Confined Space Training Requirements in 2018

Apprentice builders training in confined space in training facility
Confined spaces are defined by OSHA as a space with “limited or restricted means for entry and exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy.” Examples include tanks, pipelines, tunnels, and manholes. Working in confined spaces without the proper training is not only illegal, but can result in serious injury or death. Employers can prevent harm to their workers and lawsuits by ensuring that all of their employees have the proper permits and certifications.

Working in confined spaces without the proper training is not only illegal, but can result in serious injury or death. Click To Tweet

With that said, there remain questions around what type of training is needed, and how often. The best way to determine the answers to these questions is to break the confined space training requirements down into 2 sections: regulatory mandated and employer based. This is necessary because employers must ensure that the training is performed in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

Employer Responsibilities

Once an employer determines that permit-required confined spaces exist on their site, they are obligated and required to provide employees with the necessary training. According to OSHA, “The employer shall provide training so that all employees whose work is regulated by this section acquire the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of the duties assigned under this section.” (29 CFR 1910.146(g)(1)). The good news is that for employers, confined space training requirements for such spaces are simple and easy to follow. Once, the confined spaces are located and identified, a comprehensive confined space training program can then be administered to the appropriate employees. It is important to note that while employers can restrict access to confined spaces, they are still responsible for informing all employees of the dangers involved. This is necessary in case workers wander into a confined space accidentally. This can be done with signs, memos, tape, or other means of correspondence.

Confined Space Training Requirements for Entrants

Workers who are chosen to work in confined spaces are called entrants. They should be trained to:
  • Recognize hazards
  • Alert attendants about presence of hazards and warning signs
  • Wear, store and use suitable personal protective equipment
  • Conduct self rescue methods in emergency situations
  • Communicate with attendants who are outside the confined space
  • Training requirements for attendants
Attendants who are assisting entrants and are situated outside the confined space also need to be trained to:
  • Determine hazards
  • Monitor work conditions
  • Coordinate resources with confined space workers
  • Maintain worker count in the confined space
  • Maintain in constant communication when workers enter and exit the space.
  • Allow only qualified and authorized entrants to enter a confined workspace.
Confined Space for Construction They should also be trained to maintain communication if they think there is a change in worker behavior, if there is a change in the confined space, if external conditions can harm entrants or if they have to leave the site they are monitoring. Attendants may also be trained to take part in rescue operations that do not require entry. In fact, all workers regardless of proximity to the confined space should be trained to conduct basic rescue operations in case a team member is in trouble. This can help you prevent a number of injuries and fatalities on the job.

Compliance Requirements

To ensure compliance, you should ensure the following:
  • Before work begins, assign a competent person on site to determine all confined spaces and permit required confined spaces.
  • Test the internal environment of the confined space.
  • Ensure that workers have access to personal protective equipment in case they need it.
  • Provide confined space entry training to all individuals that may, at any time, enter the confined space.
  • Ensure that emergency rescue and emergency services are available before workers are allowed to enter a confined space.

The Importance of Confined Space Training

Confined spaces may seem as if they are big enough for a worker to enter. However, these are dangerous to work in since they have limited entryways and exits, and can be life threatening if not taken seriously. According to Don Graham, Director of Safety at NCPA Safety, “Confined spaces are no joke as one cut corner or slip can result in a death of a person entering the space. It’s important the rule and training are taken seriously by all employees.” EHS Today reported that workplace injuries cost American employers roughly $62 billion each year, with falls, slips, and trips making up almost a third of those costs. Not only can getting training and abiding by all confined space training requirements save lives, but they can also save employers serious money in the process.

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