Why You Need Confined Space Equipment
Many workplaces contain areas that are considered "confined spaces" because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy.
Confined spaces include, but are not limited to: tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.
OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
2.1 million workers enter permit confined spaces annually. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 60% of confined space fatalities are rescuers, and when multiple deaths occur during a rescue, the majority of the victims are rescuers. This is where confined space entry and retrieval systems come into play. These systems are designed for rescue situations. When an unresponsive person is in a confined space and needs rescue, these systems will retrieve them without putting another worker in danger.
Here are some findings of the NIOSH investigations of confined space incidents:
- 85% of the time a SUPERVISOR was present;
- 29% of the dead were supervisors;
- 31% had written Confined Space Entry procedures;
- 0% used the written procedures;
- 15% had Confined Space training;
- 0% had a rescue plan;
- 60% of “would-be" rescuers died;
- 95% were authorized by supervision;
- 0% of the spaces were tested prior to entry;
- 0% were ventilated.
Out of 100 deaths that were investigated, the main reasons the workers entered the confined space were to perform their work functions of routine maintenance, repairs, and inspections of the confined space. Our recommendations for confined space entry and retrieval is anything made by Tuff Built.