Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new standard for Confined Spaces that became effective August 3, 2015. Are you compliant?
For starters, let’s identify what OSHA considers a confined space. A confined space meets all of the following criteria:
– Is large enough for a worker to enter;
– Has limited means of entry or exit; and
– Is not designed for continuous occupancy.
A confined space containing hazards may be classified as a permit-required confined space. Permit-required confined spaces have one or more of the follow characteristics:
– Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere;
– Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant;
– Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section;
– Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
Host employers, controlling contractors, and entry employers each have outlined responsibilities and obligations when dealing with confined spaces including confined space training and OSHA safety training. Host employers are the owners or managers of the property where the construction is happening. Controlling contractors are the employers with the overall site construction responsibility. Entry employers, often called subcontractors, are those with employees directed to enter a permit-required confined space.
Host/Controlling Employer Obligations:
The information outlined below must be provided by the host employer to the controlling contractor before entry operations begin:
– Location of each known permit-required confined space;
– Hazards or potential hazards in each space or the reason it is a permit-required confined space; and
– Any precautions that the host employer or any previous controlling contractor/entry employer implemented for the protection of workers in the permit-required confined space.
Entry Employer Obligations:
– Inform employees of the location and danger of all permit-required confined spaces in a work site;
– Eliminate or isolate hazards in the space, assess personal protective Equipment (PPE) requirements needed to protect workers, provide workers with required PPE, provide training on PPE use and any related hazards before work begins;
– Train workers involved in permit-required confined space operations so that they can perform their duties safely and understand the hazards in permit spaces and methods used to isolate, control, and protect workers;
– Have a written permit-required confined space entry program establishing a system for preparing, using, and canceling entry permits;
– Ensure properly trained rescue and emergency services are available before entry into permit-required confined spaces.
Do you have specific questions about confined spaces, confined space training, or OSHA safety training? Let us help your team take a systematic approach to safety. Call today to learn more! 706-790-6828
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