Colder temps can hamper the tasks at hand and slow production. It also makes workers more susceptible to injuries.
Winter weather brings a whole new set of challenges for staying safe. And as the largest storm of 2015 pounds the Northeast with record breaking snowfall in some areas, I’d like to pass along some outstanding reminders of winter safety that was recently published by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
I don’t know many workers who love the colder temperatures… or enjoy working when their feet are cold.
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.
Protecting your workers has a huge impact on your bottom line. By not protecting workers, you are leaving them vulnerable to injury. Injuries cost millions of dollars in medical costs, worker’s compensation and loss of productivity.
Imagine your employees are working with chemicals when something goes wrong. Maybe it’s a slip or a splash, but in an instant, chemicals splatter the eyes or the skin. And in that instant, the employee can sustain severe damage if the employee and his/her coworkers don’t act quickly.