Understanding Confined Spaces
By Jerome E. Spear, CSP, CIH
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one death occurs in every 10 confined space accidents. Injuries and fatalities involving confined spaces often involve successive fatalities when “would-be” rescuers succumb to the same problem as the initial victim. Almost every kind of industry has some type of confined spaces. Tanks, storage bins, tunnels, pipelines, utility vaults, pits, storm drains, and silos are examples of confined spaces. More than 1.5 million workers enter these spaces each year for the purposes of maintenance, repairs, installations, and inspections. Employees who work in confined spaces face an increased risk to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and/or hazardous atmospheric conditions. Evaluating potential hazards and understanding applicable confined space standards is the first step to preventing confined space accidents.
Confined Space Entry
A Review of Confined Space Standards Applicable to Contractors
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one million construction workers are exposed to the hazards of confined space entry each year. However, OSHA’s general industry regulation, 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces, specifically states that this regulation does not apply to the construction industry due to the differences in the nature of the work sites. Does this mean that contractors do not have to follow stringent confined space rules? This question as well as pertinent construction-related confined space regulations and standards are discussed in this article.
Summary of State OSHA Confined Space Standards
Many states with their own state OSHA plans adopt the federal OSHA standards. However, there are some states that have written their own standards. I compiled a summary of state OSHA confined space standards several years ago and recently updated it. Click the link below to view or download this summary.
You can find more articles by Jerome at http://www.jespear.com/articles.html