In any work environment, you want your employees to be safe and healthy on the job. For some workplaces, like a standard office environment, this is fairly easy; however, certain industries and fields are inherently dangerous to employees. Manufacturing facilities, power plants, and other industrial environments often have smokestacks that, when properly maintained, can help reduce risks to employees; however, these can also pose potential dangers if not properly maintained.
Confined Space Hazards
Smokestacks are typically installed when a workplace needs to vent harmful toxins or atmospheric conditions that develop as a result of the specific type of manufacturing or other work being done. When smokestacks work properly, these harmful conditions are well-managed. However, if not properly maintained or kept in top working order, toxic atmospheric conditions can build up, causing confined space hazards to become a more significant issue. In a confined space without a working smokestack, employees are at risk of either too much or too little oxygen. Atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5 percent or above 23.5 percent are dangerous or even fatal.
Smokestacks are only helpful if properly maintained and inspected regularly. A damaged smokestack will not only pose risks from creating a potentially toxic environment; there’s also a chance that the damage itself will cause direct harm to workers. Any workers directly working with a damaged smokestack are putting themselves at risk until that damage has been repaired.
Industrial chimneys are by default large, towering structures. Just like any other structure, they’re not going to last forever. Eventually, a damaged or old smokestack will need to be taken down. However, because the structures are so tall, extra care needs to be taken when taking them apart; otherwise, the surrounding area could be damaged. This is when smokestack dismantlement can be useful as a controlled, safe method for removal.
Industrial chimneys and smokestacks, when not properly maintained and handled, have the potential to be dangerous. Fortunately, regular smokestack inspections can help you identify any problems that could be posing a safety issue and help you determine if the smokestack needs to be dismantled. For more information on chimney safety and smokestack inspections, contact Continental Chimney today.