Hydration is often a forgotten element of safety in a confined space. With so many potential hazards during confined space entry, loss of water because of sweating isn’t high on the list for many workers. However, hydration is just as important as many of the other safety considerations of a confined space project.
Fluids lost in a hot environment, or because entrants are wearing protective, and non-breathable clothing, must be replaced to help prevent heat-related injuries.
To prevent heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke have each team member drink water or sport drinks to replace electrolytes both before and after entry. Remember to start hydrating early since it can take up to 20 minutes before the liquid is available for the body to use.
After exiting the confined space, the entry team as well as others working in the same conditions, should hydrate even if they don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is not always a reliable dehydration indicator. If team members wait until they feel thirsty they may already be well on their way to heat related problems.