Work in confined spaces is extremely hazardous. Dozens of workers are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year. Almost all of these injuries could have been prevented if the victim had received proper safety training. So it’s no wonder that confined spaces safety training is a specific requirement of occupational health and safety laws. Here`s an overview of training requirements.
Who Must Receive Training
You must provide confined spaces safety training to any worker who:
Training must be provided not just to employees on your payroll but to any worker who enters confined spaces at your workplace, including the workers of a contractor or subcontractor. You don`t have to be the one to deliver that training. But it’s important to address how confined spaces safety training will be provided to the contractor’s workers and how training will be verified in the terms of your contract.
When Confined Spaces Safety Training Is Required
Workers must receive confined spaces safety training before they can enter a confined space. Safety training for confined space work, in other words, can’t be a learn-as-you-go experience. Training should be provided at the time of the initial hire if the job duties involve confined space entry and when workers who don’t work in confined spaces are assigned to jobs that do involve confined space entry.
Retraining should also be provided:
It`s recommended that all workers receive regular refresher training on confined space entry no less than once a year. While not required by law, the seriousness of the hazards in working in and around confined spaces mean that everyone involved in the program should be well trained. It is especially important to provide annual training to workers who never actually participate in an entry during the year. It’s easy for works to forget the process if they don’t have an opportunity to practice what they learned.
Levels of Confined Spaces Safety Training
There are several different levels of confined spaces safety training:
Awareness Level: Workers have general knowledge and understanding of what confined spaces, non-permit confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces are, as well as the hazards associated with each them. Although OSHA doesn`t mandate any specific length, awareness training should take about 1 to 2 hours to complete. Upon completion of awareness training, workers should be able to demonstrate their knowledge, but are not trained to perform any further actions.
Awareness level training is suitable for workers not expected to enter permit spaces but still need to understand the hazards because they work near those spaces and with co-workers who do enter them.
Confined Space Entry Level: This level of training is designed for workers whose job duties require them participate in a permit space entry, either as an Authorized Entrant, Attendant or Entry Supervisor. Training should address all of the specific hazards in the space and the methods used to control them and include a simulated entry.
Confined Space Entry and Rescue Level: This level of training is designed for workers whose job duties include entering permit spaces to perform rescue operations. Such workers must be not only proficient in entering the space a la an Authorized Entrant but in carrying out their rescue duties. This might include knowledge of first aid and CPR. est practice would dictate that they also be trained as an entry participant so that their knowledge of the entry conditions and their associated hazards is comprehensive enough to be able to effect a successful rescue.
Role-Specific Confined Spaces Safety Training
The OSHA standard establishes different training requirements for different participants in confined space entry, depending on their role in the entry:
Entry Supervisor, i.e., the person in charge of safety for the entry, must know the hazards faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of exposure and have the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out his duties proficiently. Such duties include:
Authorized Attendants, i.e., the individuals who remain outside the space and keep track of things while remaining ready to provide or summon help at a moment`s notice, must know the hazards faced during entry, including the mode, signs or symptoms and consequences of exposure. They must also be aware of possible behavioral effects of hazard exposure in authorized entrants and be proficient to carry out their specific duties, including:
Authorized Entrants, i.e., workers allowed to enter the permit space, must know the hazards faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms and consequences of the exposure and be proficient in carrying out their duties for the entry, including:
An employer must also verify that any training provided to workers renders them proficient to perform their assigned tasks. Proficiency can be verified in different ways including via tests and quizzes, group exercises and drills. All training performed must also be certified by the employer in writing. The certification must state that training was provided and list each worker’s name, the signatures or initials of the trainers and the dates of training. (Click here for a Model Proficiency Certification.)