths.
Hydrogen sulfide causes a loss of our sense of smell, causing people to
mistakenly think that the gas has left the space. Hydrogen sulfide inhibits
the exchange of oxygen on the cellular level and causes asphyxiation.
monoxide - is an odorless, colorless gas that is formed by
burning carbon based fuels (gas, wood). Carbon monoxide inhibits the bodies
ability to transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
- many solvents, such as kerosene, gasoline, paint strippers, degreasers,
etc. are not only flammable, but if inhaled at high concentrations can
cause central nervous system (CNS) effects. CNS effect can include dizziness,
drowsiness, lack of concentration, confusion, headaches, coma and death.