Confined spaces aren't just uncomfortable: they can also pose severe risks to workers' health and safety. Here are a few things you need to know about confined spaces, new regulations, and how to keep workers safe.
WHAT IS A CONFINED SPACE?
The definition of "confined space," according to OSHA, is an area that:
is large enough for workers to enter;
is not designed for long-term occupancy;
and has limited and/or difficult entrances and exits.
This is a broad definition, which means that confined spaces are bound to be a common occurrence in the construction industry. However, the good news is that, with this information, you can make better workplace safety decisions and adhere to updated regulations in every situation.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF CONFINED SPACES?
There are numerous risks associated with confined spaces, including explosions, toxic chemicals, and low air quality--which is why it's crucial to prioritize workplace safety in construction.
For example, in one OSHA case study, a manhole worker died after spending too long in a confined space. The problem in this particular situation was airflow; since the manhole had a 2-foot opening and a 4-foot internal diameter, airflow was constricted. Meaning that oxygen levels were low while other substances, including CO2 and LEL, were higher. The employee was also working alone and thus was not discovered until the situation had already become fatal.
To avoid tragedies like this in the construction industry, OSHA has implemented new regulations regarding confined spaces and the responsibilities of both workers and employers for overall safety.
Confined space training informs construction or other industry employees about how to evaluate, understand, and mitigate risks involved in working in a small, unsafe space for a temporary period of time.
WHAT IS COVERED IN TRAINING?
Confined space training will cover potential hazards associated with confined spaces, how to control procedures and identify additional risks, and how to use appropriate equipment in a confined space.
The training will also discuss PPE, safe work procedures for entering, additional hazardous situations, how to complete specific work, and how to reduce risk.
A confined space is any enclosed or partially enclosed and is big enough for a worker to enter but not for working in at all times.
Courses offered for confined space training also cover emergency procedures and a variety of levels, testing, ventilation, and more.
WHY CONFINED SPACE TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL
Confined space training is important for employees because it can confirm that your teams are suitably qualified to enter the confined space, that they are aware of risks and hazards, and that they can determine changes in risk factors.
The training also helps with improved decision making, better processes and procedures, and investing in equipment and providing training to the right team members for safety.
COURSES OFFERED IN CONFINED SPACE
At Northwest Safety & Risk Services, we have the courses you need to cover confined space and other pertinent training. Our courses are geared to fit what you need. Reach out today to learn more, ask questions, and get registered. Let's talk.