CoatingsPro Magazine

MAR 2015

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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32 MARCH 2015 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Safety Watch Many fatalities have occurred when workers have entered a confned space without even realizing it. T o protect the health of workers who are exposed to hazardous atmospheres, including many coatings applicators, it is always critical that they choose and use the correct respi- rator. Te applicator needs to take into consideration the type of coatings, work, and atmosphere where the job is being completed. Te selection process becomes even more important when entry into confned spaces is anticipated. In fact, it is not an overstatement to say that choosing the right respirator for confned spaces is a matter of life and death. Considering Standards According to fatality statistics published by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), over half of the deaths in confned spaces are caused by hazard- ous atmospheres. 1 However, making sure that workers have the right tool for the job is complicated by the complexity of the process. Tis begins with evaluat- ing the work area to determine whether you or your team is likely to enter an area considered a confned space. Many fatalities have occurred when workers have entered a confned space without even realizing it. Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) regulations provide criteria for determining whether or not you should classify the work area as a confned space. In fact, there are two OSHA standards that 1 Worker Deaths in Confned Spaces – A Summary of NIOSH Surveillance and Investigative Findings, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, January 1994 should be taken into consideration with regard to jobsites with confned spaces: • General Industry Standard — 29 CFR 1910.146 • Construction Industry Standard — 29 CFR 1926.21 General Industry Standards apply to workers employed at facilities, such as plants and mills. It also regulates routine maintenance work being performed at facilities. It doesn't specif- ically pertain to coatings applicators, but because it is the only standard that contains detailed requirements for confned spaces, it is important to understand. One other substandard addresses coatings: 29 CFR 1926.10 paragraph (a) includes "a lteration, and /or repair, including painting and decorating" in its definition of constr uction work. Be aware that in some cases, industr ial painting projects at a facilit y (e.g., sewage treatment plant and penstock tunnel at a hydroelectr ic dam) may be classified by OSH A as maintenance work so that they enforce the General Industr y Standards. OSH A does not prov ide clear g uidance as to how this deter mination is made. T he one t y pe of industr ia l painting project where OSH A is unlikely to enforce the By Stanford Liang, Director – Industrial Hygiene and Safety Services Company for AM Health & Safety The Right Respiratory Protection for Confned Space Entry

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