I would like to continue the series of workplace tragedies in the hope that it sheds light on
the importance of safety training and safety practices in the workplace.
Last week, I used this space to touch on reasons for being thankful. I also took the opportunity to promise to share in upcoming blogs impactful life changing stories about making positive changes in the workplace to keep workers safe. These stories inspire our own employees because we know first-hand that we are impacting lives in a positive way. I hope you will find value in the stories and the lessons that we share.
Last week we offered our employees flu shots at our headquarters in Philadelphia. I’m happy to share that most of our employees took advantage of the preventative medicine.
Today’s blog is on an often overlooked area of safety concern – Confined Spaces.
As you can image, there are many workplaces that are considered "confined spaces" because while they may not provide the comforts of a larger area, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs.
A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include places such as manholes, pipelines, tunnels, tanks, ducts and more.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses the term "permit-required confined space" (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
Our safety professionals often see firsthand many workplace spaces that are considered to be “confined” because they hinder the activities of employees who must enter into, work in or exit from them. Our experts often note that many employees who work in confined spaces also face increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions.
OSHA has documented that confinement itself may pose entrapment hazards and work in confined spaces may keep employees closer to hazards such as machinery components than they would be otherwise. For example, confinement, limited access and restricted airflow can result in hazardous conditions that would not normally arise in an open workplace.
OSHA’s standard for confined spaces (29 CFR 1910.146) contains the requirements for practices and procedures to protect employ-ees in general industry from the hazards of entering permit spaces.
There’s a lot of anxiety in the United States about the first confirmed case of Ebola – a severe,
often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates. However, the experts are saying that the chance of Ebola spreading in the United States is close to zero.
As many of you may have already suspected, scaffolding accidents are among the most common in the construction industry. Improper scaffolding practices are the #3 OSHA violation, with 5,423 citations given in 2013. Based on OSHA reports, 65 percent of workers in the construction industry, a whopping 2.3 million, operate on scaffolds frequently. Of these workers, 4,500 get injured every year and approximately 60 experience fatalities. The most shocking statistic of all though is this: 72 percent of these accidents occur as a result of deficient platforms and falling.
I had a wonderful opportunity to attend and moderate a session at an event sponsored by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) held on May 9, 2014 at The Union League, in Philadelphia, PA.