WATCH PERSONNEL AND THEIR ROLES IN TANK CONSTRUCTION. BY: Safety Department at Advance Tank and Construction Co. EMAIL: Sales@advancetank.com
Advance Tank works in industries throughout the United States where our employees are often in potentially dangerous situations. We are a family owned and operated company that treats all of our employees as a part of the family. With this in mind, we strive to develop and follow all safe work practices, which in-turn builds a strong safety culture throughout the entire company. Though there are many valuable safety positions in tank construction, we will focus on the Confined Space Attendant, Fire Watch, and the Signal Person. These watch personnel have the specific job of maintaining the safety of our personnel at a jobsite.
CONFINED SPACE ATTENDANT
Building tanks often involves placing our employees in confined spaces. A confined space occurs when workers are required to enter spaces that are not intended for normal occupancy and have limited means of entry and exit. At that time, workers are faced with potential hazards with air content, fumes or off gases. In a new tank this occurs when the tank is closed up with no easy means to walk in or out. A Confined Space Attendant is responsible for keeping workers within the Confined Space safe from these risks. See Exhibit A for an outline of the duties and responsibilities of workers involved with confined spaces. While confined space programs are very complex, it is necessary to protect our family so we provide our employees with proper training and materials to safely and successfully complete their tasks.
Welding, cutting and grinding (Hot Work) are all common tank work practices that can produce fires if not closely monitored. A fire watch is vital to maintaining a safe working environment when in the presence of Hot Work. During Hot Work, it is our policy to position Fire Watches around a tank to monitor the Hot Work areas to ensure that there are not any fire hazards. In this position, the duties of a Fire Watch include:
- Prevent ignition of any flammable or combustible material. Should a fire occur, immediately extinguish it or turn on the fire alarm.
- Remove all unnecessary personnel from the immediate area in case of a fire.
- Report all fires regardless of size and method of extinguishment.
- Maintain the conditions and requirements listed on the permit.
- Stop the work if you observe any conditions which you consider to be hazardous.
- Never leave the area of hot work, unless relieved by another trained fire watch.
Both in the field and shops we have employees working closely with heavy equipment. A Signal Person is responsible for communicating with the operator of mobile heavy equipment to recognize and prevent potential hazards. According to the Department of Labor, approximately 70 fatalities occur each year from mobile heavy equipment. Advance Tank ensures that all Signal personnel are trained and certified in both written and practical forms every 3 years in order to maintain safety around mobile heavy equipment.
According to the Department of Labor, over 4 million worker related injuries happen each year. So when we work in potentially deadly environments, our personnel must be capable of evaluating all safety concerns. This is why safety watch personnel, like the Confined Space Attendant, Fire Watch, and Signal Person play an important role in the success of each project. At the end of the day, Advance Tank believes in the commitment and training of these positions because they save lives. We welcome you to learn more about the safety culture at Advance Tank.