All jobs have occupational hazards. For instance, working remotely from home could cause back problems over a period of time. If you dissect the specifics of most jobs, you will see a potential hazard somewhere, but some jobs, like those where people work in confined spaces, are more dangerous than others.
A ‘confined work space’ is a small space or area in which workers spend a portion or all of their day working, although the definition can be more specific depending on the job. Thousands of workers across a range of industries and occupations throughout the U.S. place themselves at risk by working in confined spaces. It is important that if you or a loved one works in such an occupation, you should know what defines a confined workspace, and what regulations should be met in order to assure safety.
What Defines a Confined Space?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a confined space is large enough for a person to fit in and perform tasks, and is limited in the ways a person can enter or exit. A confined space is not designed for a person to occupy for an extended amount of time. Confined spaces include manholes, storage bins, tanks, vessels, vaults, tunnels, ductwork, pipelines, silos, and pits.
Are There Regulations for Working in Confined Spaces?
OHSA has regulations to help ensure worker safety across a wide spectrum of occupations, including regulations for workers in confined spaces. At regular intervals throughout the time that a worker is alone in a confined space, the employer must account for that worker by way of sight or verbal communication.
For working in confined spaces considered to have special dangers or circumstances, OSHA requires that each worker have a permit. The confined spaces that demand a permit include spaces with a hazardous atmosphere, materials, walls, and floors. This extends to any recognized safety hazard, including machinery, live wires, and extreme heat.
What Provides Safety for Workers in Confined Spaces?
Ensuring that workers in confined spaces remain safe starts with training. Employers must ensure that workers are properly trained, not only for all tasks but also for all possibilities. A worker must be capable of performing any task in the safest way possible, eliminating the possibility of causing any danger. A worker should also know what could go wrong and what to do in such an event.
A trained supervisor or specialist must inspect the environment for any imminent danger and take all necessary precautions before allowing any worker to begin work. The employer should provide all necessary safety equipment. Up-to-date equipment that detects toxins and gases is critical, and there should be adequate ventilation provided if needed. It is imperative that the employer regularly test the air quality, the infrastructure of the workspace, and all equipment or containers that could present danger if damaged.
There should be procedures prepared for emergencies, the most important of which is a quick and easy escape route. Constant communication is one key to safety: both workers and supervisors must be able to communicate any potentially dangerous situation or issue at a moment’s notice.
What Should Workers’ Compensation Cover?
If you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation should cover all your medical expenses, including treatments, rehabilitative services, tests, surgery, and prescriptions. You should be able to recover lost wages at a percentage of your salary as well. Disability payments and death benefits are also part of the coverage.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Represent Workers Injured in Confined Spaces.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a confined space or any other work area, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Our experienced Chester County workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC will help fight hard to make sure that your claim is not denied and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at 610-594-1600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchland, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, Morgantown, and throughout Pennsylvania.