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5 Confined Spaces Employer Responsibilities

September 20, 2018

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A peanut factory in Georgia faces nearly $310,000 dollars in OSHA penalties. The company, which OSHA placed in their Severe Violator Enforcement Program, failed in their confined spaces employer responsibilities.

OSHA defines confined spaces as areas large enough for an employee to enter, has limited means of entry/exit, and isn't intended for prolonged occupation. Confined spaces include locations such as storage tanks, silos, hoppers, vaults, pits, and other restrictive areas.

OSHA regulations require employers to follow strict confined spaces standards to help keep employees safe. Sadly, failure to do so has led to many employee injuries and deaths.

Below are some employer tips from our confined spaces training. Follow them to keep employees safe and avoid OSHA violations or worse: an employee fatality.

5 Confined Spaces Employer ResponsibilitiesConfined Spaces Employer Responsibilities are serious and not to be taken lightly.

Develop a program. Develop, implement, and oversee a written permit-required confined space program that complies with appropriate standards. Enforce the program among employees, including preventing unauthorized confined space entry. Also, review the program if any unauthorized entries, injuries or near-misses, new hazards are discovered, changes in the use of the space, or employee complaints occur.

Post warning signs. Place large, noticeable, and legible warning signs close to the entry points of confined spaces. The signs must inform employees about space conditions and entry requirements such as PPE and procedures. Additionally, replace any damaged, illegible, or missing signs immediately.

Protect the entrance. After posting signs, establish barricades in order to help prevent unauthorized or accidental confined space access. Position the barriers so it guards the entryway, even if someone removes the entrance cover.

Enforce permit requirements. Require employees to post authorized permits signed by a supervisor at all entrances before entering a permit space. Permits must detail the employee's name, what work they'll perform, where they'll work, and entry/expected exit time at a minimum. Certain tasks such as hot work may require additional permits, therefore make sure all necessary permits are available.

Train all employees. If employees understand their assigned responsibilities, then they can better foster a safer work environment. Train members of a permit-required confined space team to understand how to safely execute their specific duties. Additionally, train other employees who may have an active confined spaces entry role.

If you need to provide training for employees, Safety Provisions and Hard Hat Training offers a confined space training.

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