Permit-required confined spaces can present conditions that are immediately dangerous to workers’ lives or health if not properly identified, evaluated, tested and controlled. OSHA has developed a standard for Confined Spaces in Construction (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) for any space that meets all of the following criteria:
Is large enough for a worker to enter;
Has limited means of entry or exit; and
Is not designed for continuous occupancy.
One provision of the standard 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 is required to meet the requirements of §1926.1211- Rescue and emergency services. OSHA recognizes that not all rescue services or emergency responders are trained and equipped to conduct confined space rescues. When employers identify an off-site rescue service, it is critical that the rescuers can protect their employees. The emergency services should be familiar with the exact site location, types of permit-required confined spaces and the necessary rescue equipment.
I have written several times now about OSHA’s new Construction Standard for Permit-Required Confined Spaces and how this new standard clarifies several aspects regarding the General Industry Standard 1910.146. But one requirement I continue to get push back on is the fact that ENTRY-STYLE Rescue is REQUIRED for ALL “permitted entires” in both Construction and General Industry. It seems that 1926.1204(i) is the requirement so many want to slice and dice to meet their needs against my better judgement…
A food cannery faces $143,550 in federal penalties after a worker, 35, fell more than 17 feet into an empty sauerkraut vat and broke multiple bones. The inspection that followed was the fourth time since 2011 that OSHA has cited the company for failing to protect workers from fall and machine hazards. On April 13, OSHA issued one willful, two repeat, five serious and one-other-than serious safety violations after the Oct. 27, 2015 injury inspection. The agency found similar violations at the facility in 2013 and 2015. Here is a breakdown of the PRCS citations (as well as the others):
These citations are the FIRST OSHA citations using 1926.1201-1213, OSHA’s confined space in constructionOSHA’s confined space in construction standard. It is IMPORTANT to point out these citations involved work at a waste-water treatment plant (WWTP) which is normally a workplace that would fall under OSHA's GENERAL INDUSTRY standards; however, the work being done INSIDE the 54" pipe was CONSTRUCTION WORK. This case also involved sub-contractors who were also cited for PRCS issues. This inspection came about because a worker, 42, was leak testing joints inside a 54-inch round pipe and suffered fatal blunt force injuries in October 2015, when an inflatable “bladder” ruptured. Here is a breakdown of the 1926.1201-1213, OSHA’s confined space in construction standard citations:
PLEASE pay particular attention to the citations regarding RESCUE from this 54" pipe!
OSHA fines New Orleans tank cleaner $226K for willful, repeat violations after a worker died, and two others were hospitalized, while they cleaned a rail tank car. The three workers were overcome by a lack of oxygen inside the rail tanker on Oct. 8, 2015. OSHA found the company failed to test the atmosphere inside the tanker before the three employers entered the tank, and to mandate that the workers attach a lifeline to their harnesses to allow a rescue. OSHA has cited the company for the same confined space violations three times before at its locations in Illinois. In April 2012, the agency issued eight serious violations at the company's IL location. In May 2012, inspectors found nine serious and two willful violations at that location. In July 2014, an investigation found four serious and seven repeat violations. Willful violations include failing to test atmospheric conditions within a confined space before allowing workers to enter and evaluate a rescuer's ability to respond in a timely manner and function appropriately while rescuing entrants from confined spaces. Serious violations include failing to have a complete respiratory protection program and to medically evaluate and fit test employees before allowing them to use respirators. Repeat violations include failing to take all necessary steps to guarantee safe entry into a confined space, provide fixed points or mechanical devices for retrieving workers from a permit-required space and verify and check appropriate entry conditions on a permit before letting workers enter a confined space.