Confined Space: Safety Topics - October 2018 - Week 2


Monday – Confined Spaces

As you can imagine, there are many different types of spaces that are considered confined spaces such as manholes, large storage tanks, hoppers, silos, vessels, railroad cars, pits, crawl spaces, and many more. To be considered a confined space, the area in question must meet the following criteria:

  • The space must be large enough for a person to physically get inside the space and perform needed work.
  • There is a limited means of entry or exit to the space.
  • The space is not designed for continuous occupancy.

Tuesday – Types of Confined Spaces

There are two types of confined spaces and it is very important to understand the differences between them; it could be the difference between life and death. The first type of confined space is any area that meets the three criteria we just learned about yesterday. The second type of confined space is an entry permit required confined spaces.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires entry permits for confined spaces that meet the criteria discussed yesterday AND also contains any of the following conditions:

  • Insufficient or elevated oxygen levels
  • Potential for a hazardous atmosphere
  • Material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Walls that converge inward or floors that slope down that could trap or asphyxiate a person
  • Any other recognized safety or health hazard including: unguarded machinery, energized equipment, and heat stress

Wednesday - Components of the Confined Space Management Program

According to Business Legal Resources, there are 6 main components of a confined space management program that we should all be familiar with. We’ll talk about 3 of them today:

  • Testing Confined Spaces for Hazards - Before entering a space, special instruments test for levels of: oxygen, flammable gases or vapors and toxic air contaminants. Before employees can enter the space, breathing or fire hazards must be removed or controlled with ventilation, fresh air, flushing, or other methods.
  • Hazardous Confined Spaces Require Detailed Precautions - The employer must develop and use a written permit program, create a written permit detailing conditions for working in the space, train workers to work safely in and around the space, and use warnings and barriers to keep unauthorized workers away from the confined space.
  • Only Trained, Authorized Workers Can Perform Confined Space Duties - Employee training covers confined space hazards, signs of danger, safe work practices, communication methods, and rescue procedures. Authorized entrants are assigned and trained to work in a permit space and attendants are stationed outside the space to maintain contact with and monitor authorized entrants. Entry supervisors determine if work conditions and confined space permits allow entry and authorize, oversee, and stop work in the space.

Even if you don’t work in confined spaces you likely work at a location that has confined spaces and need to be aware of hazards they can pose.

Thursday – Components Continued

According to Business Legal Resources, there are 6 main components of a confined space management program that we should all be familiar with. We’ll talk about the last 3 of them today:

  • Written Confined Space Permits Detail Hazards and Safety Precautions - Before beginning work, authorized entrants and attendants have to read the signed entry permit that must be posted at or near the space entrance. This permit provides details regarding the space such as hazards, names of authorized entrants, attendants, and entry supervisors, additional permits related to the job, and more.
  • Testing and Other Precautions Continue While Space Is Occupied - An employee cannot enter a space with a hazardous atmosphere. Forced air ventilation removes hazards before entry and during work in the space and atmosphere testing continues while the space is occupied. Employees must leave the space immediately if tests reveal atmospheric hazards.
  • Rescue and Emergency Services Must Be Available When Employees Enter Permit Spaces - Rescue team members must have training in permit space hazards, rescue techniques, basic first aid, and CPR. They must also have necessary personal protective equipment and rescue retrieval systems. It is important to practice confined space rescues yearly.

Friday – Find it First Friday  

Now that we know what confined spaces are, take today to inspect your work area to ensure all confined spaces are labeled clearly and properly.

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , osha compliance , osha training basics ,

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