Exposures to oxygen-deficient environments, harmful substances or explosive atmospheres are just some of the potential hazards facing workers dealing with confined spaces (an enclosed area with limited access, including vessels, silos, tanks or pits). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 there were 114 fatalities from exposure to noxious substances and 63 fatalities from oxygen deficiency.
The Z117.1 standard covers these the following aspects of confined space requirements:
- Identification and evaluation of a confined space;
- Emergency response and rescue;
- Permit and non-permit requirements;
- Atmospheric testing, isolation and decontamination;
- Lockout/tagout safeguarding procedures;
- Personal protection equipment; and
- Warning sign requirements.
Approved by ANSI in February 2003, the revised Z117.1-2003 voluntary consensus standard is performance-related, and it is not intended to replace existing standards or procedures.
The Z117.1-2003 standard has been referenced by government agencies such as OSHA, NIOSH and the Department of Energy.
The ANSI Z117 Accredited Standards Committee, which ASSE serves as secretariat of, will meet within the next year to discuss future revisions of the standard.
For more information or to order the Z117.1-2003 standard visit http://www.asse.org/Z117.