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August 25, 2014

5 Confined Space Myths: How Many Do You Believe?

Caution confined space Hazardous atmosphere Entry by permit only
When it comes to workplace safety, it seems that misinformation is just as common as sound advice. Add various safety regulations to the mix and it's easy to see why people get confused. Confined spaces are a good example. OSHA identifies more than 20 industry sectors with a variety of types of confined spaces. Nearly any area that physically hinders worker activity or has hazardous air or other conditions can be considered a confined space. 

With so many industries and space configurations, it's no wonder workers are sometimes unsure of confined space rules. An article in the August issue of OH&S Magazine attempts to set the record straight. Take a look at these confined space myths and see which ones you or your workers might believe:

Myth #1: Falls aren't an issue in confined spaces.
Reality: Confined spaces warrant the same level of fall protection consideration as above-ground work at height. 

Myth #2: All confined spaces require a permit.
Reality: Only spaces that meet OSHA's definition of a confined space and contain health or safety hazards require a permit.

Myth #3: Permit-required confined spaces only require adequate identification and marking.
Reality: While clearly marking permit-required confined spaces is an essential step, appropriate signage isn't the only action you’ll need to take.

Myth #4: Non-entry rescue is always the best solution for a confined space rescue.
Reality: Although non-entry rescue is usually preferred, determining the smartest and safest rescue approach largely depends on the situation.

Myth #5: Confinement is the most dangerous threat of confined space work.
Reality: Although confinement can always pose a danger, hazards like asphyxiating atmospheres or moving parts may be more immediate.

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