The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is offering a downloadable sample confined space program to members. The standards detailed in the program are derived directly from the Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), Confined Space regulations for General Industry 29 CFR 1910.146. The structural pest management industry falls within the scope of OSHA’s general industry standards.
OSHA’s standard for confined spaces contains the requirements for practices and procedures to protect employees in general industry from the hazards of entering permit spaces. Employers in general industry must evaluate their workplaces to determine whether spaces are permit spaces. If a workplace contains permit spaces, the employer must inform exposed employees of their existence, location and the hazards they pose.
In the pest management industry many of the confined spaces that are entered have potential hazards, but the vast majority can be mitigated and safely avoided with proper preparation, awareness, caution, tools and equipment and are therefore not permit confined spaces. For pest management services, the most common confined spaces may include crawlspaces and attics. Other confined spaces may exist and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is important to identify confined spaces prior to entry and evaluate hazards. Confined spaces that do not have any hazards do not require additional safety precautions, other than remaining aware of one’s surroundings while continuously monitoring for potential hazards.
The sample confined space plan is an outline for recommended practices and procedures that employers should implement to protect employees from potential hazards and train employees to properly assess and safely manage potential hazards in confined spaces.