Confined spaces are a lurking danger in any industry, but they are especially dangerous in the construction industry. OSHA defines confined spaces as any space that has “limited or restricted means for entry or exit,” potentially poor ventilation, and is not designed for “continuous occupancy.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), 1,030 workers died from injuries involving on-the-job confined spaces from 2011 to 2018. Confined space injuries and deaths are preventable, and the best way to mitigate the dangers of confined spaces is training. Explore why confined spaces are so dangerous and why Tucker Paving makes sure our employees are trained in confined space safety.
The Dangers of Confined Spaces
Confined spaces include pipelines, manholes, tanks, vessels, tunnels, equipment housings, storage bins, vaults, pits, ductwork, silos, hoppers, and more. Workers may have to enter these spaces to do repairs or maintenance, clean, check gauges or other materials, or to perform other job-related tasks. These spaces present a potential hazard as workers could become stuck, the atmosphere within the space could be poor, the space may become filled with a liquid, and many more dangers.
Furthermore, there are extreme confined spaces labeled as “permit-required confined spaces” by OSHA. These confined spaces have additional or potential dangers such as a hazardous atmosphere, materials that could engulf an entrant, walls and floor designs that could trap an entrant, machinery that could pose a danger, high heat, live wires, and more. These permit-required confined spaces pose a very real danger of asphyxiation, poisoning, heat stress, electrocution, physical injury, and death.
Permit-required confined spaces require a special permit to enter, and part of that permit requires specialized training. Additional needs might include fall protection, rescue air-monitoring, ventilation, lighting and communication equipment, rescue plans, and additional personnel like a trained attendant and entry supervisor.
Why We Make Training Mandatory
Training is the leading way to prevent injuries and deaths in confined spaces. Confined space training is one of the mandatory trainings our employees must complete. It’s important for the following reasons:
- Confined space training gives workers the knowledge to identify and avoid potential hazards. It teaches them how to assess a confined space for danger, identify hazardous conditions, and to recognize what equipment is needed to safely enter a confined space.
- The training instructs workers on the proper way to prepare to enter a confined space. Such spaces may need to be ventilated, or they may require special personal protective equipment (PPE). This also includes teaching workers how to identify if a confined space is unsafe to enter.
- It teaches workers how to respond to emergency situations. This includes evacuating confined spaces, rescuing colleagues from confined spaces, and how to administer first aid. Often, employees may want to enter confined spaces to rescue coworkers in distress, but without the proper equipment or training, the rescuers will likely need rescuing themselves.
- It allows for compliance with OSHA regulations and standards. Our company stays in compliance with OSHA requirements, and aims to go above and beyond the requirements, for employees safety training.
- It helps create a culture of health and safety. Safety is our leading concern on every jobsite, and promoting safety in confined spaces helps promotes safety in all areas of the jobsite.
Safety is always our leading concern on any Tucker Paving jobsite. We have been in the asphalt and concrete paving industry for over 25 years! Contact us online, or call us at (863) 299-2262, for your next asphalt or concrete paving job!