Each year, workers are injured or killed while working in confined spaces. An even sadder fact is that an estimated 60% of these fatalities are among would-be rescuers. Confined spaces pose greater risks and hazards than regular working spaces. Controlling these risks requires a thorough hazard assessment of the confined workspace so that a proper control program can be designed and implemented. Confined Space Rescue training is also required when workers are entering Permit-Required Confined Spaces, not only to secure OSHA safety certification but to increase safety.
Confined space refers to a partially or fully enclosed space that isn’t primarily intended or designed for prolonged or continuous human occupancy. It also refers to spaces with restricted or limited entrance or exit paths or one that is configured in a way that complicates first aid, evacuation, rescue, and other disaster and emergency response activities. Confined spaces may likewise refer to spaces that present risk for the safety and health of anyone who enters due to their location, design, construction or atmosphere, the materials or substances within the space, or the activities and mechanical processes carried out in them.
If a confined space hasn’t yet been made safe for work, employees must not enter it until precautions are in place or until it is safe to enter through additional approved means. As a rule of thumb, all confined spaces must be considered dangerous unless a qualified and competent person determines otherwise after conducting a risk assessment of the space.
There are many dangers and hazards that are commonly associated with confined spaces, including oxygen deficiency or enrichment, toxic atmosphere, flammable atmosphere, explosive atmosphere, excessive heat, free flowing liquids/solids, and more. Controlling these hazards within confined spaces is a matter of putting in place proper engineering and administrative controls and imposing the use of protective equipment and related devices or tools in order to ensure safety. An entry permit system is a great example of confined space control measures, as well as the use of PPEs or personal protective equipment such as gloves, respirators, and earplugs.
Impact Safety Systems is your best resource for OSHA safety certification and compliance, providing businesses across all fields and industries with a comprehensive safety resource for reducing risk, protecting assets, and creating a safe and compliant work environment. Apart from confined space rescue training, Impact Safety offers a range of other compliance training opportunities, including accident prevention, fall protection, emergency planning and response, fire prevention, machine safety, risk management, etc.