Confined Space: When Air Testing Before Entry is Impractical

A client recently called me with a question. At his facility there was a confined space (a large vault) that they wanted to enter using alternate entry procedures (also known as reclassifying the space). Issues such as these are routinely addressed in our Confined Space Train the Trainer classes. Over the years his crews had entered the vault many times and had never encountered a hazardous atmosphere, nor had work activities ever created … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 20, 2017
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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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Training Rescue Teams: What Standards Apply?

If you are not a rescue expert, the process of moving an injured person from a hazardous location to a place of safety may seem hopelessly complex. And like any other complex process one would assume that various organizations who specialize in technical rescue would issue standards to guide us in training rescue teams. These are some of the issues we'll be covering in our upcoming Confined Space Rescue Team Leader classes to be held this fall in … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson September 27, 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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Confined Space Rescue: Justifying your Team.

When you are asked the question: Is it worth having a rescue team? Keep the following in mind. Incipient: adjective Definition: in an initial stage; beginning to happen or develop. Common sense dictates that most employees should be able to respond appropriately to an incipient fire. Alarms and extinguishers have saved countless billions in damages and few would argue against spending money to ensure a safe and effective response in the … [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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Construction Confined Space Rules: Updated

In both Oregon and nationally we have seen changes to the rules governing entry into confined spaces. On May 4th Federal OSHA released 1926.1201 "Confined Spaces in Construction". Earlier this year OROSHA published OAR 437-002-0146 which covers general industry and construction activities. None of the changes have anything to do with how we identify, evaluate, and safely enter into confined spaces. But there are important changes to the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson May 28, 2015
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