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Exception to the Rule: Confined Space Attendant

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 10:05 AM
If you have spent any length of time working in a trade, chemical facility, manufacturing plant, warehouse, or anything in between you have probably been through your fair share of safety briefings, orientations, and safety audits. While these are, hopefully, giving you site specific safety information let's focus on one often repeated misconception about confined spaces.

If you work on, in, around, or near confined spaces you're familiar with the roles involved - attendant, entrant, supervisor
Confined Space Attendant - and you know their functions and responsibilities. Generally speaking, in a permit-required confined space operation the supervisor supervises, the entrant makes entry, and the confined space attendant does nothing but attend, right?

What most programs will state is that the attendant is responsible for monitoring the safety of the workers working inside the confined space. The attendant is responsible for log-keeping, air monitoring, summoning help, and maybe even attempting non-entry rescue. Some of these subjects vary in their teachings and to what extent you're permitted or required to do them. One thing they always agree on, THE ATTENDANT NEVER ENTERS THE SPACE!

This information is true, to some degree. OSHA requires an attendant and the attendant is responsible for everyone inside, but, when you investigate the confined space standard an attendant is allowed to enter a space.

In the standard, 1910.146, it states:

"Attendant" means an individual stationed outside one or more permit spaces who monitors the authorized entrants and who performs all attendant's duties assigned in the employer's permit space program.

1910.146(i)(4) gives a seldom-mentioned exception to the rule of "an attendant never enters:"

NOTE: When the employer's permit entry program allows attendant entry for rescue, attendants may enter a permit space to attempt a rescue if they have been trained and equipped for rescue operations as required by paragraph (k)(1) of this section and if they have been relieved as required by paragraph (i)(4) of this section.

While this is not drastically different from what you may know, it is important to know that an attendant is, under specific conditions, permitted to make entry. I have yet to see this procedure as part of a confined space program in the real world but it doesn't mean it is impractical or without merit. If your attendant is trained and equipped for rescue, and they've been relieved by a competently trained attendant, they could enter to initiate patient treatment or extraction.

A problem in relying upon this method of rescue would be locating a second attendant. It is more expedient to have an attendant and rescuer(s) present at the confined space job site, but if this is your cost-effective consideration you may have shortened the length of time it takes to rescue the entrant. 

If you are looking for more information on confined spaces, confined space training, or if you are looking to hire a confined space attendant or a confined space rescue team, contact Safety Training Services today!

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: confined space attendant training, confined space hazards, confined space training, confined space attendant, confined space

New OSHA Construction Standard: 5 Requirements That Differ from General Industry

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

As you may have already heard, OSHA has developed a new construction standard for confined spaces. That standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA, will replace the previous single training requirement  for confined space work and instead be a comprehensive standard that is similar with the general industry confined space standard, but will address construction specific hazards and will improve enforceability of the new requirements.


In this article, I will discuss a few more specifics from this new standard so as to raise awareness of the requirements, the hazards specific to the construction industry, and even touch on a bit of information about the standard covering permit-required confined spaces in general industry so you may see how the two are similar but different enough to warrant necessary training & knowledge specific to one or the other.

The new rule differs from the previous construction rule in that employers must now determine what kinds of confined spaces their workers are in,what hazards are present or could be present there, how to make those hazards safe, what training is required for workers, and how to rescue those workers if something were to go wrong. 

Confined Spaces in Construction: Crawl Spaces and Attics

Crawl Spaces and attics, under the new construction standard, can be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Many times these spaces have one way in or out, are small but large enough for a person to enter, and are not generally built for continuous occupancy. With these facts, they are the very definition of confined spaces. If you are, for example, spraying in the attic, one could be exposed to hazardous atmospheres or low oxygen levels. Confined space hazards can include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Electrocution
  • Standing water
  • Poor lighting
  • Structural collapse
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Heat stress
  • Mechanizal hazards
  • Slip, trip, fall hazards

Confined Spaces in Construction: Pits

Pits can also be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Sump pits, valve pits, electrical pits, elevator pits, steam pits, etc. are entered for renovation work, installing equipment or cables, or simply just to verify the status of something in said pit. By changing the entry or exit or even changes in the air flow can allow these spaces to be classified as confined spaces or re-classify as a permit-required.

Confined Spaces in Construction: Sewer Systems

Sewer systems, whether sanitary, storm, or combined, are extensive and include many different components. Many, if not all, of these components can be classified as confined spaces. Of course, with some changes in the construction work, these can be permit-required as well. Continuous air monitoring is very important while working in sewer systems. Other hazards include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Chemicals present
  • Drowning or engulfment
  • Electrocution
  • Slips, trips, falls
  • Falling objects
  • High noise and/or low visibility

So what are the differences between the general industry & the construction rule? There are five new requirements that differ from the general industry rule. You can find them below:

  1. More detailed provisions requiring Confined_Space_Rescue_Training_01coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. This will ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space.
  2. Requiring a competent person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  3. Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
  4. Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards.
  5. Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions listed on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.


In addition, OSHA has added provisions to the new rule that clarifies existing requirements in the general industry standard.

  • Requiring that employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system prevent workers' exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout / tagout.
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local emergency services for emergency services arrange for responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time (because they are responding  to another emergency, attending department-wide training, etc.)
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.

Finally, several additional definitions have been added to the construction rule. For example:

  • Entry employer - The employer who directs workers to enter a space.
  • Entry rescue - Clarifies the differences in the types of rescue employers can use.

The final rule will become effective on August 3, 2015.

Click for More Training Course Information! Get the jump on the new rule(s) by signing up for safety training courses through STS. Whether you come to our Highland facility or we come to yours, we can assist you and your employees in OSHA compliance throughout your workplace. We conduct training, sell/rent equipment, provide rescue teams, and are even available as an on-call consultant ready to assist you with any OSHA-related issues. For more information, simply contact us below and let us know how we can help you.




Tags: confined space training, confined space rescue, osha general industry training

Enter By Permit Only: 13 Confined Space Hazards That Can Kill

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

A "confined space" as defined by OSHA, is a space that is large enough so that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Examples include (but are not limited to) boilers, tanks, vessels, stills, silos, mixers, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, vats, and pits.

Permit required confined space entryA permit required confined space is a confined space that requires a special permit to enter. These usually contain (or have the potential to contain) a hazardous atmosphere, an engulfment or entrapment hazard, or physical hazards. If any other serious safety or health hazard are present, it may also be classified as permit-required. Some companies even take a step further than the OSHA requirements and choose to treat every confined space onsite as a permit required confined space and follow all processes and procedures pertaining to those types of entries. 

Confined spaces are considered one of the deadliest places in the workplace because of the potential for danger. Many different types of hazards are found in confined spaces. Atmospheric issues can arise, which aren't always apparent. Oxygen is a basic necessity for life, but if there is too much or too little in a confined space, atmospheres can become deadly. Flammable or toxic gases/vapors are sometimes invisible to smell or see, and without proper equipment you would not be able to tell otherwise. Residue of previous chemicals can be left behind, the configuration of the space, the nature of the work, external hazards, and even outside hazards (animals, insects, noise, etc.) are examples of potential dangers surrounding confined spaces and why they are considered dangerous. Confined spaces are also prone to changes in the level of safety at any given time. Perfectly normal, common work conditions can quickly turn into an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) atmosphere with some help from the hazards listed.

Confined Space Hazard Types

  • Oxygen Rich

    • Example: Oxygen is greater than 23.5%

  • Oxygen Deficient

    • Example: Oxygen is lesser than 19.5%

  • Flammable Vapors/Gases

    • Examples: Possible chemical reactions, combustible dust

  • Toxic Atmospheres

    • Examples: Carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide

  • Corrosive Atmospheres

    • Examples: Hydrochloric acid, ammonia

  • Physical Hazards

    • Examples: Ladders, scaffolding, wet surface, poor lighting

  • Mechanical Hazards

    • Examples: Mixing vessels, falling objects

  • Surface Hazards

    • Examples: Slips and falls

  • Noise Hazards

    • Example: Grinding work and loud environments may interfere with communication and delay rescue or emergency services if needed

  • Vibration Hazards

    • Example: Woodworking tools

  • Engulfment Hazards

    • Example: Entrapped by contents of a confined space

  • Temperature Hazards

    • Examples: Heat stroke or heat stress, burns from hot surfaces, and freezing from extremely cold surfaces

  • Electrical Hazards

    • Example: Hazards from equipment taken into the space

confined space training at safety training services


Confined Space Rescue

Where a system of entry permits is in place, a rescue plan is required. It will list the personnel and equipment required to be at the worksite before entry is allowed. Special equipment such as tripod hoists, harnesses, and others may be required to extricate a worker from a toxic environment, without unduly endangering rescue personnel.

Whether you are looking for confined space training or rescue, Safety Training Services is here to assist you! Find more information on our confined space training class via our Training Services Page or if you are interested in our Stand-by Rescue Teams, check out our Rescue Services Page for more information!

Tags: confined space hazards, confined space training, confined space rescue

Farm Safety in the USA [Infographic]

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

Safety is a top priority in any industry, and the farming and agriculture industry is no different. Today, we will take a look at how hazardous the industry is and how at risk farmers are for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries people can work in. Almost 2 million people are directly employed in the agriculture industry so it is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. Every week there are people injured and even killed in the USA on farms and in agriculture related industries. One stark statistic is that every day approximately 167 agri-workers suffer a lost-work-time injury. Through implementation of safer work practices and measures however, these numbers could be greatly reduced. Education and training is a major element that can assist this.

This infographic (Credit: farmerjournal.ie) covers the area of farm safety and agriculture in the USA and examines some interesting and startling statistics associated with it. It also gives some recommendations on how some of these accidents and fatalities can be avoided in the future.farm safety, safety training

Tags: safety training, confined space training, safety hazards industry training, farm safety, safety hazards, industry training

Confined Space Attendants: An Essential Part of the Team

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

Confined spaces refer to enclosed areas deemed dangerous due to limited access. These may be a storage tank or a pipe, anything that workers may work in or enter for maintenance that is not a habitable space. Confined spaces are made more dangerous by the hazards associated with them, including suffocation, submersion, entrapment, engulfment, etc. Knowing about confined spaces and their hazards is important because many confined space deaths are preventable. Unfortunately, too many of these are untrained rescuers going in after the original entrant unknowing of the hazards in the confined space and succumb to the same hazard(s) as the person they went in to help.

In fact, most multi-death fatal incidents involve one or more would-be rescuers who are improperly trained and equipped to rescue the original victim.

OSHA defines a confined space as:confined space training,confined space attendant training,confined space entry training

  1. Being large enough for an employee to enter and perform work,

  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit,

  3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy.

permit required confined space will contain all of the above, plus one or more of the following:

  • confined space training, confined space attendant training, confined space entry trainingA potentially hazardous atmosphere

  • A substance that has the ability to engulf or asphyxiate the entrant

  • Inwardly converging walls within the space or a floor the slopes downward, tapering to a small cross-section

  • Contains any other serious safety or health hazard

A confined space attendant provides entrants protection during their time in a confined space. A confined space attendant is an optional service anytime an employee goes into a confined space, however in the event of a permit-required confined space, a confined space attendant is mandatory. A confined space attendant is a very integral part of the safety of the entrant and works as part of the confined space team, whom all have responsibilities to secure the safety of the team.

Confined Space Attendants’ Responsibilities

confined space training,confined space attendant training,confined space entry trainingThere are a few very important things that confined space attendants are responsible for. First and foremost, there must be at least one authorized attendant present at all times. The attendant controls access to the confined space. The duties of the attendant include testing the atmosphere of the confined space and periodically testing it again or continually monitoring it for any possible changes in the atmosphere. You must never enter a confined space if the atmospheric conditions are not suitable. They must also review and follow all permit procedures in a permit-required confined space. If a confined space attendant sees a hazard that is correctable, they will correct said hazard in a quick, safe, and efficient way. They will summon emergency assistance as needed. In the event that they are unable to correct a hazard, they will report the supervisor those hazards. If an attendant must never abandon his post for any reason while personnel are in the confined spaces unless relieved by another qualified attendant. Lastly, an attendant should keep records of confined space work, such as air test results, personnel entry/exit, etc.

Obviously, the attendant has the responsibility to keep the entrant safe from harm while they are working in the confined space, but an entrants and supervisors have their own responsibilities while working in/around a confined space.

Entrant Responsibilities

  • To assure that the space has been adequately ventilated, isolated, emptied, or otherwise made safe for entry.
  • To immediately exit a space, without question, upon word of the attendant, no matter what the reason.
  • To follow all safety rules and procedures.
    • To be familiar with the work to be performed and the procedures.
    • To use the appropriate PPE whenever necessary.

Supervisor Responsibilities

  • To assure adequate protection is provided to the entrants by verifying adequate lockout/tagout and that all hazards are isolated, controlled or eliminated.
  • To support the attendant’s authority in controlling access to a confined space.
  • To verify that all personnel have exited prior to closing the space.
  • To assure that all personnel involved are aware of the hazards associated with the space.
  • To assure that rescue services are available prior to entry.

To that last point about rescue services, we need to be familiar with what that would include. Rescue services, must be available while authorized entrants are in a confined space. As we said in the first paragraph of this article, deaths often occur during rescue. Untrained persons enter the space to help the downed worker can get themselves caught in the confined space, or worse, become a victim themselves to whatever may have harmed the original entrant. Trained professional rescue services are available for this purpose. They are skilled in both non-entry and entry rescue techniques. A small sample of rescue work can be found below, with more extensive coverage found in the 'Non-Mandatory Appendix F -- Rescue Team or Rescue Service Evaluation Criteria' found on OSHA's website!

  • confined space training, confined space attendant training, confined space entry trainingNon-entry: A rescue that is conducted without entry into the confined space. This can be conducted by such means as a rope or winch.
  • Entry by personnel trained to conduct rescues:
    • All members of the team must be specially trained in confined space rescue work,
    • The team must have at least one member certified in CPR and first aid,
    • All members of the team must be trained in the techniques and equipment for specific confined spaces.
    • The rescue team must practice in all types of spaces in which a rescue could be required.
Drawing on their knowledge and experience, our STS rescue team members are able to recognize and anticipate safety hazards unique to the job site and the environmental conditions. Our confined space attendants will monitor the site both for hazardous conditions and for entrance by unauthorized personnel and can order an evacuation when the situation warrants such action. Click below for information on the STS Rescue Teams and our rescue services!
STS Confined Space Attendants & Rescue Services

Tags: confined space attendant training, cse attendant, cse training, confined space training, confined space entry training