Staying safe when operating in confined work spaces can be difficult. Being that these spaces create a whole new set of hazards, they require a few different guidelines and protocol. For this reason specifically, OSHA felt it necessary to develop specific safety regulations for this setting alone. Through this rule, OSHA defines ‘confined spaces’ and by doing so, they can outline the responsibilities, and employer duties for this specific type of at-risk worker.
Confined Work Spaces: Defining and Outlining them
A confined work space, as now defined, is an area that presents special dangers to the workers in some way. These dangers can include things such as, poor ventilation, and areas that provide insufficient oxygen, or dangerous level of gases. Furthermore, if these areas present a danger of illness, injury, or entrapment, the worker must have a special permit to work within that space. Ultimately, to operate under these conditions, an employee must meet certain guidelines. Therefore, the employer must do the same.
Under this new rule, employers have a few steps to take before allowing a worker to operate:
Training the workers. By this rule, employers must make sure their workers receive the right training first. In this training, workers should learn what to do in the event of injury. Also, they will learn how to work safely, and protect themselves and fellow workers. In the event that something goes wrong, they should have an escape plan.
Plan how to rescue injured workers. Since most of these confined spaces will not have more than one exit, an escape plan is necessary. In fact, employers should have a plan of rescue before workers go in these areas. This plan should include a way to retrieve workers quickly and safely.
Many types of workers operate in these areas everyday. For this reason, it is best to be proactive and use caution. By following closely what OSHA set out, there is a better chance of avoiding trouble. Resulting injuries, when they occur, have severe side effects. Those effects, can impact your quality of life. Therefore, when these types of injuries occur, it’s important that you speak to someone. You might not want to hire a lawyer, but there might arise a time when that’s your only option.