Confined Space Ventilation Requirements – For every confined space, there are specific ventilation requirements that must be met in order to ensure the safety of those who are entering and working in the space. These requirements are designed to prevent the build-up of dangerous gases, such as methane, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide, which can be fatal if they accumulate in high enough concentrations inside the space. By following these requirements closely, you can help ensure that your workers will never encounter these hazardous gases while they work within the confined space itself.
As a business owner, you will need to become familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ventilation standards surrounding the use of confined spaces in your field, so you can stay compliant with regulations while protecting the health and safety of your employees, customers, and anyone else who may be affected by your business practices. Here are some of the Confined Space Ventilation Requirements you should never ignore.
Always Use Correct Ventilation Equipment
When working in a confined space, it is important to always use the correct ventilation equipment. OSHA has specific air exchange requirements that must be met in order to ensure the safety of workers. Ignoring these requirements can lead to serious injuries or even death.
The purpose of using a confined space ventilation system is to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous or harmful levels of carbon monoxide, methane, flammable gases and vapors, radon, and other contaminates. The system must provide a constant supply of fresh air from outside of the space in order to meet these requirements.
The size of ventilation system required for a given area depends on what type of materials are being handled in that space. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created specific ventilation standards that must be met when working with flammable, toxic, and radioactive materials. When these gases and vapors are present in a confined space, they need to be removed using industrial ventilation equipment.
In some cases, a full-face respirator may be required to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous levels of toxins. This type of respirator covers both your mouth and nose. It includes a filter in order to remove contaminants from both incoming and outgoing air streams, while also protecting against harmful gases, vapors, and liquids. Always use these respirators in conjunction with an approved particulate or gas/vapor filter.
Make Sure You Have Enough Airflow
In order to ensure the safety of workers in a confined space, you need to make sure there is enough airflow. The amount of airflow needed will depend on the size of the space and the number of workers present. OSHA has specific air exchange requirements that must be met in order to ensure the safety of workers.
You can use a confined space ventilation chart to help determine the amount of airflow needed. If you are not sure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and provide more ventilation than less. You should also make sure there is plenty of fresh air available for people working in confined spaces.
Make Sure Everyone Knows What Is Going On: It’s important to inform everyone who enters the confined space about what they are getting into. Make sure they know how long they will be inside and that they understand any hazards before entering the confined space.
Only Allow Workers Who Meet Specific Qualifications: When considering whether or not someone should enter a confined space, look at their qualifications first and foremost.
Make Sure You Use The Right Safety Equipment: Even if you have an adequate amount of airflow, it doesn’t mean that your confined space is safe. The right safety equipment can help prevent injuries and fatalities in confined spaces.
READ: Confine Space Entry Procedures That Works
Check Your Fans And Blowers Regularly
Your fans and blowers are key to maintaining proper ventilation in your confined space, so it’s important to check them regularly. Inspect the blades for damage and make sure the motors are running smoothly. If you notice any problems, do not hesitate to call a professional for help.
When it comes to confined space ventilation, it’s critical to make sure you have what you need in place. That means following Osha confined space ventilation requirements as well as consulting with a confined space specialist who can provide you with an updated confined space ventilation chart to fit your specific needs.
Never Run Ventilation Equipment In Unventilated Areas
OSHA air exchange requirements are designed to protect workers in confined spaces. If you’re running ventilation equipment in an unventilated area, you are not only violating OSHA regulations, but you are also putting your workers at risk. Make sure you always have a ventilation fan running in any confined space, and never ignore OSHA’s other confined space ventilation requirements.
The NPPTL (National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory) is an OSHA-approved research organization. It performed a series of confined space ventilation tests in 2016, and released its findings in late 2017. The study concluded that confined space ventilation fans must provide at least 0.35 air exchanges per hour to meet basic safety requirements, while anything below that can put workers at serious risk of being overcome by a hazardous atmosphere or even fatally asphyxiated.
The NPPTL is also a participant in NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) initiative. The group has released two major studies on confined space ventilation, confirming that confined space fans must provide at least 0.35 air exchanges per hour to be considered safe. OSHA confined space ventilation requirements are clear: If you run your fan in an unventilated area, it must still produce at least 0.35 air exchanges per hour.
Just because a fan is running in an unventilated area does not mean it’s providing enough air exchange. OSHA ventilation requirements are based on how many cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) your fan is pushing into your space.
READ: Confine Space Rescue Plan
Confined Space Ventilation Chart
Confined Space Ventilation Chart provides a guide the the level ventilation required in each specific confined space. The size of the space is what dictates how much ventilation you need. For example, an area that’s less than one cubic meter needs 15 minutes of fresh air per hour. If the space is 1-10 cubic meters, it needs to be ventilated for at least 10 minutes every hour. A space that’s more than 10 cubic meters needs to be ventilated for at least 20 minutes every hour.
If you are working in a confined space that has different sections, make sure to ventilate each separately. If you are using powered equipment (like a vacuum) inside an enclosed area, make sure it has its own ventilation. Portable generators and other engine-powered tools have their own exhaust systems. For more information on engine-powered tools, refer to your manufacturer’s instructions or contact your local government’s building codes agency.
The most important thing to remember when ventilating a confined space is that you ca not put ventilation into a space that already has air in it. If there is already a risk of asphyxiation, you need to pull all of that bad air out before you can bring in fresh air.
Safety Is Key, Follow The Regulations When Using An Enclosed Space Fan
When it comes to confined space ventilation, there are certain OSHA requirements that must be met in order to ensure a safe work environment. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the five most important OSHA air exchange requirements for confined spaces.
The first is to provide at least one safety person on standby outside the confined space at all times while another one is inside.
The second requirement is to check and maintain your confined space ventilation fan before entering an enclosed area.
The third rule is that your fan should have enough power so that when its running, at least half of the exhaust volume should be replaced with new fresh air every minute (a lot of companies will use a pressure gauge in place of actually measuring how much new air is replacing the old).
READ: Confine Space Entry Hoist
Fourth, the total length of any hose or ducts used in a confined space needs to be limited as much as possible because these pipes can act like a chimney if they are not properly sealed.
Finally, make sure to do periodic inspections of both your fan and any other mechanical equipment used for ventilating purposes (such as filters) before re-entering the confined space again.
That’s a brief outline of some of OSHA’s main requirements for fans used in confined spaces. As always, you should always consult with your local health and safety authority if you have any questions or concerns about specific regulations in your area. And as you can see, keeping safe is relatively simple.