California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the Oakland Fire Department teamed up on Feb. 14 to launch Cal/OSHA’s new confined space special emphasis program. In a news conference attended by Bay Area media at the department’s training center, DOSH Chief Ellen Widess explained the genesis of the program and how important it is for employers to be aware of potential confined spaces in their workplaces. “There is no room for error,” she said.
Elizabeth Treanor of Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable noted that member companies of her organization are developing a set of assessment tools to help employers improve their confined space programs. Michael Gonzales of the United Steel Workers union said in oil refineries, which the union represents, confined spaces are considered “quiet killers” and it takes careful planning to keep rescue crews ready.
A demonstration of a confined space rescue by the fire department was designed to impart the message that such retrievals are time consuming and employers should not rely on emergency responders as their first line of defense.
Click the accompanying video forCal-OSHA Reporter coverage of the event.