Precautions Needed for Confined Space Inspections
Life Safety inspections must be completed on all required devices, including backflow devices, regardless of where they are placed. A confined space is an enclosed area with limited space and accessibility that has the potential for a significant hazard to be present. A confined space is not necessarily designed for people to occupy it and has limited means of entry or exit, but is large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. Life Safety Inspections on devices located in confined spaces, if not performed properly, can lead to OSHA fines, technician injuries, or even death.
Possible dangers of confined spaces include toxic atmosphere, lack of oxygen, entrapment, explosive atmosphere, and physical hazards within the space. If hazards are present in a confined space then it is a permit-required confined space according to OSHA regulations. A non-permit required confined space is one in which all hazards have been removed.
To safely perform an inspection in a confined space, whether it is permit-required or not, precautions must be taken in order to avoid loss of life. To ensure safety, at least two technicians must be present when a worker is to enter a confined space. These two workers are the entrant and the attendant. An entrant goes into the space and performs the inspection; an attendant supervises the inspection and makes sure the space and the entrant remain safe.
Employers must ensure certain precautions are taken by workers whenever they enter a confined space. An employer is required to specify the exact precautions to be taken; train the workers in order to give them the knowledge to protect themselves and others; and plan how to rescue injured workers promptly and safely.
As a precaution for potential emergencies in confined spaces, OSHA also requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue or emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. An employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance must ensure that the rescue workers are notified in advance and are available and prepared to respond; this includes having all necessary information to respond appropriately, safely, and effectively to the specific confined-space emergency.
Posted on: June 6, 2017