Confined Space Entry Hazards Cause Worker Deaths

Employee lives are claimed by confined spaces every year. Last September in Tarrytown New York a sewer worker and an assistant fire chief died as a result of entering a manhole where dangerously low oxygen levels were present. It doesn’t take long to become a fatality. As a rule, confined space deaths and work related fatalities, must be reported to OSHA and in most cases other regulatory agencies.

Confined spaces are not limited to sewer manholes. They also include, manholes, treatment plant equipment, wet wells, dry wells, tanks, vessels, transformers, pipelines, silos, mixing vats, to name a few.

As per OSHA 29CFR 1910.146 (Permit-Required Confined Spaces), employers must have a written Permit-Required Confined Space Program. The program is the employer’s overall plan for controlling, and protecting their employees from expected and predictable hazards that may be encountered while entering and performing work. It’s not enough to have a written plan. It must be site specific and it must be implemented.

What is a confined space and a Permit-Required Confined Space? According to OSHA, a confined space is a space: (1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit; and (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.  

A Permit-Required Confined Space means a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: (1) Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; 
(2) Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant; (3) Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section; or (4) Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard. 

United Alliance Services Corporation provides professional solutions for workplace safety. Our safety professionals provide our clients with written programs based on field reports and site specific needs. We also provide and deliver custom training presentations to help employees understand their responsibilities as Authorized Entrants, Attendants, and Entry Supervisors.

 For more information on how to comply with Permit-Required Confined Space requirements, contact us at 877.399.1698 or visit our website