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“Confined Spaces – Supervisor Safety Tip Series” #ConfinedSpace #Safety

Developed by Vivid’s Chief Safety Officer Jill James, a former OSHA inspector, this series examines real hazards in real work environments. This safety tip video explains ways to stay safe while working with Confined Spaces.

Confined spaces are enclosed or partially enclosed spaces of a size such that a worker can squeeze entry for performing assigned work through a narrow opening—they’re tough to get in and out of, tight spaces. These spaces are normally only entered to perform specific tasks and then barricaded to prevent unauthorized access.

As an example, think of a large tank used for holding liquid. Sometimes, these storage units or big containers need to be cleaned out, so you send a worker to get inside and they’re completely surrounded by walls of the structure, with only a small entry/exit hatch for escape if things go awry. Confined spaces create the ideal conditions for the onset of claustrophobia. Confined spaces can be large or small and above or below ground.

This video covers:

Source: Vivid Learning Systems

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“Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety”

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Every October the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations, and hospitalizations would drastically decline.

Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It’s no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features a lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously.

We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprits here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.

Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long-term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and a high number of violations for powered industrial truck safety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment. Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known. Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive.

OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces.

We have many additional resources, including a wealth of information on our website and our free and confidential On-site Consultation Program. But tackling the most common hazards is a good place to start saving workers’ lives and limbs.

Source: OSHA -Thomas Galassi is the director of enforcement programs for OSHA.

“Confined Spaces – “What To Do Before You Enter” #ConfinedSpace #StayAlive

80% of fatalities happened in locations that had been previously entered by the same person who later died.

Each year, an average of 92 fatalities occurs from confined spaces locations due to asphyxiation, acute or chronic poisoning, or impairment.

But, what is a “confined space?”

A confined space is a space that:

  1. Is large enough and so arranged that an employee can bodily enter it;
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit;
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

Examples of confined spaces include:

  • Sewers
  • Storm drains
  • Water mains
  • Pits
  • And many more

Permit-required confined spaces include:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material with the potential to engulf someone who enters the space
  • Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your workers.

1. Is This a Confined Space?

2. Is the Atmosphere Safe?

Testing must be done in several levels of the space because specific hazardous gases react differently to the rest of the atmosphere. Why? Hydrogen Sulfide is slightly heavier than air, while other dangerous gases such as methane may be lighter than air and rise to the top. Only by testing all levels of the tank you are about to enter can you be reasonably sure the atmosphere is acceptable for breathing.

3. How Do I Exit Safely?

Before you start thinking about entering, first make sure you can get back out. Meaning you have a rescue plan and are working with someone else who can provide for rescue.

If you don’t have a rescue plan, don’t enter.

4. How Do I Enter Safely?

Does the job or project require special equipment to get in and out of the space, such as a body harness?

5. Will The Atmosphere Stay Safe?

Once you’ve established that the atmosphere is safe to enter, you next have to know that it will stay that way. Which leads us to our next point.

6. Does the Space Need Ventilating?

If the air is found to be unsafe within the confined space because of existing fumes or gas, or if the work being done will contribute to a degradation of the breathable atmosphere, the space needs to be ventilated and you need to be using an air monitoring device.

7. Equipment Check

It’s important to check your equipment before beginning any sort of confined space entry work. Has your gas detector been bump-tested or recently calibrated? Have all lanyards and lifelines been checked for wear? Have harnesses been properly stored?

8. Lighting

Confined spaces are often cramped, dark and awkwardly shaped. A well-lit worksite helps workers avoid injury.

9. Communication

Radios are a great way to stay connected with workers, but also keep in mind that, nothing can replace having a standby worker positioned at the exit when workers are in a confined space. This tried and true system allows the outside person not only to communicate with workers within the space but also to call for help if it is needed.

10. Are you and your crew up to the task?

Can each team member be relied upon in a life-threatening situation?

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, check the OSHA Standards for that.

Stop to consider the dangers before you enter, and be mindful that confined spaces can become dangerous after you have entered.

Source: Vivid Learning Systems – Safety Toolbox

“Preventing Work Related Hearing Loss”

Worker training video providing Safety Managers & EHS professionals a valuable tool about Hearing Conservation. Concepts include dB levels, noise affects on your inner ear, health effects of hearing damage, noise measurement, audiometric testing and hearing protection.

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“Case Studies on Safer Alternatives for Solvent Degreasing Applications”

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The transition to sustainable manufacturing is best accomplished by using pollution prevention (P2) approaches. This paper summarizes a number of case studies that highlight the P2 approach of switching to aqueous and less toxic metal cleaners to reduce health risks and manufacturing costs. EPA compiled these case studies as a supplement to “Pollution Prevention (P2) Spotlight: Reducing Trichloroethylene (TCE) Waste in the Fabricated Metals Sector.”

What are cleaning solvents and how are they used?

Cleaning solvents are used to remove oil, grease, solder flux, and other contaminants. Facilities that produce metal products often use solvents and other chemicals as degreasers to clean metal parts in preparation for further finishing operations, like painting or welding.

Trends in the reduced use of TCE reported by the fabricated metals sector to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database:

Trichloroethylene (TCE): used as a solvent for metal degreasing, as well as a refrigerant and in dry cleaning fluid. TCE is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that poses a human health hazard to the central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, reproductive system, and to the developing fetus. TCE is also characterized by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure (i.e., by inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure). Learn more about TCE.

Methyl chloroform (TCA): used as a solvent and in some consumer products. Exposure to TCA can result in mild motor impairment (e.g., increased reaction time), lightheadedness, impaired balance, and lack of muscle control in acutely exposed humans. Cardiac arrhythmia and respiratory arrest may result from the depression of the central nervous system.

Dichloromethane (DCM, methylene chloride): used as a solvent in paint strippers, a process solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and film coatings, a propellant in aerosols, and a solvent for metal cleaning and finishing in electronics manufacturing. Effects of short-term (acute) exposures to workers and consumers, including bystanders, can result in harm to the central nervous system, or neurotoxicity. Effects of longer periods of exposure (chronic) for workers includes liver toxicity, liver cancer, and lung cancer. Learn more about DCM.

Case Studies:

1. Schick (formerly American Safety Razor) in Verona, Virginia, manufactures a variety of blades and tools from steel stock. TCE was used as a cleaning solvent in both liquid and vapor cleaning/degreasing operations at a newly acquired facility. Schick’s prior experience with TCE as a potential environmental contaminant, combined with increasing costs associated with its distillation and waste disposal and higher regulatory risk, made TCE elimination a priority.

Schick installed aqueous “wash boxes” on production lines to replace TCE-based cleaning processes, and also used an alcohol-based vapor degreaser as an effective substitute. TCE use has been completely eliminated at this plant. In addition to risk reduction, these P2 measures have resulted in an estimated cost reduction of $250,000 a year from reduced energy, material and hazardous waste disposal costs.

Learn more: www.epa.gov/p2/pollution-prevention-accomplishments-schick-manufacturing-verona-virginia

2. Lightolier in Fall River, Massachusetts, fabricates aluminum reflectors for lighting product lines. The facility was using large amounts of TCE and acids annually. Only 10 percent of the used TCE was captured for recycling. In addition, the company became aware of hidden costs such as liability, worker safety, and opportunities for increased productivity.

Furthermore, Lightolier’s degreasing systems were old and required increasing maintenance. The company replaced the TCE degreasers with an aqueous degreaser and a powder coat degreaser. In addition, switching from pure petroleum lubricants to water-soluble coolants would eliminate the generation of oily parts in the first place.

Since removing the degreasers and making other improvements such as installing still-rinse tanks, implementing countercurrent rinsing, and increasing the drip time to reduce acid discharges, the company has eliminated approximately 1.25 million lbs of TCE and saved an estimated $170,000. Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions have dropped 90 percent from 125,000 to 12,000 lbs per year, also significantly reducing air compliance costs.

Learn more: www.turi.org/TURI_Publications/Case_Studies/Process_Efficiency/

3. V.H. Blackinton & Co., Inc in North Attleboro, MA, is a large manufacturing operation — blanking, stamping, punching and machining raw stock prior to cleaning, enameling, brazing, polishing, plating and refinishing — of metal plated items. The facility had used ozone-depleting Freon, as well as TCE and other VOCs and ammonia but was able to eliminate them.

Blackinton eliminated the use of Freon by replacing the existing finished work dryer with one that uses a deionized water rinse and hot air. The TCE cleaning operations were replaced with an aqueous cleaning system. Approximately 45 gallons of water-based cleaner is used annually, achieved by carefully monitoring the bath chemistry and ultra-filtering the cleaner weekly for reuse. In addition, a small in-tank filter, an oil skimmer, and conversion to compatible water-based pressing and stamping oils, made the new aqueous cleaning system more efficient.

More recently, new brazing furnaces with belts twice as wide as those in the old furnaces were installed, doubling the process capacity. The new furnaces use a 25 percent hydrogen and 75 percent nitrogen mix, eliminating over 20,000 lbs a year of disassociated anhydrous ammonia used in the old furnaces. The cost of the new system and quality of the finished product is the same or better. A close looped cooling water system that reuses water for the furnaces conserves 5000 gallons per day and additional water conservation activities eliminate the use of more than 25,000 gallons per day.

Learn more: www.turi.org/Our_Work/Business/Industry_Sectors/Metal_Finishing/May-20-2004-Metal-Finishing-Forum/Handouts/Case-Studies/Case-Study-V.-H.-Blackington-Company Exit

4. Danfoss Chatleff LLC in Buda, Texas, manufactures refrigeration and air conditioning components, and had been using a TCE-based degreaser to remove machine oil from metal parts. The facility replaced TCE with an aqueous degreaser/parts washer and evaporator eliminating 9,900 lbs of hazardous waste per year and saving the facility $36,000/year. (Danfoss estimates saving approximately $10,000 per year in disposal costs and $1,000 in training and reporting costs.) The new cleaning process requires less operator time, estimated to be worth $25,000/year. By eliminating the use of TCE, Danfoss also significantly reduced future environmental risk/liability associated with the shipping, storage, and use of a hazardous chemical.

Learn more: www.zerowastenetwork.org/success/story.cfm?StoryID=1155&RegionalCenter Exit

5. Perkins Products Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, was using mineral spirits for parts cleaning to remove straight cutting oil from metal work pieces in the milling department. The company replaced these solvents with aqueous detergents. The detergent was found to be safer for employees, better for the environment, less expensive and compatible with current production process. A total of 1,600 gallons of solvent were eliminated, 10,400 lbs of VOCs were avoided, and $500 saved per year, with only a one-year return on investment period.

Learn more: www.istc.illinois.edu/info/library_docs/TN/TN15-116.pdf Exit (2 pp, 668.6 K, About PDF)

6. Marathon in Ashland, Minnesota, had been using a terpene-based cleaner and petroleum distillate for external cleaning of large equipment. The terpene solvent was suspected to be impairing the biological processes of the refinery’s wastewater treatment plant. During testing, two aqueous cleaners were applied as a foam that adhered to vertical surfaces for several minutes — enough time for the cleaner to work — then rinsed off with hot water. The refinery staff using one of the foaming agents described the result as “requiring less chemical, less time and less water, while providing better results” compared to the terpene-based cleaner.

Learn more: www.mntap.umn.edu/mach/resources/marathon.htm Exit

7. Lockheed Martin Defense Systems in Pittsfield, Minnesota, used 125 tons each year of 1,1,1- trichloroethane (trichlor, 1,1,1-TCA, methyl chloroform) and chloroflourocarbon-113 (CFC-113, Freon) in 39 vapor degreasers to clean precision products, emitting 70 tons of these chemicals each year into the air.

The company evaluated alternative cleaners for economic and technical feasibility and potential worker health and safety impact. Ultimately, seven aqueous systems and two semi-aqueous systems replaced 36 of the 39 degreasers and reduced facility solvent use to less than 2 tons per year, and air emissions to less than 1 ton per year. Cost savings included: $497,000 in solvent procurement; $17,500 in waste disposal and $65,000 in permitting and record keeping. The company incorporated a “closed loop” aqueous cleaning system in the transmission assembly and repair process. The system included a variety of substrates (steel, stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, and bronze) and contaminants (plastic and oil, grease, wax and metal, plastic or rubber shavings) requiring removal. This process reduced consumption of 2,000,000 gallons of water per year and saved $3,450 in water and sewer costs.

Learn more: www3.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/trichlor.html

8. Dayton Rogers metal stamping facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was using TCA as a vapor degreaser to remove forming lubricant oil from parts prior to dry-sander deburring. The solvent was eliminated by upgrading its deburring operation to deburr and clean parts simultaneously. The company modified the vibratory tumbling machines to increase throughput, added a wet sander and switched to a water-based lubricant so that removing the forming lubricants would be easier in the water-based deburring system. This resulted in saving $26,575 per year and a payback period for the equipment of approximately three months. This approach would be suitable in stamping and machining operation where deburring is done, but precision cleaning is not necessary.

Learn more: mntap.umn.edu/mach/resources/87-Deburring.htm Exit

9. Rosemount Aerospace Inc. in Burnsville, Minnesota, used TCA during sensor cleaning at a large manufacturer of aircraft data instrumentation. After sensor assembly, the TCA comes in contact with silicone oil during testing to remove the oil before a soldering process. Aqueous cleaners tested on the sensors removed light oils and fingerprints at least as well as the existing vapor degreasing system and eliminated worker exposure to TCA.

Learn more: www.mntap.umn.edu/mach/resources/Rose-it6.htm Exit

10. APS Materials Inc., a small metal finishing company in Dayton, Ohio, used TCA and methanol in its degreasing operation to clean orthopedic implants such as those used for metal knee and hip replacements. A dilute limonene solution was tested as replacement cleaner. This dilute terpene-based cleaner adequately cleaned metal parts without adversely affecting the performance of the plasma-arc coating application. The replacement cleaner resulted in a cost savings of $4,800 per year and a payback period of 4.5 months. Elimination of the disposal problems associated with methanol and TCA, coupled with the maintenance of plasma-arc coating quality, makes the use of terpene-based cleaners attractive to other plasma spray coating processes as well as other metal cleaning/coating operations.

Learn more: citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.405.5454&rep=rep1&type=pdf

11. Roberts Automatic Products, a third generation family-owned precision production machining company in Chanhassen, Minnesota specializes in precise and complex computer numeric control (CNC) machining and screw machine parts. Roberts used DCM as a degreasing solvent to clean its parts and reported to TRI as much as 40,000 pounds a year of DCM wastes that were released or treated by the plant.

Roberts purchased the Serec closed-loop vacuum degreasing unit in 2011 and put it into service in 2012. Roberts reduced its DCM waste to 13,636 pounds from more than 44,000 pounds the previous year. The facility is no longer required to file TRI reports for DCM and has eliminated DCM as a source of toxic waste and a hazardous air pollutant.

Learn more: www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/reducing-dichloromethane-waste

 

“N95 Day: A NIOSH-Approved Holiday”

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Today is the 5th annual N95 Day, which focuses on respiratory protection awareness and proper use of N95 respirators. Here are some ways you can participate:

  • Social media. Look for N95-related information on Twitter (@NIOSH, @NPPTL, #N95Day) Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as well as the annual N95 Day NIOSH Science Blog. Share NIOSH’s infographics, and be sure to follow ASSE (@ASSE_Safety) and other campaign partners to find free training, resources, and safety tips.
  • Hospital respiratory protection program resources. NIOSH has launched a web page of resources dedicated to hospital respiratory protection programs.
  • Webinars. NIOSH is presenting two webinars this year: 1) The Science Behind Respirator Fit Testing in the Workplace: Past, Present and Future; and 2)  Why Do We Have to Fit Test? And Why Every Year? Although registration is now closed, the agency will post the webinar videos and slides after the event. Check the campaign page for updates.
  • ASSE materials. Check out ASSE’s Tech Brief on ANSI/ASSE Z88.2-2015, Practices for Respiratory Protection and visit our respiratory protection standards page.

Source: ASSE, NIOSH, CDC

“TSCA Reform: A Simple 5-point Summary of What You Need to Know “

After 40 years, the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been reformed in an effort to more effectively manage chemicals in this country and give EPA more authority to evaluate and mitigate the associated risks. This infographic summarizes the important points of TSCA reform.

TF-TSCA-reform-info

“New Traveler’s Insurance Report – 170 Billion In Cost & 3.7 Million Workers Injured Per Year”

worker-with-head-injuryOf all public sector and private US businesses, roughly 3.7 million workers are injured per year. Businesses spend $170 billion per year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses (according to OSHA) – and these findings provide critical insight on how the numbers add up.

The nature of employee injuries in the modern workplace is changing in a variety of ways. Improved workplace safety management efforts over the past 25 years have led to a decrease in the frequency of workers compensation claims. During this time, Travelers has seen an increase in the severity of those claims.1 Preventing even a single injury, or managing the injured worker’s return to work as soon as medically appropriate, can have a significant impact on the health of your workforce and on your company’s bottom line.

The Travelers Injury Impact Report, an analysis of workplace injuries based on Travelers Claim data collected between 2010-2015, identifies the most frequent injuries, those with the greatest severity and the top causes of workplace accidents, both by industry and by business size. This information can be helpful for employers to understand how to manage their exposures and tailor training programs for their workforce in their particular market and industry.

According to the Travelers Claim data, strains and sprains topped all lists for most frequent types of injuries, except for small businesses, which experienced cuts and punctures most frequently, followed by strains and sprains. Contusions, fractures and inflammation rounded out the list of the top five most frequent injuries.

Chart of Top 5 Most Frequent Injuries, by claim count

The report also explores the top five most frequent accident causes, with material handling topping the lists of most frequent causes of injury, followed by slips, trips and falls, struck by/striking against injuries, tool handling and cumulative trauma, according to claim count across all industries and all claims. “The injury type only tells part of the story,” explains Woody Dwyer, a Travelers Risk Control safety professional. “Identifying that root cause helps us determine the best strategies to help prevent future accidents and reduce their severity.”

As part of Travelers Workforce Advantage, Travelers Risk Control professionals can help businesses develop their strategies to attract, hire, onboard, train, support and engage their existing workforce. At its core, it focuses on the importance of elevating the company’s safety message, beginning with the recruiting process and continuing throughout the employee’s career at the company. The safety best practices, from safe lifting to getting adequate nightly sleep, can also offer health benefits beyond the workday for employees.

“A significant part of developing an effective risk management process involves understanding your unique workforce,” Dwyer said. This includes a shift in the state of health of the U.S. workforce, with more than half of workers experiencing at least one chronic health condition, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. This can add cost and complexity to treating workplace injuries, which has led to rising medical costs for workers compensation claims.

If an employee does get injured, conducting an accident analysis can help discover the root cause of an accident, develop corrective action that can help prevent a similar accident in the future and continuously improve safety management practices.

Managing the employee’s injury so he or she returns to work as soon as medically appropriate can also help manage costs and improve employee morale. A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is one tool that can measure an employee’s current functional status and ability to meet the physical demands of a job, especially after a workplace injury.

In 2015, medical cost inflation topped the list of risk concerns for businesses, according to the Travelers Business Risk Index. Promoting the overall health and safety of your employees can help control costs while retaining an engaged workforce. Learn about how you can create a culture of safety and develop an injury management strategy at your business.

Injuries can happen at any time, anywhere, regardless of industry or business size. Knowing what those injuries are and their root causes can help companies develop workplace safety practices. To learn more about the most frequent workplace injuries, those with the greatest severity and the top causes of accidents by business size, industry and region, view The Travelers Injury Impact Report.

Source:
1 The 2014 National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

“Reminder: Are You In Compliance With OSHA’s New Construction Confined Space Standard?”

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Most employers in the construction industry already know that OSHA issued a new confined space standard for construction that became effective on August 3, 2015. Companies with employees who enter confined spaces at construction sites must be sure to understand the new regulation and adjust their processes in order to remain in compliance. Although the new standard has been in effect for six months, this blog provides a reminder on some of the key provisions of which employers should be aware.

As background, OSHA used to just have a confined space standard for general industry employers (29 CFR 1910.146). However in recognition that construction sites often host multiple employers and are continually changing, with the number and nature of confined spaces changing as work progresses, OSHA promulgated a new standard, available at 29 CFR Subpart AA 1926.1200, tailored to the unique characteristics of construction sites.

While the general industry standard and the construction standard have many similarities, some key differences are:

The construction standard requires coordination when there are multiple employers at the worksite. Specifically, the construction standard imposes duties on three types of employers because of the recognition that different workers may perform different activities in the same space, which can result in hidden dangers:
Entry employers. This is defined as an employer who decides that an employee it directs will enter a permit space. Entry employers have a duty to inform controlling contractors (defined below) of any hazards encountered in a permit space. Entry employers also have to develop safe entry procedures.

Host employers. This is defined as the employer who owns or manages the property where the construction work is taking place. If the host employer has information about permit space hazards, it must share that information with the controlling contractor (defined below) and then the controlling contractor is responsible for sharing that information with the entry employers.

Controlling contractor. This is defined as the employer with overall responsibility for construction at the worksite. The controlling contractor is responsible for coordinating entry operations when there is more than one entry employer. Controlling contractors must provide any information they have about any permit space hazards to all entry employers. The controlling contractor is also responsible for coordinating work in and around confined spaces so that no contractor working at the site will create a hazard inside the confined space. After the entry employer performs entry operations, the controlling contractor must debrief the entry employer to gather information that the controlling contractor then must share with the host employer and other contractors who enter the space later.

Continuous atmospheric monitoring is required under the construction standard “whenever possible.” In contrast, the general industry standard merely encourages continuous atmospheric monitoring where possible and only requires periodic monitoring as necessary.
The construction standard requires that a “competent person” evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces including permit-required confined spaces. Notably, the general industry standard does not require that a “competent person” complete this task. A “competent person” is defined under the new standard as someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards associated with working conditions, including, of course, whether a workspace is permit-required.

Employers who perform construction-related activities need to make sure they understand the requirements of the new confined space construction standard. For more information, download : Confined Space in Construction: OSHA 29 CFR Subpart AA 1926.1200 here: https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/1926_subpart_aa.pdf or consult with your Seyfarth attorney.

Source: Seyfarth, Shaw : Evironmental Safety Update / Law Blog

http://www.environmentalsafetyupdate.com/osha-compliance/are-you-in-compliance-with-oshas-new-confined-space-standard-for-the-construction-industry/

 

 

“New Research Supports OSHA Fit Testing Requirements, Says NIOSH”

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The percentage of improperly fitted respirators increases with the length of time between worker fit tests, giving support to the annual fit-testing requirements in OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, according to new research from NIOSH.

The standard requires fit testing every year and whenever an employee’s physical condition changes, such as facial scarring or an obvious change in body weight. Note that OSHA Fit Testing requires that a Doctor certify that every employee wearing a respirator, has the pulmonary function to do so and each employee MUST be certified by a Doctor prior to USING / WEARING a respirator.

For the study, NIOSH researchers focused on the commonly worn N95 filtering facepiece respirator. During a three-year period, researchers measured the fit of the respirators every six months on the volunteers, 134 of whom participated during the entire study.

Researchers found that after one year, an estimated 10 percent of workers’ respirators did not fit properly. Two and three years later, that figure rose to 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Additionally, nearly one-quarter of subjects who lost more than 20 pounds were unable to maintain an acceptable fit, according to the study.

See OSHA Requirements – Guidlines can be found at the link below:

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=12716

The study was published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 12-2016

 

 

 

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