The NFPA Standards Council has approved a new project on Confined Space Entry. A technical committee has been formed and a first meeting is scheduled for September in Philadelphia. We are very excited about the development of a document that will have a significant positive impact on workplace safety related to confined space entry! NFPA envisions this NEW document as a "gold standard" for confined space entry procedures.
NFPA maintains a long history with guiding the safe entry and work practices for the maritime sector. NFPA 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels, www.nfpa.org/306 contains requirements that form the basis for the maritime industry’s safe practices for confined space hazard identification, evaluation and control. It also represents the norm that Marine Chemists must follow when performing their inspections of confined spaces to assess the conditions for entry and hot work on vessels and within the shipyard.
Through the years, NFPA codes and standards have expanded with respect to the types of industrial workplaces that include some aspect of confined space requirements as part of the safeguards for that particular occupancy. Some of that expansion has borrowed from the model followed in the maritime segment. Amongst others, the list now includes:
- NFPA 326, Standard for the Safeguarding of Tanks and Containers for Entry, Cleaning, or Repair– www.nfpa.org/326
- NFPA 1670, Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents, www.nfpa.org/1670
- NFPA 1006, Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications , www.nfpa.org/1006
While there are several existing Confined space entry standards including OSHA's 1910.146, many of these standards are considered to be "minimum" standards and are more performance based in their requirements. It is expected that the new NFPA Best Practices document will be more "prescriptive" and will provide more detailed information on hazard identification, control, gas monitoring and calibration, ventilation and rescue. We anticipate including chapters on training and competencies as well as prevention through design (PtD) in the new standard.
Stay tuned! We will be providing more information as the standard is developed.
More participation means the creation of better consensus standards.
We welcome input from all of you and I look forward to your ideas!