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Confined Spaces in Construction: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe and in Compliance

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | December 14, 2015 | Comments Off on Confined Spaces in Construction: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe and in Compliance

Confined Spaces in Construction

As a construction worker, one of the risks to your occupational safety is a confined space. Any space that is big enough for you to enter, but is difficult to get out of, and not meant for you to stay in is a confined space. This includes—but is not limited to—attics, crawl spaces, sewers, pits, and boilers. If your job requires you to work in this type of space, you need to understand your rights and other OSHA compliance guidelines.

Permit-Required Confined Spaces

If you are working in a confined space that has a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazards or other hazards that may hinder your ability to leave without assistance, then this makes the space a permit-required space. Before you go into a hazardous space, it must be registered with a permit under the guidelines established by OSHA. Your employer must have a permit that covers the safety concerns and preventive measures regarding the hazards of the space. If your employer does not have a permit for the space, then this is a violation of OSHA rules. Not every worker can enter a permit space; you have to be assigned and trained to handle the hazards associated with the permit space.

OSHA’s New Rule for Permit Space

Here’s another reason why you need ongoing safety training through an OSHA-authorized provider, such as OSHAcampus.com: To keep track of new rules regarding permit spaces in the construction industry. For starters, if there is more than one employer or contractor working on a job site, there must be a coordinated effort to manage permit spaces in order to cover all possible hazards. Someone must be responsible for identifying confined and permit spaces on a job site. Continuous monitoring of a permit space has to be applied to:

  • The atmosphere and air surrounding the permit space
  • Fire hazards that may affect workers in the permit space, as well as inclement weather conditions that may make electrical hazards more dangerous

Permits for confined spaces may now be suspended temporarily if they have to evacuate the space, or if the entry conditions change. Previously, a new permit would have to be written—but now, the original permit is acceptable as long as the conditions for entry are updated. Other rules include:

  • Employers are required to provide training—using a language that is easily understood by the workers in the permit space
  • Employers who rely on local emergency responders must make arrangements to ensure that employers are notified in advance if emergency services will not be provided for a period of time

These new rules are intended to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities due to confined space hazards in the construction industry. It is imperative that workers understand the new mandates so they can help to protect their own safety on the job site. OSHAcampus.com offers confined space training solutions that are compliant with OSHA regulations. Our training programs include the latest rulings regarding confined and permit spaces, as well as information on protecting workers’ safety and health. Request a free demo today!

 

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