Permit-required confined spaces aren’t just sewer pipes. Semi-trailers can be hazardous too. Hear about hazards in three trailer types, empty and loaded.
In this 3½ minute podcast, Dan Clark describes OSHA’s standard on PRCS (permit-required confined spaces) for big-rigs.
Dan also defines confined spaces (CS), and offers tips on CS and PRCS programs for safety managers.
(:00) intro music and effects
(:04) Dan Clark: When you think of confined spaces in the workplace, a truck probably isn’t the first space that comes to mind. Semi-trailers, though, can be confined spaces in certain situations. In some cases they can even be permit-required confined spaces. We’ll stare down the throat of this not-so-obvious safety issue next.
Hello I’m Dan Clark with The Safety Brief. We go toe-to-toe with health and safety hazards in today’s unpredictable industrial and construction worksites brought to you by creativesafetysupply.com. Hey, slice 10 percent off your web order with coupon code BIG10.
(:43) OSHA’s picky about tanks, storage bins, tunnels, sewers, silos, closets and cubbyholes. They’re confined spaces. Semi-trailers can be just as dangerous to workers. They can be considered confined spaces or permit-required confined spaces.
THE OSHA STANDARD. Well, lets see. What’s up with these two designations?
CONFINED SPACE, or CS:
• It’s a space large enough for a person to enter and perform work; • Has limited or restricted entry and exit; and • Isn’t meant for continuous occupancy
(1:17) PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, or PRCS. Has all of the above, plus:
• A hazard. Examples:
○ A hazardous atmosphere; ○ The chance of material engulfing a worker; ○ Walls or floors that slope inward and could trap someone; ○ Risk of electrocution; ○ Unguarded machinery; and more.
TYPES OF SEMI-TRAILERS AND THEIR RISKS. Let’s look at the three types and how they rank when they’re empty and loaded.
1. Open top semi-trailers.
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• When empty, they are confined spaces if there’s no open exit door or other means of getting out of there. • When carrying a load such, as soil, sand or wood chips they are permit-required confined spaces. The hazard is present. The contents could engulf a person.
(2:04) 2. Semi-trailers with a normal configuration of doors at the back.
• When empty, they are not confined spaces if the doors are secured open. If the doors are closed they are confined spaces. • When carrying a load, it depends on the contents. If what’s inside presents a hazard in any way, the semi trailer could be considered PRCS.
3. Tank trailers. Let me poke my head in one here.
• When empty, they are confined spaces. Always. At a minimum. Yes, there is a hatch here but it’s no quick means of exit. • When carrying a load, they could be PRCS if the contents could create a hazard. Hazards include someone being engulfed, a hazardous atmosphere, and more.
(2:51) SO, WHAT’S A MANAGER TO DO?
Have a confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces program. This should include:
• Identifying and labeling semi-trailers as CS or PRCS; • Having rules for going into these spaces; and • Doing confined space training with the workers.
For more detailed info about PRCSs, listen to our podcast titled “Permit-Required Confined Spaces” at thesafetybrief.com. It’s linked in the transcript of this episode.
(3:22) That’s a wrap on this podcast, Are Semi-Trailers Permit-Required Confined Spaces? Come back to stay safe and safety compliant in today’s turbulent world of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a presentation of Creative Safety Supply. Shave 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with bonus coupon BIG10.
Semi-trailers and agents images 2010 by U.S. Customs Border Protection / Donna Burton; Tank trailer 2010 by U.S. Dept. Of Energy