Posts Tagged confined space monitoring
The addition to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 was designed to protect employees engaged in construction activities at work sites with one or more confined spaces.
A confined space is not designed for human occupancy. It has limited means of entering or exiting and can have a potentially hazardous atmosphere. Confined spaces may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, lack adequate oxygen or contain dangerous levels of toxic gases.
Before standard 29 CFR 1926, OSHA’s confined space regulations only applied to general industry. A gap grew obvious when the department of labor statistics reported most confined space fatalities were occurring during construction activities.
The new standard is very similar to the previous one, but applies directly to work in construction. It requires a permit to enter, pre-entry testing and continuous monitoring while inside the confined space.
While this new standard closes the gap in construction work, it leaves out one important component: maintenance.
You’ve got personal gas detectors in the field with your employees. That’s a great step in keeping them safe. But now, you need to make sure the equipment is working properly, is bump tested on a regular basis, has current calibration certificates, and be able to easily produce these records if a worker is injured in the field. That’s where your gas detection management program comes in.
So, where do you start?
In the event of an OSHA investigation, would you be able to provide compliance records proving your gas detectors are in proper working order? Or that they were bump tested before use and calibrated according to manufacturer standards?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you might want to consider adopting an instrument management system as part of your confined space entry program.
There are two kinds of systems to consider: manual and automated.
In a training a few weeks ago, that’s how I started my session to a room full of IH and safety professionals: The Star Trek Tricorder just doesn’t exist. There’s no magic instrument that measures everything with 100% accuracy.
And it was sad news to the professionals from power plants, food production, healthcare, and metals industries that had joined us for the day. Their goal was to optimize their IH and safety practices by better use of direct-reading instruments. But before we built them up with knowledge, we had to tear down the idea that there was one tool to rule them all (sorry, mixing SciFi and Fantasy there, but you get it).