Six Must Have Components to Ensure Employee Safety
OSHA’s confined space regulation 1910.146 helps employers determine the need for and develop programs to ensure the safety of all employees who must enter and work in a confined space. In addition to the basic requirements specified in the OSHA regulation, ESC Services recommends that employers develop individual procedures for each confined space that employees must follow to safely enter those spaces identified by the employer. These procedures will ensure that employees are following the correct steps specified in your confined space program with details specific to each confined space. The following details should be included in each confined space procedure:
1. Location and Description of Confined Space
Each procedure should clearly specify the location of the confined space along with a brief description to help employees and contractors quickly find confined spaces.
2. Permits to be Filled
With the location and description of each confined space, each procedure should specify whether the space requires a permit to be filled prior to entry. All required permits should be listed on the procedure for reference to allow employees to effectively follow your specific confined space program.
3. Hazards Associated With the Confined Space
An effective confined space procedure should allow employees to be able to easily determine if the confined space requires a permit for entry or not and the additional hazards associated with entry into that confined space.
4. Method for Isolating Hazards
In addition to listing the associated hazards with each confined space, each procedure should also specify the means of isolating each hazard and should also reference any relevant lockout/tagout procedures that should be used to isolate the machinery and relevant adjacent equipment.
5. Acceptable Entry Conditions
While isolating the various hazards prevents hazardous materials from entering into a confined space during entry, testing and verifying that acceptable entry conditions exist help to ensure that the space is safe for an employee to enter. Each procedure should specify the exact conditions that must exist and the means for testing these conditions prior to entry.
6. Appropriate PPE and Equipment Needed
Some hazards cannot completely be removed from confined spaces and entry into those spaces requires specific PPE, monitoring, and safety equipment to allow employees to work safely inside the spaces and quickly respond to any unsafe conditions.
The use and implementation of confined space procedures written for each confined space allow for employers to ensure that all employees are following the correct protocol for isolating hazards, testing entry conditions, carrying the appropriate safety equipment and apparel. ESC Services has extensive experience helping businesses develop confined space procedures in all industries across the country. To learn more about how ESC can help your business develop effective and efficient confined space procedures, please contact us.