Confined spaces rarely make for optimal working conditions. Hazards such as collapsing structures, toxic fumes, electricity, combustion, and suffocation can endanger the lives of unprepared workers. New OSHA regulations require that employers establish a confined space entry policy and ensure that workers receive adequate training in confined space safety standards for construction sites.
Confined Space Training Rules Effective August 2015
Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA, states that the new regulations will prepare workers to face the challenges of work sites and adapt to changes. The rules focus on training, communication, and evaluation, and take effect on August 3, 2015.
What Is a Confined Space?
OSHA defines a confined space as one:
- Large enough for a worker to enter
- With limited means of entry or exit
- Not suited for long periods of occupancy
Examples include partially collapsed buildings, tunnels, pits, vaults, storage rooms, silos, vessels, tanks, ductwork, and pipelines.
The term “permit space” or “permit-required confined space” refers to a confined space that contains or may contain physical or atmospheric hazards, may engulf an entrant, has structures that angle in a way that may trap or suffocate an entrant, or contains other safety risks such as extreme temperatures, sharp objects or structures, electrical hazards, etc. Due to the hazards present in these environments, a permit is required before any workers can enter these spaces. With proper training, workers and managers will be able to correctly identify and prevent confined space hazards before work begins.
What Are the New Confined Space Entry Rules?
The new confined space entry regulations include the following points:
- Employers must identify all confined spaces and permit spaces before employees begin work.
- Employers must inform all employees of the nature and location of hazards and potential hazards within a permit space. Acceptable forms of notification include posting danger signs and informing contractors or authorized representatives of the hazards directly.
- Employers aware of a permit space must instruct unauthorized employees to avoid entering the space.
- Employers who wish to have employees work in a permit space must implement a written OSHA-compliant confined space program at the project site and make the program known and accessible to employees and their representatives before and during the project.
- If changes occur in a non-permit confined space that pose new dangers to entrants or that invalidate the initial ruling of the space, an employer must have a trained person inspect the space and potentially identify it as a permit space.
OSHA’s confined space information page provides all details of the new rules, FAQs, fact sheets, case studies, and other resources for employers and workers.
Enroll in a Construction Confined Space Training Course
Don’t let your workers get caught in a tight situation. Enroll your team in an OSHA Construction Confined Space Training course today and get up to speed on this new and important safety topic. Workers will learn how to identify confined spaces, assess hazard levels, ensure adequate ventilation, and find alternative entry points. Managers will learn how to evaluate workspaces for confined space hazards, and what to do in the event of a confined space emergency. Rescue personnel will receive specialized training. Our OSHA-authorized trainers will also make sure your written confined space entry policy meets OSHA requirements.
Our confined space training course is also available as part of an OSHA 10-Hour or 30-Hour Safety Course. Enroll in an online course today to protect your workers, and boost your company’s safety standards. All graduates of the course receive a Certificate of Completion.