NFPA 350 Update - Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NFPA 350 Update - Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work Just a couple of weeks ago at a meeting in Florida, the final public comment revisions were made to NFPA’s new Confined Space Guide (NFPA 350). The document now goes before the NFPA Board for final approval. If all goes well, the new standard may be available next year.

Back in August 2013, we first made you aware of the proposed NFPA 350 document regarding working in and around confined spaces. (Read original post here) Designed as a “best practices guide,” it goes further in explaining what needs to be done to protect workers who make entry or work around confined spaces. We also made the draft document available on our website and encouraged your input, which many of you did. 

NFPA 350 will be an excellent resource for larger companies and municipalities with well-established permit systems, as well as smaller organizations that may not totally understand what is needed to safely work in and around confined spaces. Hopefully, this guide will fill-in some of the gaps or questions that arise when deciphering OSHA 1910.146 (Permit-Required Confined Spaces) as well as provide a better understanding of identifying hazards, ventilation, control measures, atmospheric monitoring, rescue requirements and rescue team qualifications, just to mention a few.

So, to all of you who participated by providing public comments, our hats off to you for taking an active role in providing a best practices guide to help protect others that do a dangerous job!

NOTE: Once finalized, we will update you on some of the unique perspectives of the document. Topics such as the practice of considering every space as hazardous; then, either clearing it, or writing the required permits to allow entry. Stand-by for future updates!
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WH Completes Review of OSHA's Confined Spaces in Construction

Friday, April 10, 2015

Washington – On April 3, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) completed its review of OSHA's Confined Spaces in Construction Standard, paving the way for the final rule to move forward. The rule (29 CFR 1926.36) has been in the works for more than a decade. An OIRA review is one of the last steps a federal agency must take before it can publish a final rule. According to OSHA's timetable, the confined spaces final rule was originally scheduled for publication in March.

In 1993, OSHA issued a general industry rule to protect employees who enter confined spaces while engaged in general industry work (29 CFR 1910.146). This standard has not been extended to cover employees entering confined spaces while engaged in construction work because of unique characteristics of construction work sites. Pursuant to discussions with the United Steel Workers of America that led to a settlement agreement regarding the general industry standard, OSHA agreed to issue a proposed rule to protect construction workers in confined spaces.

Source: Membership News Alert from National Safety Council

UPDATE: Roco is hearing that a final ruling will be released within the next 6 weeks. As soon as the information is provided, we will be sure to post for you!

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OSHA's Confined Space Construction Rule Under OMB Review

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

OSHA's Confined Space Construction Rule Under OMB ReviewOSHA's final rule on confined spaces in construction is being reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The review is one of the final steps required before OSHA can formally publish the rule.

OIRA, which is a branch of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, received the rule for review on Nov. 14. The office is limited to a 90-day review but can request an extension. The rule has been in the works since at least 2003; the proposed rule was published in 2007.

Several provisions in the proposed rule are similar to those found in the agency's confined spaces standard for general industry. That rule, issued in 1993, mandates specific procedures and includes requirements such as a written program, atmospheric monitoring and training.

Stand by for additional updates on this regulation.

News story from the National Safety Council. 

 

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OSHA Emergency Response Meeting in Washington, DC

Thursday, August 07, 2014

OSHA Emergency Response Meeting in Washington, DCReported by Jim Breen, Roco Rescue Director of Operations

On July 30 and 31, OSHA held an Emergency Response and Preparedness Stakeholders meeting in Washington, DC for the purpose of discussing the merits and potential content of an emergency response and preparedness standard.

Meeting participants were from a broad range of both public and private industry experts to include two Roco representatives, Jim Breen, Director of Operations, and Dennis O’Connell, Director of Training. Also participating were representatives from NFPA, IAFF, IAFC, USFA, Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association, Phillips 66, BASF Corporation, Chevron Pipeline Company, Chicago Fire Department, and the American Red Cross to name a few.


The discussion allowed participants to highlight their experiences, voice concerns, and provide input to OSHA administrators who are tasked to make a need and content recommendations to OSHA's senior leadership.

The meeting consisted of four main topics:

1.  Which phases of an emergency incident should be included in a standard?

2.  Should the standard be inclusive of all incident types or should it be focused on those types of incidents that have resulted in a line-of-duty deaths (LODDs)?

3.  What content should be included in the standard?

4.  How can OSHA construct a standard that is practical, relevant, and flexible enough to cover all organizations, regardless of size and complexity?

OSHA was particularly mindful of having participants identifying issues that would impede the practical application of an emergency response and preparedness standard. OSHA administrators were very receptive of the views of the participants and stressed that they were not interested in writing a tactical or tactics standard. Although OSHA did not elaborate on any specific course of direction, it is our impression and hope that OSHA will begin drafting an emergency response and preparedness standard that is performance based, with a strong strategic focus, that emphasizes a recognized incident management system, outlines preparation activities inclusive of pre-incident planning, and is structured around the basic functions of command that will apply to all emergency response organizations that are subject to OSHA oversight.  

Emergency response is one of the most hazardous occupations in America. Emergency responders include firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, hazardous material employees, and technical rescue specialists. Also, law enforcement officers usually are considered emergency responders because they often assist in emergency response incidents.
Source: OSHA.gov and NFPA/FEMA 2012 Reports on Firefighter FatalitiesOSHA Emergency Response Meeting in Washington, DC

Background Information from OSHA.gov:

OSHA notes that there are no standards issued by the Agency that specifically address occupational hazards uniquely related to law enforcement activities. Many emergency responders have cross training in these specialties, and may serve in multiple roles depending upon the type of emergency incident involved. Skilled support employees are not emergency responders, but nonetheless have specialized training that can be important to the safe and successful resolution of an emergency incident.
 
OSHA issued a Request for Information in September 2007 that solicited comments from the public to evaluate what action, if any, the Agency should take to further address emergency response and preparedness. Recent events, such as the 2013 tragedy in West, Texas, that killed several emergency responders, and an analysis of information provided make it clear that emergency responder health and safety continues to be an area of ongoing concern. For this reason, OSHA conducted the stakeholder meetings to gather additional information.

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OSHA Seeks Input on Emergency Response Standard

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OSHA Seeks Input on Emergency Response StandardPrompted by the 2013 fire and explosion that killed 12 firefighters at a Texas fertilizer facility, as well as other recent incidents, OSHA is considering the development of a standard on emergency response and preparedness.

Stakeholders are invited to provide input at an informal OSHA meeting in Washington on July 30 and, if needed, on July 31. Attendees must register by July 2.

OSHA first sought public input on an emergency response and preparedness rulemaking in 2007, when the agency issued a Request for Information. In that request, OSHA noted that although several of its current standards address certain issues emergency responders face (including blood borne pathogens and confined spaces), some of those standards are decades old.

In 2012, 231 deaths occurred in the protective service industry, which includes firefighters and law enforcement personnel, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Story from The National Safety Council

 

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