Outfitting Correctly To Work in Confined Spaces
While work sometimes necessitates employees working in and around confined spaces, allowing employees to work in an enclosed space without following a permit system can be a life or death decision. OSHA's standard on permit-required confined spaces ([section]1910.146) has been around since 1993, but employers still have questions on whether or not they need an entry permit system. A good place to start is to decide if the space is a permit space.
A confined space (1) Is large enough for an employee to bodily enter and work; (2) Has limited or restricted means of entry and exit; and (3) Is not designed for continuous occupancy. The space must have all three of these conditions to be a confined space per OSHA guidelines.
A permit-required confined space is 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 that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant by inwardly converging walls or a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a small cross section; and (4) Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
If a space meets the definition of a permit space, use an entry permit system. But in some situations a permit may not be necessary. Consider whether you can reclassify the permit space as a non-permit space or determine if alternate entry procedures are appropriate.
All Safety Products, Inc. provides confined space equipment* supplies and accessories such as ventilation systems, confined space blowers, axial blowers, axial blower systems, com-pax-ial blowers, compaxial blowers from quality manufacturers such as Allegro and Air Systems.
*To ensure you are meeting OSHA requirements and other applicable safety standards and practices, it is best to hire a professional safety consultant (www.aiha.org) or call your local OSHA area office or your state OSHA Consultation Services for their interpretation of your situation.