Is That Place a Confined Space?
by Ryan Yutzy, Safety Coordinator.
Although confined space entry has always been an important safety concern, recent near miss accidents and even deaths have put it in the regulatory spotlight. These events have prompted agencies such as OSHA to focus their inspections on confined space entry and fall protection regulations. Many companies have chosen to go over and beyond required OSHA standards in hopes of preventing themselves from becoming a part of the statistics and exorbitant fines. Because of this, employees, contractors, and subcontractors need to be aware of its importance and understand that adherence to site-specific polices are merited and are ultimately in place for their benefit and safety.
Nearly half of all confined space deaths have been those of rescuers. No one should ever enter a confined space to attempt a rescue unless that person has been trained to do so and has all the necessary protective equipment available to do so. Never think that it is alright to enter a confined space just because it looks OK. When lives are at stake it’s always better to take all precautions necessary to send everyone home safe at the end of the day.
Confined space characterizes any space having a limited means of egress, which is subject to the accumulation of toxic or flammable contaminants or has an oxygen deficient atmosphere. It includes, but is not limited to, storage tanks, process vessels, bins, boilers, ventilation or exhaust ducts, sewers, tunnels, pipelines, and open top spaces more than 4 feet in depth such as pits, tubs, and vessels. If an employee is expected to enter any such space he must be instructed as to the nature of the hazard(s) involved.
Because confined spaces have an unknown atmospheric environment, it is essential that entrants wear proper breathing apparatus along with retrieval lines. In some cases a fall protection system is necessary and must include a full body harness and lanyard of appropriate length. There must always be an assistant assigned to someone who is entering confined space so that continual contact is made with the individual in case of an emergency.
Here is a good video for grain bin safety:
If you have any questions about safety in our industry, contact Ryan Yutzy at: R.Yutzy@FumigationZone.com