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Safety Shooter OSHA’s Confined Space Standard 29CFR1910.146 This OSHA document, published in 1999, establishes requirements for confined and permitrequired spaces in general industry. It specifically discusses general and program requirements for permit-required confined spaces, as well as training requirements and the duties of entrants, attendants, and the entry supervisor. Underground construction activities must also comply with the requirements of tunnel and shaft construction. Many tunnels are classified as “confined spaces” and others are “permit-required confined spaces.” Before entry into a tunnel, employees must be informed of the requirements of the confined space program, and address the specific hazards associated with distance, communication, physical demands, and emergency rescue. The determination of whether a space is a permit-required confined space is contingent upon two factors. The first factor is solely based on physical characteristics of the space itself. A confined space must be large enough and so configured that an employee can physically enter and perform assigned work, have limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and not be designed for continuous employee occupancy. If the space is so configured, then the second factor is whether the space contains or the activities introduce any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm. A space would be classified as a “permit-required confined space” if it either contained or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere—a material which has the potential to engulf an entrant, an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated, or contain any other recognized serious safety or health hazard. OSHA Issues Final Rule for Confined Spaces—Change OSHA issued the final rule, designated 29CFR1926, to specifically increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces. The final rule was released on May 1, 2015, and took effect on August 3, 2015. The change does a good job of assigning roles and responsibilities on jobsites with a general contractor and multiple subcontractors. Compliance assistance material and additional information is available on OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction web page: www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/index. html. Employers must be in compliance with the training requirements of either the new or previous standard. Employers who fail to train their employees with either of these two standards consistently will be cited. Failure to recognize the triggering conditions or implement required safeguards can result in stiff civil or even criminal penalties, including fines up to $70,000 for each violation. Factors that indicate employers are making good-faith efforts to comply include: • Training for employees as required by the new standard; • Ordering the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard; and • Taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards. OSHA estimates the new confined spaces rule could protect nearly 800 construction workers a year from serious injuries and reduce lifethreatening hazards. A few key notes from the new standard follow. There are five key differences from the original rule and several areas where OSHA has clarified existing requirements. The five new requirements include: 1. More detailed provisions requiring coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. This will ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space. An example would be a generator running near the entrance of a confined space, causing a buildup of carbon monoxide within the space; 2. Requiring a competent person to evaluate the worksite and identify confined spaces, including permit-required spaces; 3. Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible; 4. Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards. For example, when workers are performing work in a storm sewer, a storm upstream from the workers could cause flash flooding. An electronic sensor or observer posted upstream from the worksite could alert workers in the space at the first sign of the hazard, giving the workers time to evacuate the space safely; and 5. Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions list on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry. Shotcrete • Summer 2016 61


2016SummerShotcreteEMag
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