Working in the construction industry presents challenges every day. Not only do you need to worry about getting the job done, meeting deadlines, and staying within budget, you must ensure that you meet all safety guidelines. You want your crew to be safe when they are on every project. At the end of the day, everyone should go home in basically the same condition they started. As you prepare your workers for any tasks, confined space entry training for construction is another important priority to add to your list. Make sure your crew has a clear understanding about what now constitutes a confined space.
Understanding a Confined Space. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined safety guidelines related to confined spaces in construction work because of the unique dangers they present to those working on the project. They define a confined space as a location that has limited access to entering or exiting the space. It does contain enough room for a construction crew member to enter the space but is not designed for continuous occupancy. Examples of confined spaces include some attics, boiler rooms, sewers, crawl spaces, and more. Not all attics are defined as a confined space. Large attics that have more than one point of access and enough room to be used as additional living space are not classified as a confined space.
What are the Risks Associated with a Confined Space? Confined spaces can be dangerous due to potential hazards in such a small space. Those hazards may be the presence of water, electrical wires, toxic fumes, lack of clean breathing air, lack of room to move freely, or the presence of animals. Regardless of what risks are present in a confined space, construction workers need to be aware if they are entering into any area that presents such challenges.
How Can Training About Confined Spaces Help Construction Workers? When your construction crew has the proper training concerning any type of confined space, they will be aware of any physical hazards that may be present on the job. They will also be prepared for the presence of atmospheric hazards that could put them in danger.
The main goal is to:
- Identify all potential hazards before beginning a job
- Eliminating any hazards if possible
- Isolating hazards when elimination is not an option
- Taking the proper measures to be safe while on the job
What Can You Do to Prepare Your Crew? The best way that you can serve your workers is by making sure that all are educated concerning the steps to comply with the regulations involved with confined spaces. It is important to know what permits are needed, what type of locations present the most hazards, and what is considered a confined space.
You can be the leader on every job as you personally assess the location and determine if it is a risk. If you determine that a confined space requires a permit, it means that the atmosphere, the threat of engulfment, or other hazards in that environment could make it difficult for your worker to exit that space without the support of other crew members. Only your crew members who have had training that is specific for confined spaces should be allowed to work in a confined space.
You must determine if you are going to train a select crew when it comes to the challenges posed by confined spaces or if you want all your workers to have the proper training. A well-educated crew will be a safe crew that is well-equipped to handle the risks that come with any type of project. Do your part by knowing the regulations.