Key Safety Guidelines for Working in Confined Spaces

“Safety First, Always First.”

Utilizing proper safety guidelines while working in or around confined spaces on a jobsite is imperative to protecting our employees and clients.

OSHA defines a confined space as any place on a jobsite that has limited means of entry and/or exit, is large enough for a worker to enter it and is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy.

There are two types of confined spaces – non-permit-required and permit-required. A non-permit-required confined space does not contain atmospheric hazards or have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm.

OSHA defines a permit-required space as having one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires or heat stress

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 136 workers were killed in incidents associated with confined spaces in 2015.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees, clients, partners and the general public,” says Jamie Absher, Safety Specialist at TP Mechanical. “By doing things like participating in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and partnering with safety experts, we put ourselves in a position to prevent injuries like those that can be caused by working in confined spaces.”

Some of the key OSHA guidelines involving confined spaces:

  • Evaluate the workplace and clearly identify any permit-required confined spaces with the proper signage
  • Test atmospheric conditions before entry and purge, make inert, flush and/or continuously ventilate the permit space as necessary to eliminate or control atmospheric hazards
  • Provide, maintain and require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including self-contained breathing apparatus and personal fall protection when appropriate – and any other equipment necessary for safe entry

For full guidelines, please refer to the OSHA Confined Space Standard, CFR 1910.146.

To learn more about our commitment to workplace health and safety, visit tpmechanical.com/about-tp/safety.

TP Mechanical Hits Another Major Safety Milestone

TP Mechanical has now surpassed 3 million man-hours without a lost-time accident.

By committing to our “Safety First, Always First” core value, we make it our primary goal to ensure our employees, clients and members of the general public return home to their families safely every night.

“We are more than proud to achieve 3 million hours without a lost workday injury,” said TP Mechanical Corporate Safety Director Rick Absher. “We are looking forward to reaching the next milestone as we continue to make the safety of our employees, clients and jobsites our foremost priority.”

Reaching milestones like this isn’t achieved by merely doing what’s required. That’s why we go above and beyond by participating in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of organizations that have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health—that’s why we were so proud to be the first mechanical contractor in the U.S. to receive this designation in 2005.

Through VPP, we’ve implemented meticulous safety and health management practices that address hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment and worker involvement. We voluntarily submit to rigorous evaluations to identify ways that we can continue to improve our system.

Being proactive about safety is critical to protecting our employees and jobsites, upholding our core values and executing our mission.

As our streak continues, we promise to keep delivering “Safety First, Always First” – that’s the TP Mechanical guarantee.

For more information

Learn more about how safety is a way of life at TP Mechanical and then Contact Us to see how we can provide comprehensive mechanical services for your next project.

Safety first. We don’t just say it, we live it.

At TP Mechanical, from CEOs to project managers, from site supervisors to office staff, every TP Mechanical team member devotes time, energy and heart to our company’s promise to send everyone home to their families every single night. We do this by going above and beyond the standard requirements to create not just a safety program, but a safety culture.

While our track record speaks for itself, the thing that truly sets us apart within the industry is our Experience Modification Rate (EMR). The EMR is computed by comparing a company’s annual losses in insurance claims against its policy premiums over a three-year period. The industry standard hovers around an EMR of 1.0. So where does TP Mechanical rate on this scale?

Glad you asked… TP Mechanical boasts an EMR rating of 0.56. By truly committing our operation to safety protocols, our clients enjoy substantial financial savings when it comes to insurance-related costs. It’s like car insurance – safer drivers who have fewer accidents pay less. Through our team member’s combined efforts in job safety, they aren’t just saving TP Mechanical money; they are actively involved in helping the company make money.

“Twenty percent of workers’ compensation claims account for eighty percent of what insurance companies pay out,” states Larry Melocik of Melocik & Company, a workers’ compensation consultant. As a self-insured company, TP Mechanical has to ensure that everyone is on-board.

We are proud of our employees for ingraining TP Mechanical’s first core value of “Safety First, Always First.” Our employees have earned a number of awards for their efforts, including:

  • AGC Safety Award | State of Ohio Specialty Division for Contractors working 500,001 – 700,000 Hours Annually
  • AGC National 2nd place Award in the Special Division
  • BX Ohio Safety Achievement Award
  • OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)
  • TP Mechanical surpassed 2.8 million man hours worked without a lost-time accident, as of November 29, 2013