Over one-quarter of the work-related deaths occurred when workers entered elevator shafts to repair or maintain elevators, or to perform activities such as cleaning, welding, and retrieving fallen objects. Beginning October 2, 2015, Elevator construction and maintenance companies will have to follow the new confined spaces regulations. A confined space is now defined as: large enough to get your body in, limited or restricted means for entry and exit, and not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Specifically, “pits” are identified as a potential confined space, with elevator pits used as a specific example in OSHA’s explanation of the new rule. If the confined space has any additional hazards it becomes a permitted confined space. OSHA’s permit-required confined space standard calls for informing employees about the existence, location, and danger of permit-required confined spaces and also providing a written (safety) program as well as elimination of, or protection against, hazards before entry, and rescue procedures. For confined spaces requiring a permit, the Elevator Company generates their own permit not a government agency.
Communication is key to following the new confined space rule. OSHA is asking employers to document their standard operating procedure for permit required confined spaces and to make sure procedures are followed for general confined spaces so if something goes wrong, the OSHA can track what happened. The rule also ensures a level of quality management so employees that are working in these confined spaces know what the procedures are for working in there. It all goes to making sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. Employees will also have to be trained on the hazards that may be found in the confined space and permit-required confined space.
Many of the elevator-related deaths could have been prevented if adequate maintenance and inspection procedures had been in place in the involved buildings. Many of the deaths also could have been prevented with proper training and having only properly licensed and qualified employees working at the site.
Using the proper Elevator Contractor Management Software will insure your company is compliant with OSHA’s new rule and help prevent accidents before they happen. Safety manuals and equipment handbooks can be accessible on mobile apps, technicians can communicate with the office immediately or see which qualified technicians are available and in the area for help, checklists can be done on-line and the back office will know immediately when tasks are complete or if something was missed. As well, you can schedule regular maintenance calls so no inspection or procedure ever gets missed again.