Confined spaces are any work environments that restrict employee movement. In some cases, permits are required when workers must move through narrow openings and perform duties while confined to small areas. Confined work spaces commonly include areas such as:
- Ship holds
What Injuries Commonly Happen in a Confined Work Space?
- Bad air quality;
- Chemical exposures and radiation;
- Fires and explosions;
- Hazardous noise;
- Uncontrolled energy, such as electrical shock; and
- Other safety risks, such as structural problems, slips, and falls.
Is It Inherently Dangerous to Work in a Confined Space?
While not all confined spaces are problematic, certain areas should be approached with extra care and concern. In some instances, employment conditions will always be extremely dangerous and potentially lethal. However, some disasters occur in seemingly safe places. Due to the high risk of confined spaces, workers and employers should err on the side of caution and know how to effectively respond during an emergency.
Is an Employer Responsible for Injuries in a Confined Space?
Under regulations set by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are responsible for providing workspaces that are free from hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. An employer made be responsible for an employee’s injury if the employer fails to:
- Conduct the proper tests
- Follow correct testing procedures
- Hold a permit for entrance to the confined space
Furthermore, if an employee is working in a specialized area, such as construction or a shipyard, their employer is subject to additional rules regarding your health and safety that absolutely must be followed.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you are concerned about the precautions your employer is taking while you are performing a task in a confined work space, or if you have been injured while working in a confined space, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. An employment lawyer or workers compensation lawyer will be able to answer the questions you have about your work situation and inform you of your rights under federal and state laws.