CAL/OSHA Launches Confined Space Special Emphasis Initiative

Second Quarter 2012Articles California Update

Earlier this year, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) launched a statewide Confined Space Special Emphasis Initiative to focus attention on preventing worker deaths and injuries in confined spaces. The Initiative is the result of a dramatic increase in deaths, up to seven in 2011, in confined spaces. A confined space is generally defined as one that (1) is large enough and configured so that an employee can bodily enter and perform work; (2) has limited openings for entry and exit; and (3) is not designed for continuous occupancy. Examples of confined spaces include manholes, boilers, vaults and utility tunnels. A Confined Space Hazard Alert is available online to aid in identifying confined spaces and protect workers. Employers are advised to evaluate their properties for confined spaces because they can be certain that any inspection by Cal/OSHA will include a check for confined spaces.