Posts Tagged confined spaces
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.
Effective, Monday, August 3, 2015, OSHA issued a new standard for construction work in confined spaces. The new subpart replaces the existing training requirement with a comprehensive program designed to protect employees from the atmospheric and physical hazards associated with working in confined spaces.
The new standard reiterates the importance of enforcing required safety procedures by addressing construction-specific hazards. With the new change, OSHA aims to reduce the number of injuries and accidental deaths at hazardous area construction sites.
According to OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, the new rule places a stronger emphasis on training, requires continuous worksite evaluations, and raises communication standards throughout the industry.
Stronger Emphasis on Training
In a constantly changing work environment, it’s important for construction workers to have a proficient understanding of the exposure hazards and the methods used to isolate and control those hazards.