Training for new hire employees is a crucial procedure for their professional growth. Whether it is SEO training that can be performed from home or a training or a job that has to be done on-site, It would be a mistake if you hired new people and wouldn´t provide them with proper training. Some of them can learn as they go, but some of them are not. Whether they adapt quickly or not, it is your responsibility to allow them to learn the new job. Another important thing is that some procedures are so important that they are not a matter of your goodwill. They simply must be taught to prevent some future accidents with possible lethal outcomes. Confined spaces training is one of those things. Let’s explain what confined spaces are.
What are confined spaces?
First of all, let’s define the confined spaces and the possible hazards.
The explanation is simple, although surprisingly many people get confused about it. A confined space must be large enough so the employee can fully get in and perform whatever work they have been assigned to. This type of space was not designed for performing continuous work because its conditions are not appropriate and it can be hazardous. The reason for this, among some other things, is that it is limited in terms of entrance and exit, so if something happens in there, it might be difficult to get out. Examples of confined spaces are vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits, and diked areas, vessels, silos, and other similar places. A permit-required confined space has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere, materials that could engulf somebody, the internal configuration could entrap or asphyxiate someone or contain any sort of hazardous materials.
Do you need confined space training?
If your company hires people who would work in places like the ones described above, then you need to provide them with proper confined space training. Construction workers are the most common people who work in confined spaces. It would be good if you could pass through all the levels ¡, from basic courses to the advanced ones that deal with rescue operations. A lack of proper training could result in fatal consequences with people injured or even dead, which is why this procedure is mandatory by the law. Hiring a trainer can be the best option for those who are not entirely sure how to perform these training sessions.
The requirements for confined spaces training
One of the critical factors is that employees must receive their training before they ever get assigned a job that requires entering a confined space. If the potential hazards of a space change, employees require retraining. Let’s check some of the main OSHA regulations related to this:
- The training should be done in such a manner that all the employees acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. No partial understanding is acceptable since it can lead to serious consequences.
- The employer should evaluate the workplace to see if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces.
- If the workplace contains permit spaces, the employer has to inform the employees, by posting danger signs, of the existence and location of and the danger in those places.
- We mentioned that the training must be provided before the assignment of the job or before some important changes to the procedure, but other than that it also should be provided if the employer considers that there are some inadequacies to the employee’s knowledge.
- If the employer decides that its employees will enter permit spaces, the employer has to implement a written permit space protocol that should be available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.
- Before an employee enters the space, the internal atmosphere must be tested with adequate instruments for oxygen content, flammable gases and vapors, and for potential toxic air contaminants, in that order. Any employee who enters the space must be provided an opportunity to observe the pre-entry testing.
- The adequate usage of equipment for gas monitoring or dealing ventilation in spaces like tunnels for example.
- Supervisors must learn too. They learn how to properly monitor their workers.
- The certification of knowledge should be issued and approved by the responsible authorities.
Working in confined spaces is a dangerous and responsible job. If you hire employees that will be assigned jobs like that, your legal obligation is to give them proper training. You will do this by hiring the right person or company that will provide them with all the necessary knowledge and a certificate to prove it. The regulations are numerous and we only presented the most important ones in this summary. Remember that human lives are above everything else and that neglecting the protocols and the rules can lead to fatal injuries. Even if the consequences are not that serious, think about the satisfaction of your employees and bear in mind that constantly hiring new employees is more expensive than sticking to the ones you have and investing in preparing them for all the possible hazardous situations. That is the best way to have a well-organized team ready for anything.