Confined Space Training Requirements in 2018
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.
Employer ResponsibilitiesOnce 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 EntrantsWorkers 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
- 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.
Compliance RequirementsTo 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.