Posts Tagged OSHA
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.
This was how many conversations started while exhibiting at conference last week. OSHA released its rule for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica back in March and many are still looking to understand how it will affect their business and employees.
The new rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016 and most business will have between one to five years to comply depending on industry. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. This is a reduction is two to five times lower than the previous PEL.
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.
I get this question occasionally. It usually comes with a half smirk and a “they won’t fit any different next year.”
I assume most of them are joking (or at least I hope they are). I often mention that a person’s face changes slightly each year and that can affect how a respirator fits. NIOSH has a recently released a study verifying that point (especially those wearing N95s), which gives me something I can now point to.
So what did they want to do with the study?
NIOSH initiated it to address three primary questions:
The Top 10 list of OHSA’s most-frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2015 has been posted and Respiratory Protection is ranked at #4 with more than 3,600 violations this year.