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
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

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
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

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
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

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
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

The Engineer Says: “Excavation is Safe.” Is it?

Is an Excavation Safe Because a Soil Engineer Says It Is? Would you work at the toe of a nine-foot vertical wall of dirt with no protective system? Hopefully your answer is 'no.' But what if you received a letter from a soils engineer who had evaluated the composition of the dirt and declared it safe? What if the engineer (his stamp on the letter) asserted that, "The near vertical cut consists of very dense glacial till which can remain stable … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 8, 2014
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Wind Turbine Safety Standards: Adequate or Not?

Are Wind Turbine Safety Standards Adequate? Last Sunday while skimming the business section of our local newspaper (Eugene's Register Guard), I came across an article on training wind turbine workers so that they can avoid accidents and injuries. A key point in the article was the problem with existing wind turbine safety standards. The  writer, Tiffany Hsu,  asserted that: "Watchdog groups say a hodgepodge of state and federal renewable … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 9, 2014
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF