Providing workplace safety guidelines to prevent confined space-related fatalities and injuries, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has made available the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z117.1-2003 Safety Requirements for Confined Spaces. Exposures to oxygen deficient environments, harmful substances, or explosive atmospheres are just some of the potential hazards facing workers dealing with confined spaces (an enclosed area with limited access which include vessels, silos, tanks or pits). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 there were 114 fatalities from exposure to noxious substances and 63 fatalities from oxygen deficiency.
For TFM‘s coverage of this topic, see “A Recipe for Safety” from the archives.
The Z117.1 standard covers confined space requirements in regards to identification and evaluation of a confined space, emergency response and rescue, permit and non-permit requirements, atmospheric testing, isolation and decontamination, lockout/tagout safeguarding procedures, personal protection equipment (PPE), and warning sign requirements.
Approved by ANSI in February 2003, the revised Z117.1-2003 voluntary consensus standard is performance-related, and it is not intended to replace existing standards or procedures. The Z117.1-2003 standard has been referenced by government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The ANSI Z117 Accredited Standards Committee, which ASSE serves as secretariat of, will meet within the next year to discuss future revisions of the standard. Click here for more information or to order the Z117.1-2003 standard.