No. The rescuer should also consider the size and configuration of the confined space (i.e., once packaged, will the patient and packaging fit through the opening?) as well as the rescue techniques to be used, the atmosphere inside the space and the exposure to hazards.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association of Aberdeen, S.D., more than $1.6 million following the Dec. 22, 2009, death of a worker at the company’s McLaughlin, S.D., grain handling operation.
The worker suffocated after being engulfed by grain in one of the facility’s bins. OSHA’s investigation found that five additional workers were also at risk of being engulfed when they were sent into the bin to dig the victim out.
- Failing to prohibit entry into the grain bins where the buildup of grain existed;
- Failing to shut off and lock out equipment to prevent grain from moving through the bin while workers were inside;
- Failing to equip workers with grain engulfment protection;
- Failing to provide observers equipped to provide assistance;
- Failing to train workers;
- Failing to issue permits to control entry into grain bins;
- Failing to test the atmosphere;
- A lack of rescue equipment;
- And failing to implement an emergency action plan prior to entry.
The death in South Dakota follows a similar May 2009 death of a 17-year old employee of Tempel Grain LLP in Haswell, CO. That worker also suffocated after being engulfed by grain. OSHA issued $1,592,500 in fines for 22 alleged willful and 13 alleged serious violations in that case.
OSHA has implemented a regional emphasis inspection program in the grain handling industry to address the serious hazards associated with grain bins and confined spaces, and operators and industry associations have been sent letters announcing the program. OSHA’s area offices covering Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are also providing assistance to help grain storage facilities comply with safety standards.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of all OSHA citations to pay the penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Extensive field exercises are considered necessary to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct basic trench rescue operations. An overview of OSHA regulations for Excavations/Trenching should always include: shoring systems; hazard recognition and control methods; soil classification and mechanics; types of collapses; and patient care considerations.
To address urgent safety and health problems facing Americans in the workplace, OSHA is implementing a new Severe Violator Enforcement Program and increasing civil penalty amounts. Announced in an April 22 news release, the SVEP, which will go into effect by the beginning of June, is intended to focus OSHA enforcement resources on employers who endanger workers by repeatedly demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law.This supplemental enforcement tool includes increased OSHA inspections in these worksites, mandatory OSHA follow-up inspections, and inspections of other worksites of the same employer where similar hazards and deficiencies may be present.
For more information, see the SVEP Directive. Several administrative changes to the penalty calculation system in OSHA’s Field Operations Manual will also become effective in the next several months. The penalty changes will increase the overall dollar amount of all penalties while maintaining OSHA’s policy of reducing penalties for small employers and those acting in good faith.
The first study to quantify the effects of crew sizes and arrival times on lifesaving and firefighting operations…
The International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters hailed a major study released April 28 that showed four-person firefighting crews completed 22 key tasks at a single-family residential fire 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.
“Fire risks grow exponentially. Each minute of delay is critical to the safety of the occupants and firefighters and is directly related to property damage,” said Jason Averill, a principal investigator on the study who leads NIST’s Engineered Fire Safety Group within its Building and Fire Research Laboratory.
Reprinted from: Occupational Health & Safety