Confined Space Attendant and Fall Protection

Consider for a moment the issue of fall protection and the confined space attendant overseeing entry operations for workers in a vault or manhole (top down entry). A question I often ask our students is: "Does the confined space attendant need to be tied off?" That is, if the fall hazard is greater than four feet (which it almost always is), does OSHA require the attendant to use some sort of fall protection? In this imaginary scenario we need … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson October 18, 2016
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Confined Space Safety Best Practice: What to Include in the Inventory

One of the challenges in administering a confined space safety program is deciding which spaces to include in your inventory. The simple answer is to just include those spaces that meet the definition of a permit space*, but is this a confined space safety best practice? My sense is that it may not be. In fact, I believe that when you’re deciding which spaces to place under the confined space program, you should consider putting aside OSHA’s … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson June 29, 2016
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The Shipyard Confined Space Standard: Any Lessons for General Industry?

Given a topic as potentially complex as confined spaces, we can often enhance our understanding of the safety requirements by looking at other, similar standards. The shipyard employment standard (29 CFR 1915 Subpart B) offers us one such opportunity. If you would like to explore confined space standards in more detail (including the new construction standard) consider attending one of our Confined Space Train the Trainer classes. Let's start … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson May 5, 2016
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Fall Protection: Meeting the USACE’s Requirements

Anyone who has worked at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project understands how much emphasis the corps places on safety. Fall protection offers a great example. Central to this effort are the specific training and retraining requirements for fall protection users, competent persons, and qualified persons. For example, beginning at the end of May, 2016, anyone serving as a fall protection competent person on a USACE project needs to have … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson March 29, 2016
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Fall Protection on Roofs: How Close Can You Get?

Providing fall protection on flat or low-sloped roofs (defined as roofs with a slope of 0 in 12 to 4 in 12) has always been a hot topic of discussion in our Fall Protection Competent Person classes. And the discussion starts by trying to figure out: How close can a worker get to the edge of a roof before they are exposed to a fall? And what about the use of warning line systems for workers other than roofers? Let's look at each of these issues in … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson March 10, 2016
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Fall Hazards and Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Does the presence of a fall hazard turn a confined space into a permit space? When Oregon re-wrote its confined space rules last year one issue of interest among those attending the stakeholder's meeting hosted by OROSHA, was the question of fall hazards and permit spaces. In other words, if you had a pit twenty feet deep and the only hazard was posed by using a fixed ladder to enter this pit, would the fall hazard be serious enough to make the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson January 7, 2016
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Confined Space Reclassification: Facts and Myths

Few topics elicit as much confusion as the reclassification of permit-required confined spaces, also referred to (more appropriately as using alternate entry procedures). People want to know if we should control hazards or eliminate them? Or both? Can we weld or grind in a reclassified space? Can we permanently reclassify? What are the benefits? Can I reclassify if there's a fall hazard? Anyone responsible for developing or maintaining a confined … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson November 6, 2015
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Scaffolds and Excavations: When is Close Too Close?

On a construction site we often need to position some workers above the ground and others below. So we often find scaffolds erected near excavations. While no one would intentionally place a scaffold leg on the lip of an excavation both the excavation competent person and the scaffold competent person (yes, both scaffolds and excavations require competent persons) should be able to answer the question: how close is too close? (If you are … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson November 6, 2015
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Fall Arrest Anchors: Strong Enough or Not?

If a fall arrest anchor can't withstand the forces generated, nothing else matters. But when a worker clips in, how can they be assured that the anchor will function if and when it's needed? This is essentially a quality assurance question and assuring quality requires a variety of processes, none of which are complicated but each are required to make the system work. In this blog we have broken the processes down into various steps with the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson June 24, 2015
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Confined Space Train the Trainer UPDATED!

For the last five or so years we have enjoyed considerable success with Version 3 of our Confined Space Entrant, Attendant, and Entry Supervisor curriculum. Nonetheless, we are excited to release Version 4.  On July 14-15, 2015 in Medford, Oregon we will be holding our first train-the-trainer seminar using Version 4 of our confined space training materials. This class is being held in association with the Southern Oregon Chapter of the ASSE … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson November 6, 2015
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