Confined space according to OSHA

What is a confined space

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) has published a detailed description of what constitutes a confined space.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA, USA, August 29, 2022 / — Many rescuers often have to enter confined and enclosed spaces to rescue animals and people. This is considered a regular occurrence in their profession, but there seems to be very little clarity on what exactly a confined space is.

Accidents at work are quite common when the rescue team has limited knowledge of the area they are about to enter. Knowing what constitutes a confined space can help rescuers significantly, as it helps them be better prepared. For this reason, it is also a big part of their training.

Once there is clarity on confined spaces, rescuers can then be trained in the necessary procedures relating to those areas. For example, knowing how to unlock or tag, what safety equipment is needed, and what the air quality might be.

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) has published a detailed description of what constitutes a confined space. This article will take a detailed look at what it is and common misconceptions about these spaces.

What is a Confined Space?

Not every small room or tunnel qualifies as a confined space. In general, it is an area that has very limited entry and exit points that cannot be inhabited by humans. These spaces also carry considerable amounts of safety risks and hazards, for example, submersion and drowning of an individual in liquids, asphyxiation, dust or noxious gases and the risk of entrapment or electrocution.

These spaces can include tunnels, the interior of a boiler, storage tanks, an underground electrical vault, etc. Some of the risks these spaces carry are fire, area collapse, lack of oxygen, drowning, and entrapment.

OSHA Confined Space Definition

The exact definition of a confined space tends to vary between industries. Some ships are often referred to as confined spaces, while normal spaces in restaurants and hotels can also be called the same.

Therefore, due to the variety of spaces, no area or room can be considered confined. Instead, OSHA has come up with a set of definitions for confined spaces. One is a general definition, while the other is a Confined space requiring a permit (PRCS) definition. To understand what a PRCS is, we must first discuss the general definition.

General confined space

OSHA has a set of requirements that the area must meet to qualify as a general confined space. These include:

The space must be large enough for a worker to physically enter and perform all of their tasks
The space should also have a limited area for entry and exit
This space must be designed for continuous employee occupancy

For a space to be considered a general confined space, it must meet each of these requirements. Suppose an area is large enough for a worker to perform their tasks and has a limited entry and exit area, but is not designed for continuous occupancy. It will not be considered a general confined space.

Confined space PRCS

If you have determined whether or not you have a confined space, it is time to decide whether or not it is a confined space requiring a permit. This means that the area should also be observed to see if a permit is required for the rescue team.

OSHA defines a PRCS confined space having at least one of the following:

– It contains a potentially hazardous atmosphere – for example, poor air quality

– To any material that can engulf and suffocate anyone who enters the area

– It is designed so that a person entering the space may be trapped or asphyxiated by converging or collapsing walls and downward slopes. For example, a large tank with a sloping floor

– Contains a substantially dangerous health or safety hazard

Unlike the case of the general confined space definition, the PRCS version exists when at least one of these requirements is satisfied. If a confined space meets the PRCS definition, the rescue team will need to apply for a permit to access the area.

If you are still unsure whether a certain area meets PRCS requirements, OSHA provides a helpful flowchart.

So what about confined spaces on construction sites?

The regulations and requirements for General Confined Spaces and PRCS Confined Spaces have been designed specifically for general industries. They are not intended for areas on construction sites. This brings up the question of what is confined space on construction sites. Well, the definitions and precautions for determining these spaces are based on the original 1910 regulations.

This regulation includes providing sufficient education and training to construction site workers to determine confined spaces and precautions. Every employer has the responsibility to train these workers with all the necessary information they need regarding confined spaces.

Last words

Even with a deep understanding of confined spaces. Use the services of a trained person technical rescue service can help you answer additional questions, ensure compliance and keep your employees safe. This guide will also help those interested in becoming part of a technical rescue team.

Spear B
DCS Rescue
+1 562-595-3002
[email protected]
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