Beginning January 8, 2016, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will begin citing all employers who do not follow the Confined Space in Construction Rule.
OSHA defines a confined space as “a space whose configuration and/or contents may present special dangers not found in normal work areas. Confined spaces may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, contain insufficient oxygen or hazardous levels of toxic gases. Working in a tight space can prevent a worker from keeping a safe distance from mechanical and electrical hazards in the space. Fumes from a flammable liquid that is used in a poorly ventilated area can reach explosive levels. Such hazards endanger both the workers in the confined space and others who become exposed to the hazards when they attempt to rescue injured workers. In a number of cases, rescue workers have themselves died or been injured because they did not have the training and equipment necessary to conduct the rescue safely."
This rule is designed to help prevent tragic situations like this recent one where a construction foreman died from asphyxiation after entering a manhole with an uncontrolled hazardous atmosphere.
To help small businesses become compliant, OSHA has published the Small Entity Compliance Guide (pdf). This is a plain language explanation of all aspects of the Confined Space in Construction Rule, including how eliminating or isolating any hazards can allow you to reclassify a permit required confined space as a non-permit confined space.
In cases where high CO2 levels are possible, many clients use our pSense hand-held CO2 monitor.