Are You Prepared to Protect Workers in Confined Spaces? Part 2
Confined spaces are a common construction hazard. Employers must work diligently to keep workers safe by training and equipping workers with the right knowledge and gear. Failing to train employees is a direct violation of OSHA standards (1926.1207(a). Reach out to a West Palm construction lawyer for counsel on protecting your workers, your jobsite, and your reputation.
Continue reading to learn tips about the importance of a confined rescue plan. Read part one to learn about the difference between non-permit confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces.
Tips for Keeping Workers Safe in Confined Spaces
A written confined space program is required by OSHA. Permit-required confined spaces require a written entry permit. Straight-forward, effective confined space training will save countless lives. The following tips will keep workers safe:
- Identify permit-required spaces and hazards before entry
- Follow procedures for entering and exiting space
- Ensure workers are thoroughly trained before entering spaces
- Limit entry to authorized workers only
- Follow strict procedures for evaluation (e.g., test oxygen, toxicity, flammability) before and during a worker’s entry
- Use and maintain the proper equipment when entering space (e.g., fall protection, rescue, ventilation)
- Delegate a monitoring attendant outside of the space and maintain contact with the attendant at all times
Your comprehensive confined space rescue plan should include the following three ways to go about saving the worker’s life from a confined space:
Non-entry: Entrapped workers are not rescued by a person rather the rescue conducted by such means as a rope, for example.
Entry by others: There is no trained rescue on site and the entrapped worker is rescued by emergency rescues services.
Entry by trained company employees: Members of a company's rescue team are trained to specifically rescue an entrapped worker from a confined space.
A Well-Prepared Rescue Team is Essential
More than 60 percent of confined space fatalities involve rescuers. While inadequate training is a culprit for confined space deaths, the behavior of workers is also a leading cause. Even a well-planned rescue procedure can go awry if a worker acts in haste forgetting the training and procedures they have previously received. Witnessing another worker in a dangerous predicament can cause the observing worker distress, and their natural emotion may cause them to react irresponsibly placing themselves at risk as well. This is why rescuers must be fully trained and qualified to perform confined space rescues.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.