Fresh Air in Dark Places

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Published Date

March 2010

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Fresh Air in Dark Places

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This book is a guide to the hazards associated with entering enclosed or confined spaces on board.

Enclosed space entry is a dangerous activity that can result in fatal accidents if not carried out safely. This publication is a guide to the hazards that underpin an enclosed space operation, looking at the risks of and requirements for entering confined spaces.

Authors’ Introduction




1. A Straightforward Approach

2. What is so Special about Fresh Air?

3. The Adrenalin Rush and Feeling Superhuman

4. Carbon Monoxide – A Nasty and Sinister Gas

5. A Most Unpleasant Smell

6. The Hydrocarbons

7. So Far, So Good, So What?

8. The Real World

9. Tables of Toxicity

10. The Nose is not Enough

11. Closing Summary



Enclosed space entry is a hazardous activity that results in fatal accidents each year.


It may also be known as:

  • • Dangerous space entry
  • • tank entry
  • • confined space entry.


Entry into an enclosed space should only be made when there are no alternative measures that could be taken, when all hazards have been assessed and dealt with and it has been verified that the space contains fresh air.

Olaf Olsen

Olaf Olsen has a Master Mariners certificate and draws on his career experience on tankers and dry cargo ships, together with considerable time in commercial ship management, in maritime education and in his work as an advisory consultant to several international maritime bodies.

Erik Olsen

Erik Olsen is a graduate in health science combining commercial management and broad maritime transport knowledge.

Title: Fresh Air in Dark Places
Number of Pages: 134
Product Code: 4351
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-905331-89-5 (9781905331895), ISBN 10: 1-905331-89-4 (1905331894)
Published Date: March 2010
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 210 mm
Book Width: 150 mm
Book Spine: 90 mm
Weight: 0.30 kg
Author: Olaf Olsen and Erik Olsen

Customer Reviews

Fresh Air in Dark Places Review by Fairplay Review
Dangerous spaces
Fairplay Review
Routine activities on board a ship can cause the death of a seafarer in minutes. Olaf and Erik Olsen were driven to write a book after reading yet another account of an enclosed space tragedy. The result is Fresh Air in Dark Places, which was published in April. Despite the fact that the industry provides guidance, regulation and codes to prevent serious shipping accidents, fatalities still happen.
The premise is that a ship is a collection of spaces and most must be entered at some time for cleaning, inspection or maintenance. The authors themselves have combined experience of working on tankers and dry cargo ships, commercial ship management, health science, and maritime education. Rather than producing yet another set of best practices, the authors say they hope to inform on the hazards associated with the activity of entering confined spaces. These include smells, gases (as few have any colour), rust (that uses up oxygen) and hydrocarbons.
An intriguing and interesting chapter entitled ‘The Adrenaline Rush and Feeling Superhuman’ covers the sensations a human being feels during times of excitement or crisis. The authors point out that a sudden adrenaline rush has temporary results, including the inability to make cool and calm decisions. A team member in a confined space without sufficient access to fresh air may start to feel this way, and the general consensus with confined spaces is to stay out.
The final sections of the book discuss good practice in relation to confined space entry.
The ground rule is to keep out as much as possible, and the authors advise in some detail, giving examples. What follows are a number of samples of space entry permits, along with tables of toxicity, a closing summary and a bibliography. There is much ground covered in this informative, 107-page handbook.
Miriam Fahey

(Posted on 05/08/2010)

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