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2016SummerShotcreteEMag

Safety Shooter Confined Space— In the Shotcrete World By Mike Munyon and Frank E. Townsend III In life, learning from practical experiences often requires learning from our misunderstandings and mistakes. In many cases, this can be an effective way of developing greater levels of competence and understanding in the workplace. Unfortunately, when mistakes or misunderstandings are made in a confined space, the cost of this education is often measured in the number of lives lost due to tragedy. The deadly nature of confined spaces leaves little to no room for error, and even less opportunity to “learn as you go” or accept the “this is how we have always done it” thought process. Understanding the requirements, hazards, and common mistakes will go a long way toward establishing a confined space safety program based on industry best practices, as well as the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules. We must make every effort to ensure the safety of our employees through training and monitoring of our jobsites in the shotcrete industry. It is no different regardless of project or industry; the employer must provide training to each employee whose work is regulated by this standard. It should come at no cost to the employee, and ensure that the employee possesses the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of the duties assigned under this standard. What questions must we ask? Understanding if any employee is claustrophobic prior to training is important and if so, do not place the worker in this position. Understand your ventilation plan and backup plan. Are respirators required? What kind? What is the lighting plan? Are there backup lights? A communication plan is essential: hard line and backup radios? Do the radios work in that environment, and have they been tested in that environment previously? What are the ways in and out of that section of work and other adjacent ways? In case of an accident, what is the response plan? Has the fire department toured the job? Who is the attendant? Who is the supervisor in charge of the operation? Know who will be in the space. Everyone on the team should know all this information prior to entering the project site. Training is then reinforced by checking to ensure that it has sunk in and is being followed. Some important rules the training must include are: • The hazards in the permit space; • The methods used to isolate, control, or in other ways protect employees from these hazards; and • The dangers of attempting such rescues for employees not authorized to perform entry rescues. Working in confined spaces merits its own considerations and safety precautions 60 Shotcrete • Summer 2016


2016SummerShotcreteEMag
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