Occupational and Construction Safety

Confined Space

1.0  Introduction

Many workplaces contain spaces which are considered "confined" because their configuration can hinder the activities of employees who must work in them. In addition, there are many instances where employees who work in confined spaces face increased risk of exposure to serious hazards. Some confined spaces pose entrapment hazards, while others restrict air circulation so that hazardous atmospheres may accumulate. Other hazards include exposure to electrical shock, contact with chemicals, heat stress, and moving parts of machinery. OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" to describe those spaces which meet the definition of "confined space" and pose health or safety hazards.

2.0   Definitions

Atmosphere-controlled confined space - A permit-required confined space in which potential or actual atmospheric hazards can be controlled with continuous forced mechanical ventilation. Entrants are not required to use a retrieval system.

Attendant - an individual stationed outside the permit space who monitors the authorized entrants

Confined space - a space that is large enough for an employee to bodily enter and perform assigned work, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous occupation.

Entry permit - a written document provided by the employer to allow and control entry into a permit space

Entry supervisor - a person responsible for determining if acceptable entry conditions are present, for authorizing entry and overseeing entry operations, and for terminating entry

Fully regulated permit-required confined space - A permit-required space that contains a hazard that cannot be controlled or eliminated. Entry into this space requires a retrieval system.

Hazardous atmosphere - Atmospheric conditions are considered hazardous if oxygen levels are less than 19.5% or greater than 23.5%, a combustible gas is greater than 10% of its lower explosive limit (LEL), a toxic substance exceeds an OSHA or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) limit, an airborne combustible dust obscures vision at five feet or less, or any atmospheric condition recognized as immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).

Hot work permit - the employer's written authorization to perform operations capable of providing a source of ignition (e.g., welding, cutting, and brazing)

Non-permit confined space - a confined space that does not contain or have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm

Permit required-confined space - a confined space that contains one or more of the following characteristics:

  • A known or potentially hazardous atmosphere.
  • An engulfment hazard.
  • Has an internal configuration that could trap a worker.
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.

Retrieval system - equipment used for non-entry rescue of persons from permit spaces. Includes a retrieval line, chest or full-body harness and a lifting device or anchor.

3.0  Program

  1. Radford University will comply with the Standard by developing and implementing a written Permit-Required Confined Space Entry Program. The program will include provisions for employee training, hazard identification and control, permit system, and rescue procedures.
  2. This program applies to all permit spaces except telecommunication manholes, which are covered by a separate standard.
  3. The program is maintained in the Facilities Management Department and the Safety Office and is updated as necessary by the Safety Manager. The program is available in the Facilities Management Library for inspection by employees.

4.0   Identification of spaces

  1. A survey to identify permit-required confined spaces at the university will be conducted by the Safety Office and the Facilities Management Department. The inventory will be maintained in the Facilities Management Department and the Safety Office and updated by the Safety Manager.
  2. Confined spaces will be identified by signs, lists, color coding, and/or training programs. Affected employees will be notified of the hazards and that only authorized individuals may enter these spaces.
  3. Confined spaces will be classified as non-permit or permit-required. Permit-required spaces will be classified as atmosphere-controlled or fully regulated spaces.

5.0  Training

  1. All personnel involved in confined space work shall receive appropriate training in hazard recognition, personal protective equipment, safety equipment, communications equipment, procedures for calling rescue services, and proper use of rescue equipment. Training shall be performed before the employee is assigned duties in confined spaces.
  2. Training will be conducted under the coordination and supervision of the Safety Office. Retraining will be performed at least annually. Training records will be maintained by the Safety Manager.
  3. At least one member of the rescue team will receive training in basic first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and maintain a current certification.
  4. Workers will be trained in the hazards associated with special work practices such as welding, cutting, and the use of chemicals.
  5. Individuals who perform atmospheric testing will be trained by the Safety Manager. Training will cover field checks, normal use, and specific limitations of the equipment.

6.0  Testing the Atmosphere

  1. The atmosphere in all permit-required confined spaces shall be tested for oxygen concentration, combustible gases, and known or suspected toxic substances immediately prior to entry. A properly calibrated direct reading gas monitor will be used. Calibration will be performed at least every six months by the Safety Office. Prior to use, the equipment will be field checked to ensure that it is operating properly. Gas detector tubes may also be used to test potentially toxic atmospheres.
  2. Atmosphere testing must be performed by a person qualified by the Safety Office. From outside the structure, sampling will be performed at various levels within the confined space, and around all conduits, pipes, or cables. Sampling will be started at the top of the vessel to detect the presence of lighter than air combustibles and toxins. Sampling may be performed with a remote probe. "Listed" intrinsically safe equipment will be used if the monitor is lowered into the confined space.
  3. The atmosphere shall be tested in the following order: oxygen concentration, combustible gases, and toxic materials. Results will be written on the entry permit. If the test instrument indicates the atmosphere is safe and there is no potential for a hazardous atmosphere, workers will be allowed into the space without respiratory protection.
  4. The Facilities Management Director, Assistant Director, or the Safety Manager must be notified immediately if atmospheric conditions are hazardous. Entry will be prohibited until conditions are brought into acceptable limits by purging, cleaning and/or ventilating the space, or appropriate respiratory equipment is worn. Respirators must be approved by the Safety Office.
  5. Testing will be repeated at least hourly or more often depending on the possibility of changing conditions. Monitoring must be continuous if the potential for a hazardous atmosphere exists. For example, continuous monitoring is required for entry into sewers and during welding operations. Atmosphere testing must be recorded on the entry permit.
  6. Any employee who enters the space will be provided an opportunity to observe the pre-entry testing and any periodic testing.
  7. Authorized entrants will be immediately provided with the results of the testing.

7.0  Physical Hazards

  1. If the space poses serious health or safety hazards other than atmospheric either the hazards must be eliminated prior to entry or the space must be entered using retrieval equipment.
  2. If energized parts of electrical equipment are exposed, the circuit parts must be de-energized and tagged or locked out. Mechanical sources in a confined space that could be hazardous must be tagged and locked out or guarded.
  3. Belt and chain drives and mechanical linkages on shaft-driven equipment will be disconnected where possible.
  4. Mechanical moving parts within a confined space will be secured with latches, chains, chocks, blocks, or other devices.
  5. All pumps or lines which convey flammable, injurious, toxic or oxygen displacing gases into a confined space shall be disconnected, or effectively isolated to prevent the development of a hazard in the space. The closing and locking of valves alone are not considered effective protection.

8.0  Mechanical Ventilation

  1. Continuous forced mechanical ventilation must be used in all permit-required confined spaces that contain a known or potential atmospheric hazard.
  2. Mechanical ventilation must be used regardless of initial monitoring results if a potential for a hazardous atmosphere still exists. The potential for a hazardous atmosphere will be determined by supervision in consultation with the Safety Manager.
  3. Ventilation systems used in flammable atmosphere shall be explosion-proof and appropriately rated for the hazard. Air will be from a clean source. Oxygen will not be used to ventilate a confined space.
  4. If a hazardous atmosphere is detected, employees will not enter the space until the hazardous atmosphere has been eliminated by continuous forced air ventilation. If it is possible for the hazardous atmosphere to return then retrieval equipment must be worn.
  5. The forced air will be directed to the immediate vicinity where an employee is or will be present within the space. Ventilation shall continue until all employees have left the space. 

9.0  Entry Permits

  1. A fully completed entry permit will be prepared by the entry supervisor prior to entry into a permit-required confined space. The entry supervisor will be in charge of the entry and must be approved by the Director of Facilities Management and the Safety Manager.
  2. The entry supervisor will ensure that the permit specifies the location, type of work, type of space, personal protective measures, authorized entrants, monitoring equipment and calibration date, hazards of the permit space, atmosphere testing, and control measures. Rescue equipment and rescue services will also be included on the permit.
  3. The permit will be dated and carry an expiration time limiting the work to one shift (12 hours). The permit may be extended for another shift if conditions are still acceptable.
  4. The entry supervisor shall sign the permit prior to allowing entry and ensure that entry operations remain consistent with the terms on the permit. The entry must be terminated if a potential hazardous situation occurs which exceeds the conditions authorized on the permit.
  5. The permit will be available at the work site outside the confined space for inspection by all workers.
  6. All confined space entry permits will be turned into the department supervisor after the work is completed. The Safety Office will keep the permits and related information for a minimum of three years.
  7. Hot work (potential ignition sources) shall be authorized on a separate hot work permit and attached and noted on the entry permit.
  8. Entry supervisors may also serve as entrants or attendants.
  9. After the entry has been completed the permit will be canceled by the entry supervisor. Cancellation of the permit indicates that the space is ready to be returned to its normal operating mode.
  10. Entry permits will be reviewed yearly. The program will be revised as necessary to ensure that the health and safety of employees are not compromised.
  11. The space will be reevaluated and a new permit issued if an entrant has reason to believe that the evaluation may not have been adequate.

10.0  Entry Procedures

All permit-required confined spaces

  1. Only individuals authorized and trained by the Safety Office are allowed to enter a permit-required confined space.
  2. The Safety Manager, Director of Facilities Management, and/or entry supervisors will evaluate the space for potential atmospheric and physical hazards prior to entry. Hazards will be controlled or eliminated if possible.
  3. An entry permit will be properly completed by an entry supervisor prior to entry into the confined space.
  4. Any condition making it unsafe to remove an entrance cover will be eliminated before the cover is removed. When a cover has been removed, the opening shall be promptly guarded to prevent an accidental fall through the opening and prevent objects from falling into the hole. Appropriate vehicle and pedestrian barriers will be used to protect workers. Cylinders of compressed gases, except those used with SCBAs, shall never be taken into a confined space.
  5. Any entry into a permit-required confined space will require atmosphere testing for oxygen content, flammable gases and vapors, and potential toxic air contaminants by a properly trained individual. The Director of Facilities Management, Assistant Director, or the Safety Manager must be notified prior to entering a permit-required confined space that contains a hazardous atmosphere.
  6. An attendant with a communication device will remain outside the permit space during all entries.
  7. During confined space entry, all safety rules and procedures must be followed. Metal ladders will not be used when working around electrical equipment. Adequate lighting will be provided. There shall be no smoking in a confined space.
  8. Continuous forced air mechanical ventilation must be used if there is a hazardous or potentially hazardous atmosphere in the space. Any use of chemicals, welding, cutting, or soldering must be approved by supervision and the Safety Manager.
  9. Personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators, will be provided to workers as necessary for safe entry into the confined space. All PPE must be approved by the Safety Manager.
  10. Electrical equipment used in the confined space must be appropriate for the hazard and meet the requirements of the National Electric Code if a hazardous atmosphere is present. Electrical cords, tools, and equipment will be visually inspected for defects prior to use in a confined space. All electrical equipment must be connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter.
  11. Entry operations will be reviewed if there is reason to believe that the measures taken under this program are not adequate to protect employees. The program will be revised as necessary to correct problems.

Atmosphere controlled permit spaces

  1. If the only hazard posed by the permit space is an actual or potential hazardous atmosphere that can be controlled by continuous forced air ventilation alone, workers may enter the space without retrieval equipment.
  2. Flammable and toxic atmospheres must be less than 50% of a "hazardous atmosphere" to qualify as an atmosphere-controlled space.
  3. Continuous monitoring must be performed. Monitoring results must be documented on the entry permit every hour.

Fully regulated permit spaces

  1. Workers entering a permit space containing an uncontrolled hazardous atmosphere or other uncontrolled serious health or safety hazard will wear full retrieval equipment.
  2. Full retrieval equipment must be worn if it is likely that the hazardous atmosphere will return.
  3. Monitoring must be continuous if a hazardous atmosphere is detected.
  4. Each individual entering a confined space containing an uncontrolled hazardous atmosphere, a potential for engulfment, or other serious health or safety hazard will have a safety line attached to a chest or full body harness. The other end of the line will be secured to an anchor point or lifting device outside the entry portal. The anchor point will not be a motor vehicle. When entry is made through a top opening, a lifting device such as a tripod will be used for lifting employees out of the space.
  5. An individual may enter a confined space containing a hazardous atmosphere without a lifeline if a positive-pressure SCBA or air-line respirator with a 10 minute escape bottle is worn.
  6. The Safety Office and The Radford City Fire Department will be notified prior to the entry.

Non-permit confined spaces

  1. When there are changes in the use of a non-permit confined space that may increase the hazards, the space will be re-evaluated and classified as a permit-required space if necessary.
  2. A space classified as a permit-required confined space may be re-classified as a non-permit space if the following conditions are met:
  • The space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazard
  • All hazards are eliminated prior to entry (control of atmospheric hazards through forced air ventilation does not constitute elimination of hazards)
  • If it is necessary to enter the permit space to eliminate hazards entry must be performed in according to the requirements of an atmosphere-controlled space or fully regulated space.

11.0  Duties

Entry Supervisor

The entry supervisor will:

  • Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs, or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure
  • Complete the entry permit, conduct air monitoring, and verify that all tests specified by the permit have been conducted
  • Ensure that all entries are performed according to these regulations and that safety and communication equipment is available
  • Ensure that only authorized individuals enter the permit space
  • Ensure that entry operations remain consistent with the terms of the permit
  • Terminate the entry and cancel the permit

Authorized Entrants

Authorized entrants will:

  • Know the atmospheric and physical hazards that may be faced during entry
  • Receive training in how to use safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and communication equipment.
  • Maintain communication with the attendant as necessary to enable the attendant to monitor the status of the entrants.
  • Notify the attendant whenever the entrant recognizes any warning sign or symptom that may indicate exposure to a hazardous atmosphere or notes a possible dangerous condition.
  • Exit from the space as quickly as possible whenever the attendant or supervisor orders an evacuation, the entrants detect a hazardous condition, or the monitor alarms indicating a hazardous atmosphere

Attendants

Attendants will:

  • Receive training in hazard recognition and rescue procedures
  • Remain outside the confined space at all times during entry operations and observe the actions of workers
  • Remain in constant communication with the entrants and order the workers to leave if an unsuspected hazard occurs or a toxic reaction is observed in a worker
  • Warn unauthorized persons not to enter the confined space
  • Be equipped with a communications device capable of contacting a base operator or the emergency rescue team directly
  • Not enter the confined space for rescue purposes until help has arrived
  • Continuously maintain an accurate count of authorized entrants in the permit space.

12.0  Rescue Team

Self-rescue retrieval equipment is required for entry into permit-required spaces that:

  • Contains a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a serious uncontrolled health or safety hazard
  • Contains a controlled hazardous atmosphere that is likely to reappear
  1. The attendant will immediately radio the appropriate base operator or contact the rescue team directly with a mobile phone if a confined space emergency occurs. The Facilities Management base operator will be notified during normal working hours. The Campus Police Department base operator will be notified after normal working hours. The base operator will acknowledge the call and contact rescue personnel. The Fire Chief, or his designate, will be in charge and coordinate the rescue effort.
  2. After placing the rescue call, the attendant will attempt to retrieve the worker if the worker is connected to a life line. Under no circumstance will the attendant enter the confined space until help has arrived, and then only with the proper rescue equipment. Attendants participating in the rescue effort will receive specialized training in rescue techniques.
  3. Rescuers entering a hazardous atmosphere or unknown atmosphere shall wear a self-contained breathing apparatus or a positive pressure airline respirator with a ten minute escape bottle of air. An attendant will remain outside the confined space during rescue efforts. Rescuers must wear appropriate protective clothing. Air-purifying respirators shall not be used in confined space rescues.
  4. Rescue breathing equipment is not required if the cause of the emergency is clearly due to a condition other than a hazardous atmosphere.

13.0  Rescue Procedures

Self-rescue retrieval equipment is required for entry into permit-required spaces that:

  • Contains a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a serious uncontrolled health or safety hazard
  • Contains a controlled hazardous atmosphere that is likely to reappear
  1. The attendant will immediately radio the appropriate base operator or contact the rescue team directly with a mobile phone if a confined space emergency occurs. The Facilities Management base operator will be notified during normal working hours. The Campus Police Department base operator will be notified after normal working hours. The base operator will acknowledge the call and contact rescue personnel. The Fire Chief, or his designate, will be in charge and coordinate the rescue effort.
  2. After placing the rescue call, the attendant will attempt to retrieve the worker if the worker is connected to a life line. Under no circumstance will the attendant enter the confined space until help has arrived, and then only with the proper rescue equipment. Attendants participating in the rescue effort will receive specialized training in rescue techniques.
  3. Rescuers entering a hazardous atmosphere or unknown atmosphere shall wear a self-contained breathing apparatus or a positive pressure airline respirator with a ten minute escape bottle of air. An attendant will remain outside the confined space during rescue efforts. Rescuers must wear appropriate protective clothing. Air-purifying respirators shall not be used in confined space rescues.
  4. Rescue breathing equipment is not required if the cause of the emergency is clearly due to a condition other than a hazardous atmosphere.

14.0  Contractors

1. Radford University will:

  • Inform contractors that the workplace contains permit-required confined spaces and the hazards in the spaces
  • Inform contractors that entry must be done in compliance with OSHA regulations
  • Apprise contractors of any precautions or procedures that the university has implemented for the protection of workers
  • Coordinate entry operations with the contractor when both university and contractor personnel will be working in the space
  • Debrief the contractor at the end of the entry concerning any hazards confronted or created in the space

2. The contractor will:

  • Comply with OSHA regulations
  • Obtain any information regarding hazards in permit spaces from the university
  • Coordinate entry operations with the university when both university and contractor workers will be in the space
  • Inform the university of the permit space program the contractor will follow
  • Inform the university of any hazards confronted or created in the space

Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Building Survey

Building Permit Space Notes
Allen Manholes  
Allen Electrical vault  
Art Annex Manhole Electrical Control Room
Boiler Plant Manholes  
Boiler Plant Boilers  
Boiler Plant Hotwells Two
Bolling Manholes  
Brown House Manholes  
Buchanan House Manholes  
Davis Manholes  
Dedmond Center Manholes  
Dedmond Center Irrigation Manhole Lower Field by river
Dedmond Center Square Top Storm Drains Near Entrance
Draper Manholes  
Floyd Manholes  
Fountain Access Hatch  
Heth Manholes  
Ingles Manholes  
Jefferson Manholes  
Library Manholes  
Lucas Manholes  
Madison Manholes  
Martin Manholes  
Moffet Manholes  
Muse Manholes  
Muse Manhole By cooling Tower
Muse Electrical Vault Large vault with grating
Norwood Manholes  
Perry Manholes  
Peters Manholes  
Pocahontas Manholes  
Preston Manholes  
Preston 2x2 access hole for water pipe  
Russel Manholes  
Stuart Manholes  
Walker Manholes  
Washington Manholes  
Whitt Manholes  
Young Manholes  

The following are not permit required confined spaces:

  • Steam tunnels
  • Crawl spaces
  • Window wells
  • Electrical vaults with walk in doors
  • Trash shoots
  • 42 inch sump hole in the Boiler Plant
  • Ice storage tanks near Dalton and Davis
  • Electrical vault at Powell
  • Large hatch covered space under tree by Muse
  • Two large hatch covered spaces corner Norwood and Tyler

Excavating and Trenching

1.0 Introduction

Excavation and trenching cave-ins result in more than one hundred fatalities annually in the United States. With little or no warning, an unsupported, improperly shored or sloped trench or excavation wall can collapse, trapping workers below in seconds. For each fatality there are an estimated fifty related serious injuries annually. In addition to human losses the financial costs can be enormous--property damage, work stoppage, and workers' compensation.

The purpose of this program is to protect employees from hazards that may be encountered while working in trenches and excavations. The program includes provisions for employee training, hazard identification and control, and safe work practices that must be followed while working in an excavation or trench. This program complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P.

2.0 Scope

This program applies to all open excavation made in the earth's surface, including trenches. It covers all employees that work in or around excavations.

3.0 Definitions

Accepted engineering practices - the standards of practice required by a registered professional engineer.

Aluminum Hydraulic Shoring - a manufactured shoring system consisting of aluminum hydraulic cylinders (crossbraces) used with vertical rails (uprights) or horizontal rails (wales). This system is designed to support the sidewalls of an excavation and prevent cave-ins.

Bell-bottom pier hole - a type of shaft or footing excavation in which the bottom is made larger than the cross section above to form a belled shape.

Benching - a method of protecting employees from cave-ins by excavating the sides of an excavation to form horizontal steps, usually with vertical or near-vertical surfaces between levels.

Cave-in - the sudden movement of soil or rock into an excavation, or the loss of soil from under a trench shield or support system, in amounts large enough to trap, bury, or injure a person.

Competent person - one who has been trained to identify hazards in the surroundings or working conditions and has the authority to have these hazards promptly corrected. For purposes of this standard, a competent person must have specific training in, and be knowledgeable about, soil analysis, protective systems, and the requirements of this standard. The competent person shall determine the means of protection (sloping back the sides of the excavation, use of trench shields, or shoring) that will be used for each excavation project.

Cross braces - the horizontal members of a shoring system installed perpendicular to the sides of the excavation. The cross braces bear against either uprights or wales.

Excavation - any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface formed by earth removal.

Faces or sides - the vertical or inclined earth surfaces formed as a result of excavation work.

Failure - the movement or damage of a structural member or connection that makes it unable to support loads.

Hazardous atmosphere - an atmosphere that is explosive, flammable, corrosive, oxidizing, irritating, oxygen deficient, toxic, or otherwise harmful, that may cause death, illness, or injury.

Kickout - the accidental movement or failure of a crossbrace.

Protective System - a method of protecting employees from cave-ins from material that could fall from an excavation face or into an excavation, or from the collapse of adjacent structures. Protective systems include shoring, sloping, shield systems or other systems that provide the necessary protection.

Ramp - an incline walking or working surface used to gain access to one point from another. A ramp is constructed of earth or structural materials such as steel or wood.

Sheeting - the members of a shoring system that retain the earth in position and in turn are supported by other members of the shoring system.

Shield - a structure that withstands cave-ins and protects employees working within the shield system. Shields can be permanent structures or portable units moved along as work progresses. Shields used in trenches are usually called "trench boxes" or "trench shields." Shields do not generally prevent cave-ins but protect employees if a cave-in occurs.

Shoring - a structure that supports the sides of an excavation to prevent cave-ins. Shoring systems may be hydraulic, mechanical, or made from timber.

Sloping - inclining the sides away from the excavation to protect employees from cave-ins. The required slope will vary with soil type, weather, and surface loads that may affect the soil in the area of the trench (such as adjacent buildings, vehicles near the edge of the trench)

Stable rock - natural solid mineral material that can be excavated with vertical sides that will remain intact while exposed. Rock which contains visible fractures or seams, or rock (e.g., shale) which is interlayed with clay or soil does not constitute stable rock.

Structural ramp - a ramp built of steel or wood, usually used for vehicle access. Ramps made of soil or rock are not considered structural ramps.

Support system - a structure such as underpinning, bracing, or shoring, which provides support to an adjacent structure, underground installation, or the sides of an excavation.

Tabulated Data - tables and charts approved by a registered professional engineer used to design and construct a protective system.

Trench - a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth is greater than the width. The width of a trench measured at the bottom is less than 15 feet.

Uprights - the vertical members of a trench shoring system placed in contact with the earth and usually positioned so that individual members do not contact each other. Uprights spaced so that individual members are closely spaced, in contact with or interconnected to each other are often called "sheeting."

Wales - horizontal members of a shoring system placed parallel to the excavation face whose sides bear against the vertical members of the shoring system or earth (the uprights or sheeting).

4.0  General Requirements

Training

  1. All personnel involved in excavation work shall be trained in the requirements of this program. Training will be conducted by the Safety Manager or other knowledgeable person.
  2. Training shall be performed before the employee is assigned duties in excavations.
  3. Retraining will be performed whenever a supervisor or the Safety Manager determines that an employee does not have the knowledge or skills to safely work in excavations.
  4. Training records will be maintained in the Safety Office. These records shall include the date of the training program, the instructor, and a copy of the written material presented.
  5. Appropriate training will include:
    1. Recognition of potential hazards.
    2. Safe work practices that must be followed while working in excavations.
    3. Personal protective equipment required during work in excavations.
    4. Procedures to be followed if a hazardous atmosphere exists or could reasonably be expected to develop.
    5. Emergency and non-entry rescue methods, and procedures for calling rescue service.
    6. Ladder safety.

Pre-work Site Inspection

  1. Before excavation, the site will be thoroughly inspected by a competent person for any conditions requiring precautionary safety measures.
  2. All equipment, materials, permanent installations, trees, and other objects at the surface that could present a hazard to employees working in the excavation shall be removed or supported as necessary.

Underground Installations

  1. The location of sewers, telephones, fuel, electric, water lines, or any other underground installations that may be encountered shall be determined before opening an excavation.
  2. If it is not possible to establish the exact location of these installations, the work may proceed with caution if detection equipment or other safe means are used to locate the utility.
  3. Work shall be done in a manner that does not endanger underground installations or employees. While the excavation is open, underground installations shall be protected, supported, or removed to protect employees.

Stability of Adjacent Structures

  1. Support systems (such as shoring, bracing, or underpinning) shall be used to assure the stability of structures and the protection of employees if excavation operations could affect the stability of adjoining buildings, walls, or other structures.
  2. Excavation below the level of the base or footing of a foundation or retaining wall that could pose a hazard to employees shall not be allowed unless:
    1. A support system, such as underpinning, is provided to ensure the safety of employees and the stability of the structure or
    2. The excavation is in stable rock or
    3. A registered professional engineer has approved the determination that the structure is sufficiently removed from the excavation and will be unaffected by the excavation activity or
    4. A registered professional engineer has approved the determination that the excavation work will not pose a hazard to employees.
  3. Sidewalks, pavements, and collateral structures shall not be undermined unless a support system or other method of protection is provided.

Protection of the Public

  1. Guardrails, fences, or barricades shall be provided on excavations adjacent to walkways, driveways and other pedestrian or vehicle thoroughfares.
  2. Warning lights shall be maintained as necessary for the safety of the public at night.

5.0  Protection for Workers

Protection Systems

  1. Employees in an excavation shall be protected from cave-ins by using an appropriate sloping, shoring, or shielding system. The only exceptions are:
    1. Excavations made entirely in stable rock; or
    2. Excavations less than 5 feet deep where examination by a competent person provides no signs of a potential cave-in.
  2. Protective systems shall be capable of resisting all loads that could reasonably be expected to be applied to the system.
  3. Protective systems for excavations under 20 feet shall be designed by a knowledgeable person. Systems shall be inspected daily, prior to work, by a competent person. Protective systems over 20 feet deep must be designed by a registered professional engineer.

Access and Means of Egress

  1. Stairs, ladders, ramps or other safe means shall be provided where employees enter trench excavations over 4 feet deep.
  2. The maximum distance along the length of the trench to reach the means of egress shall not exceed 25 feet.
  3. The sloped end of a trench may be used to enter the trench if employees can walk the ramp in an upright manner. A knotted rope line may not be used to assist employees using sloped areas as access to trenches.
  4. Lifting equipment such as backhoes, shall not be used to move employees into and out of the trench.

Structural Ramps

  1. Structural ramps used solely by employees for access or egress from excavations shall be designed by a competent person.
  2. Structural ramps used for equipment shall be designed by a competent person qualified in structural design.
  3. Ramps and runways constructed of two or more structural members shall be connected together to prevent movement. Structural members shall be of uniform thickness. Cleats or other appropriate means used to connect runway structural members shall be attached to the bottom of the runway or shall be attached in a manner to prevent tripping.
  4. Structural ramps used for steps shall be provided with cleats or other surface treatments to prevent slipping.

Ladders

  1. When portable ladders are used, the ladder side rails shall extend a minimum of 3 feet above the surface of the excavation.
  2. Ladders shall have nonconductive side rails if work is performed near exposed energized equipment.
  3. Ladders will be inspected before use for signs of damage or defects. Damaged ladders will be removed from service and marked "Do Not Use" until repaired.
  4. Ladders shall be used on stable and level surfaces unless secured. Ladders placed where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic shall be secured or barricaded to keep activities away from the ladder.
  5. Extension ladders shall be positioned so that the foot of the ladder is one-quarter of the working length away from the support. Employees shall not carry any object or load while on the ladder that could cause them to lose their balance.

Exposure to Vehicular Traffic

  1. Employees exposed to vehicular traffic (not just directing traffic) shall wear warning vests or other high-visibility garments.

Openings

  1. Wells, holes, pits, shafts, and all similar hazardous excavations shall be effectively barricaded or covered and posted as necessary to prevent unauthorized access.
  2. All temporary excavations of this type shall be backfilled as soon as possible.

Employee Exposure to Falling Loads

  1. Employees shall not work underneath loads handled by lifting or digging equipment.
  2. Employees shall stand away from any vehicle being loaded or unloaded
  3. Operators may remain in the cabs of vehicles being loaded or unloaded if the vehicles provide adequate protection.

Warning System for Mobile Equipment

  1. A warning system shall be used when mobile equipment is operated near the edge of an excavation if the operator does not have a clear view of the edge.
  2. The warning system shall consist of barricades, hand or mechanical signals, or stop logs.
  3. A warning system is not required for mobile equipment used to push soil back into the trench.

Hazardous Atmospheres

  1. A qualified individual will test the atmosphere in excavations over four feet deep if a hazardous atmosphere is possible. The qualified individual will be trained by the Safety Office. A hazardous atmosphere may exist, for example, in excavations in landfill areas, where hazardous substances are stored, or near gas pipelines.
  2. Adequate precautions will be taken to prevent exposures to atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen and other hazardous atmospheres. These precautions include proper respiratory protection or forced mechanical ventilation.
  3. Forced mechanical ventilation shall be used to prevent exposure to an atmosphere containing a flammable gas in excess of 10 percent of its lower flammability limit.
  4. When controls are used to reduce the level of atmospheric contaminants to acceptable limits, continuous air monitoring will be performed. The device used for atmospheric monitoring will be equipped with an audible and visual alarm.
  5. Atmospheric testing will be performed using a properly calibrated direct reading gas monitor. Direct reading gas detector tubes or other acceptable means may also be used to test potentially toxic atmospheres.
  6. Atmospheric testing instruments shall be calibrated at least every six months by the Safety Office.
  7. Each atmospheric testing instrument will be field checked immediately before use to ensure that it is operating properly.
  8. Emergency rescue equipment such as breathing apparatus, safety harness and line, and a tripod shall be readily available where hazardous atmospheres may develop in an excavation. Only personnel that have approved training and appropriate equipment shall attempt retrieval into a hazardous atmosphere.
  9. If entry into a known hazardous atmosphere must be performed, the Safety Office shall be given advanced notice so hazards can be evaluated and rescue personnel placed on standby.

Personal Protective Equipment

  1. All employees working in trenches or excavations shall wear approved hardhats and steel toed shoes.
  2. Employees exposed to flying fragments, dust, or other similar materials shall wear approved safety glasses with side shields.
  3. Employees exposed to hazards produced by welding, cutting or brazing operations shall use approved spectacles, faceshield, or helmet.
  4. Employees entering bell-bottom pier holes or other similar deep and confined footing excavations shall wear a harness with a lifeline attached to it. The lifeline shall be separate from any line used to handle materials and be individually attended at all times while the employee is in the excavation.
  5. As necessary, employees shall wear appropriate gloves for hand protection.
  6. Employees using or working near, hammer drills, masonry saws, jackhammers or similar high noise producing equipment shall use suitable hearing protection.

Walkways and Guardrails

  1. Walkways shall be provided where employees or equipment are permitted to cross over excavations. Approved guardrails shall be provided where walkways are six feet or more above lower levels.

Protection from Hazards Associated with Water Accumulation

  1. Employees will not work in excavations that contain water unless precautions have been taken to protect them from hazards posed by water accumulation. The precautions taken could include special support or shield systems to protect from cave-ins, water removal, or use of safety harnesses and lifelines.
  2. If water is controlled with water removal equipment, the equipment shall be monitored by a competent person to ensure proper operation.
  3. If excavation work interrupts the natural drainage of surface water (such as streams), diversion ditches, dikes, or other suitable means shall be used to prevent surface water from entering the excavation. Precautions shall also be taken to provide adequate drainage in the area adjacent to the excavation. Excavations subject to runoff from heavy rains shall be inspected by a competent person to determine if precautions should be taken.

Protection of Employees from Falling Objects and Loose Rocks or Soil

  1. Adequate protection shall be provided to protect employees from loose rock or soil that could fall from an excavation face. Such protection shall consist of:
    1. Scaling to remove lose material.
    2. Installation of protective barricades, such as wire mesh or timber, at appropriate intervals on the face of the slope to stop and contain falling materials.
    3. Other means that provide equivalent protection.
  2. Employees shall be protected from materials that could fall into excavations. Protection shall be provided by keeping materials at least two feet from the edge of excavations or by restraining devices.
  3. Employees shall not work above other employees on the faces of sloped or benched systems unless employees at the lower levels are protected from the hazard of falling material or equipment.

Inspections

  1. A competent person shall conduct daily inspections of excavations, adjacent areas, and protective systems for evidence of a situation that could result in possible cave-ins, failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. The inspection shall be conducted before the start of work and as needed through the shift. Inspections shall also be made after every rainstorm or other occurrence that may increase hazards.
  2. Where the competent person finds evidence that could result in a possible cave-in, failure of protective systems, hazardous atmosphere, or other hazardous conditions, exposed employees will be removed from the hazardous area until precautions have been taken to assure their safety.
  3. A written log of all inspections will be maintained by the competent person. The log shall include the date, work site location, results of the inspection, and corrective actions.

6.0  Requirements for Protective Systems

Sloping and Benching Systems

1. The slope and configuration of sloping and benching systems shall be selected and constructed using one of the following options:

Option 1 All slopes and configurations are designed assuming the most unstable soil conditions (type C soil). Excavations shall be sloped at an angle of one and one-half horizontal to one vertical (34 degrees measured from the horizontal). The slopes used shall be excavated according to the configurations shown for type C soil in Appendix B. Soil analysis is not needed.

Option 2 Slopes and configurations are determined using Appendix A and B of the OSHA regulations. Appendix A is used to classify the soil and appendix B to determine the allowable slope and configuration for the type of soil. Soil classification must be done by a competent person.

Option 3 The design of sloping or benching systems may be constructed according to other tabulated data such as tables and charts. The tabulated data must be in written form and include the following:

  • Identification of the factors that affect the selection of a sloping or benching system.
  • Identification of the limits of use of the data, including the magnitude and configuration of the slopes determined to be safe.
  • Other information needed by the user to make correct selection of a protective system.
  • One copy of the tabulated data that identifies the registered professional engineer who approved the data shall be maintained at the jobsite during construction of the protective system.

Option 4 Sloping and benching systems not utilizing one of the above options shall be approved by a registered professional engineer. Designs shall be in written form and include at least the following:

  • The magnitude and configurations of the slopes determined to be safe.
  • The identity of the registered professional engineer approving the design.
  • At least one copy of the design shall be maintained at the jobsite while the slope is being constructed.

Shoring, Shielding and Other Protective Systems

1. The design of shoring systems, shield systems, and other protective systems shall be constructed according to one of the following options:

Option 1 Systems may be designed using appendices A, C, and D of the OSHA regulations. Design of timber shoring in trenches shall be made according to appendix A and C. Appendix A is used to analyze the soil type and appendix C to select the proper timber shoring configuration. Design of aluminum hydraulic shoring in trenches not exceeding 20 feet shall be in accordance with option 2, but if manufacturers' tabulated data cannot be used, then designs shall conform with appendix D.

Option 2 Protective systems may be designed using tabulated data from the manufacturer. This option allows the use of manufactured protective systems such as metal hydraulic shoring or shields. Protective systems designed by this option shall be constructed and used according to the specifications and requirements of the manufacturer. Deviation from these requirements is allowed if written approval is obtained from the manufacturer. This approval must be kept at the jobsite during construction of the protective system.

Option 3 Systems may be designed using other tabulated data if the data has been approved by a registered professional engineer. The tabulated data shall be in written form and include the following:

  • Identification of the factors that affect the selection of a protective system drawn from such data.
  • Identification of the limits of use of the data.
  • Information needed by the user to make a correct selection of a protective system from the data.
  • At least one copy of the tabulated data, identifying the registered professional engineer who approved the data, shall be maintained at the jobsite during construction of the protective system.

Option 4 Protective systems can be designed by a registered professional engineer. Designs shall be in written form and include a plan indicating the sizes, types, and configurations of the materials used and the identity of the registered professional engineer. At least one copy of the design shall be maintained at the jobsite during construction of the protective system.

Materials and Equipment

  1. Materials and equipment used for protective systems shall be free from damage or defects that might affect their function.
  2. Manufactured materials and equipment used for protective systems shall be used and maintained according to recommendations of the manufacturer, and in a manner that will prevent employee exposure to hazards.
  3. When material or equipment used for protective systems are damaged, these systems must be examined by a competent person to evaluate its suitability for continued use. If the competent person cannot assure the safe use of the system, then the material or equipment shall be removed from service and evaluated by a registered professional engineer.

Installation and Removal of Support

  1. Members of support systems shall be securely connected to prevent sliding, falling, kickout, or other failure.
  2. Support systems shall be installed and removed in a way that protects employees from cave-ins, structural collapses, or from being struck by members of the support system.
  3. Individual members of support systems shall not be subjected to excessive loads.
  4. Before temporary removal of individual support members begins, additional precautions shall be taken to ensure the safety of employees. These precautions could include the installation of other structural members to carry the loads imposed on the support system.
  5. Removal of support systems shall begin at the bottom of the excavation. Members shall be released slowly. If there is any indication of possible failure of the remaining structure or possible cave-in the work shall be halted until it can be examined.
  6. Backfilling shall progress with the removal of support systems from excavations.
  7. The following additional requirements for support systems are specific for trench excavations:
  • Excavation of material to a level not more than two feet below the bottom of a support system is allowed, but only if the system is designed to resist the forces calculated for the full depth of the trench. There shall be no indications while the trench is open of a possible loss of soil from behind or below the bottom of the support system.
  • Installation of a support system shall be closely coordinated with the excavation of trenches.

Shield Systems

  1. Shield systems shall not be subjected to loads greater than their design capacity.
  2. Shields shall be installed to restrict lateral or other hazardous movement of the shield that could occur during cave-in or unexpected soil movement.
  3. Employees shall be protected from cave-ins when entering or exiting the shield.
  4. Employees shall not be allowed in shields when shields are being installed, removed, or moved vertically.
  5. Additional requirements for shields used in trenches:
  • Excavation of material to a level no greater than 2 feet below the bottom of the shield system is allowed, but only if the system is designed to resist the forces calculated for the full depth of the trench. There shall be no indications while the trench is open of a possible loss of soil from behind or below the bottom of the shield system.

Appendix A: Soil Classification

Appendix A describes a method of classifying soil and rock deposits based on site and environmental conditions, and on the structure and composition of the earth deposits. The appendix contains definitions, requirements, and describes acceptable visual and manual tests for use in classifying soils.

This appendix applies when a sloping or benching system is designed as a method of protection for employees from cave-ins. This appendix also applies when timber shoring is designed according to appendix C and aluminum hydraulic shoring is designed according to appendix D. Appendix A also applies if other protective systems are designed from data requiring that soil be classified.

Each soil and rock deposit must be classified by a competent person as stable rock, type A, type B, or type C soil. Type A soil is the strongest (e.g., clay) and Type C soil is the weakest and most unstable (e.g., sand). Classification is based on at least one visual and one manual analysis. Analysis may be done using the methods described in this appendix or any other recognized method of soil classification and testing such as those adopted by the American Society for Testing Materials.

Once the soil type has been determined the proper protective system can be selected. Each layer in a layered system must be classified. The protective system for the weakest layer must be chosen. Soils may have to be reclassified in case of a heavy rainstorm or other hazard-increasing occurrence.

Appendix B: Sloping and Benching

This appendix is mandatory if the employer decides to classify the soil and chooses a sloping or benching system. The slopes in the appendix are the maximum allowable slopes for each type of soil, i.e., the steepest incline allowed for the particular soil. Slopes are expressed as a ratio of horizontal distance to vertical rise. In Type C soil, for example, a trench 10 feet deep would require a horizontal distance of 15 feet on both sides of the trench (1 1/2:1). The only exception to the maximum allowable slopes is for short-term (less than 24 hours) excavations in Type A soil where the excavation is 12 feet or less in depth. The slope for such an excavation can be 1/2:1 rather than 3/4:1.

Following are the maximum allowable slopes for excavations less than 20 feet deep:

Soil Type Slope
Stable Rock Vertical
Type A 3/4:1
Type B 1:1
Type C 1 1/2:1

Appendix C: Timber Shoring

This appendix is mandatory when an employer uses timber shoring in a trench 20 feet or less in depth. The employer must first classify the soil using Appendix A, then select the proper configuration from the tables in appendix C.

Appendix D: Aluminum Hydraulic Shoring for Trenches

This appendix is mandatory when an employer uses aluminum hydraulic shoring in a trench 20 feet or less in depth. This option is only used when the employer cannot utilize manufacturers' tabulated data. The employer must first classify the soil using Appendix A, then select the proper configuration from the tables in this appendix.

Personal Protective Equipment

1.0  Introduction

Employers are required to correct conditions that endanger the health and safety of workers. The most reliable method is to reduce or eliminate hazards through engineering controls. This includes enclosing the operation, using less toxic materials, and providing proper ventilation. Administrative controls may also be used, such as limiting the amount of time an employee works in a hazardous area. However, when hazards cannot be controlled by these means, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required to protect employees from workplace hazards and contaminants. PPE can also provide added protection to employees even if the hazard has been controlled by other means.

Several types of personal protective equipment are available to protect workers from hazards they may encounter on the job. These include eye protection, gloves, protective clothing, respirators, hard hats, harnesses, safety shoes, and hearing protection. PPE is only effective if the equipment is selected based on its intended use, employees are trained in its use, and the equipment is properly tested, maintained, and worn.

2.0  Procedures

  1. General. Personal protective equipment shall be used whenever chemical, biological, or physical hazards are encountered in a manner capable of causing injury through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact. PPE does not eliminate the hazard and if the equipment fails exposure to the hazard will occur. To reduce the possibility of failure, PPE must be properly fitted and maintained in a clean and serviceable condition.
  2. Hazard Assessment. The Safety Office, in cooperation with management and employees, will assess the workplace and determine if hazards are present that may require the use of PPE. If hazards are found, properly fitted PPE will be used by employees. The hazard assessment will be certified in writing and kept in the Safety Office.
  3. Training. Before doing work that requires the use of PPE, the Safety Office will train personnel in the proper use and maintenance of the equipment. Training records will be maintained in the Safety Office. Training will include the following: when PPE is necessary, what type of PPE is required, how it is to be worn, what its limitations are, and the proper care, maintenance, and disposal of PPE. Retraining will be performed if the employee does not understand how to use PPE properly or if the need for PPE changes.
  4. Approval. All PPE must be approved by the Safety Office to ensure that it meets OSHA requirements. Management may determine specific types of safety equipment based on price, comfort, and style.
  5. Supply. Personal safety equipment, except safety shoes and prescription safety glasses, will be supplied by individual departments at no cost to employees and remain the property of Radford University.
  6. Responsibilities. Employees are responsible for wearing and properly maintaining PPE. Supervision shall ensure that all regulations regarding the use of personal safety equipment are enforced.
  7. Hazard reduction. Providing personal safety equipment should not deter efforts by management to eliminate hazards at the source through engineering design, administrative controls or the substitution of less hazardous materials.
  8. Maintenance. All PPE should be inspected for tears, leaks, punctures, breaks, contamination, or signs of wear before use. Damaged or defective equipment should not be used. PPE should be stored carefully to prevent damage and kept clean. Contaminated PPE that cannot be decontaminated should be disposed of properly.
Department/Occupation Potential Hazards PPE
Art Annex Kiln, chemicals, welding, clay Safety glasses (IR, chemicals, welding), safety glasses, heat resistant gloves, respirator
Athletic Trainers Blood spills, CPR Disposable gloves, safety glasses, booties, gown, head protection, surgical masks, face shield
Biology Chemicals (toxic, corrosive, flammable) Goggles, chemical resistant gloves, apron
Boiler Plant Noise, carbon dust, VOCs, chemical splash (toxic, corrosive, flammable), falling objects Ear plugs, safety glasses, respirator, work gloves, safety shoes
Bowling Alley Chemicals (combustible)  , noise Ear plugs, gloves, safety glasses
Brain Center None None
Capital Outlay Construction sites, hard hat, falling objects, dust, noise Hardhat, safety shoes, ear plugs, safety glasses
Carpenters Noise Noise, fiberglass, dust, falls, falling  objects, sawdust, glues, thinners Ear plugs, safety glasses, respirator, work gloves, hard hat, harness, safety shoes
Chemistry/Physics Chemicals (toxic, corrosive, flammable, reactive) Safety goggles, chemical resistant gloves, apron
Communication Sciences Patients Latex gloves
Darkroom Chemicals (toxic, corrosive) Safety glasses, rubber gloves
Day Care Blood, urine, feces Latex gloves, safety glasses, gown, mask
Dedmon Pool Chlorine tanks, pool chemicals Respirator, eye protection
Dining Falling objects, chemicals (cleaners), noise (dishwasher) Safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves, ear plugs
Electricians High voltage, fiberglass, dust, falling objects, noise, grinding Electrical gloves, safety glasses, respirator, ear plugs, work gloves, safety shoes, hard hats
Energy Management Noise, dust, falling objects Ear plugs, safety glasses, safety shoes, hard hat
Food & Nutrition Blood latex gloves, safety glasses, mask
Garage Noise, chemical splash (mineral spirits), dust, falling objects, grinder, welding Ear plugs, safety glasses, rubber gloves, work gloves, respirator, safety shoes
Geology Rock saw, chemicals (corrosive, combustible) Ear plugs, safety glasses, dust mask
Grounds Noise, chemical splash (pesticides), falls, grinding,  falling objects, chain saws Ear plugs, safety glasses, harness, respirator, safety shoes, work gloves, hard hat, tyvek suit, chaps
Housekeepers Chemical splash (cleaners), blood, noise, slips Ear plugs, safety glasses, slip resistant shoes, disposable gloves, tyvek suits, booties, surgical masks, rubber gloves
HVAC Noise, fiberglass, dust, falling objects, chemical splash (acids), drills Ear plugs, safety glasses, respirator, work gloves, safety shoes, hard hat, rubber gloves
Jeweltry Chemical splash (acids, toxic), heat Safety glasses, gloves
Lifeguards CPR/first aid, blood spills Disposable gloves, safety glasses, booties, gown, head protection, surgical masks, face shield
Masons Noise, grinding, jack hammers, construction, fiberglass, gypsum, falls Ear plugs, safety glasses, hard hat, safety shoes with metatarsal guard, respirator, leather gloves, harness
Moving Falling objects, chemicals (toxic, corrosive, flammable), dust Safety shoes with metatarsal guard, work gloves, hard hat, safety glasses, dust mask
Network Services Dust, fiberglass, falls, debris, noise, falling objects Safety glasses, ear plugs, respirator, harnesses, hard hat, work gloves
Nurses CPR/first aid, blood spills, TB Disposable gloves, safety glasses, booties, gown, head protection, surgical masks, face shield, respirators
Painters Chemical splash (mineral spirits), spray paint, falls, dust & debris, noise, falling objects, VOCs Safety glasses, respirators, ear plugs, safety shoes, hard hat, harness
Plumbers Chemical splash (drain cleaners), blood, noise, falling objects, grinders, jack hammer Ear plugs, safety glasses, work gloves, rubber gloves, hard hat, safety shoes with metatarsal guard
Police CPR/first aid, blood spills Disposable gloves, safety glasses, booties, gown, head protection, surgical masks, face shield, respirators
Printing Chemicals (toxic, corrosive, combustible), noise Safety glasses, ear muffs, rubber gloves, aprons
Psychology Chemicals (corrosive, toxic, flammable), animal beds Safety glasses, gloves, dust masks
Safety Chemical spills (toxic, corrosive, flammable, reactive), asbestos, construction sites, noise, falling objects, blood spills Respirator, hearing protections, safety glasses, hard hat, work gloves, tyvek suits, chemical resistant suits, safety shoes, chemical resistant gloves, harnesses, booties, surgical masks, gowns, disposable gloves
Secretaries Toner Disposable gloves
Storeroom Falling objects Safety shoes, work gloves
Telephone Services None None
Theater Falling objects, noise, spray paint, falls,  sawdust, grinding Ear plugs, safety glasses, dust masks, cartridge respirator, harness, hard hat, safety shoes
Warehouse Falling objects, charging batteries for forklifts Safety shoes, hard hats, safety glasses, rubber gloves

OSHA - Job Safety and Health Protection

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) law, By the authority of title 40.1 of the labor laws of Virginia, provides job safety and health protection for workers. The purpose of the law is to assure safe and healthful working conditions throughout the state. The Virginia safety and health codes board promulgates and adopts job safety and health standards, and employers and employees are required to comply with these standards.

Employers:  Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm to his employees; and shall comply with occupational safety and health standards issued under the Law.

Employees:  Each employee shall comply with all occupational safety and health standards, rules, regulations and orders issued under the law that apply to his own actions and conduct on the job.

Inspections:  The Law requires that a representative of the employer and a representative authorized by the employees be given an opportunity to accompany the VOSH inspector for the purpose of aiding the inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the VOSH inspector must consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning safety and health conditions in the workplace.

Citations:  If upon inspection VOSH believes an employer has violated the law, a citation alleging such violations will be issued to the employer. Each citation will specify a time period within which the alleged violation must be corrected. The VOSH citation must be prominently displayed at or near the place of alleged violation for three days or until the violation is corrected, whichever is later, to warn employees of dangers that may exist there.

Proposed Penalty:  The Law provides for mandatory penalties against private sector employers of up to $1,000 for each serious violation and for optional penalties of up to $1,000 for each other-than-serious violation. Penalties of up to $1,000 per day may be proposed for failure to correct violations within the proposed time period. Also, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates the Law may be assessed penalties of up to $10,000 for each such violation.

Public Sector employers, all departments, agencies, institutions or other political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, are exempt from the penalty provisions of this Law.

Criminal penalties are also provided for in the Law. Any willful violation resulting in the death of an employee is punishable, upon conviction, by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both. Conviction of an employer after a first conviction doubles these maximum penalties.

Complaint:  Employees or their representatives have the right to file a complaint with the nearest VOSH office requesting an inspection if they believe unsafe or unhealthful conditions exist in their workplace. VOSH will withhold, on request, names of employees complaining. Complaints may be made at the Department of Labor and Industry regional offices or the State office as shown below.

Discrimination:  The Law provides that employees may not be discharged or discriminated against in any way for filing safety and health complaints or otherwise exercising their rights under the Law. An employee who believes he has been discriminated against may file a complaint with the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and/or the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regional Office within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.

Caspa:  Complaints Against State Plan Administration: any person may complain to the Regional Administrator of OSHA (address below) concerning the Administration of the State Safety and Health program.

State Coverage:  The VOSH program shall apply to all public and private sector businesses the State except for Federal agencies, businesses under the Atomic Energy Act, railroad rolling stock and tracks, certain federal enclaves, and businesses covered by the Federal Maritime jurisdiction.

Voluntary Activity:  Voluntary efforts by the employer to assure his workplace is in compliance with the Law are encouraged. Voluntary Safety and Health Compliance and Training Programs exist to assist employers. These services may be obtained by contacting the Main State Office or any Regional Office.

Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Offices

Main State Office
Virginia Occupational Safety and Health
Va. Dept of Labor and Industry
Powers-Taylor Building
13 South Thirteenth Street
Richmond, VA 23219
804-786-2383

Roanoke Office
Department of Labor and Industry
Brammer Village
3013 Peters Creek Road
Roanoke, VA 24477
540-562-3580

Scaffolds

1.0 Introduction

Of the 500,000 injuries and illnesses that occur in the construction industry annually, 10,000 are related to scaffolds. In addition, of the estimated 900 occupational fatalities occurring annually, at least 80 are associated with work on scaffolds. Seventy-two percent of the workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

2.0  Scope

These rules apply to all scaffolds used in construction, alteration, repair (including painting and decorating) or demolition activities. These rules do not apply to aerial lifts.

3.0  Definitions

Competent Person - one who is capable of identifying hazards and has the authorization to make prompt corrective actions.

Maximum Intended Load - the total load of all persons, equipment, tools, and materials.

Open Sides and Ends - the edges of a platform that are more than 14 inches away from a wall.

Qualified Person - one who has a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve problems related to scaffolding work.

Platform - a work surface elevated above lower levels. Platforms can be constructed using individual wood planks, fabricated planks, fabricated decks, and fabricated platforms.

Scaffold - any temporary elevated platform used for supporting employees and materials.

Rated Load - the maximum load specified by the manufacturer to be lifted by a hoist or to be applied to a scaffold or scaffold component.

Supported Scaffolds - one or more platforms supported by outrigger beams, brackets, poles, pegs, uprights, posts, frames, or similar rigid support.

Stairtower - a tower which contains internal stairway units and rest platforms. These towers are used to provide access to platforms and other elevated points such as floors and roofs.

Mobile Scaffold - powered or unpowered, portable, caster or wheel-mounted support scaffold.

4.0  Construction

  1. Scaffolds shall be capable of supporting their own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load.
  2. Scaffolds shall be designed by a qualified person and constructed and loaded according to that design.
  3. Platforms shall be fully planked between the front uprights and the guardrail supports.
  4. Platform units shall be installed so that the space between adjacent units and the space between the platform and the uprights is less than 1 inch wide. If a wider space is necessary, the opening cannot exceed 9 1/2 inches.
  5. Scaffold platforms shall be at least 18 inches wide unless the work area is too narrow.
  6. The front edge of all platforms shall be less than 14 inches from the face of the work unless guardrails are erected along the front edge or personal fall arrest systems are used.
    1. Exception- the maximum distance from the face for plastering and lathing operations shall be 18 inches.
  7. Each end of a platform, unless cleated or restrained by hooks, shall extend over the support rod by at least 6 inches.
  8. Each end of a platform less than 10 feet in length shall not extend over its support more than 12 inches unless the platform is designed to support employees without tipping or has guardrails which block employee access to the ends.
  9. A platform longer than 10 feet cannot extend more than 18 inches beyond a support unless the platform is designed to support employees without tipping or has guardrails which block employee access to the ends.
  10. Scaffold components from different manufactures shall not be intermixed unless the components fit together easily and the structural integrity is maintained. This shall be determined by a competent person.

5.0  Supported Scaffolds

  1. Supported scaffolds with a height to base ratio (including outriggers) of more than 4:1 shall be restrained from tipping.
  2. Support scaffold posts and frames shall rest on base plates, mud sills, or other firm foundations. Mud sills should be 2" x 10" lumber between 12 and 18 inches long.
  3. Footings shall be level, rigid, and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold without settling or displacement.
  4. Unstable objects shall not be used to support scaffolds.
  5. Support scaffold posts and frames shall be plumb and braced to prevent swaying.

6.0  Stairtowers

  1. Stairtowers shall be positioned so that their bottom step is less than 24 inches high.
  2. A stairrail consisting of a toprail and a midrail shall be provided on each side of each scaffold stairway.
  3. Stairrails shall be at least 28 inches but no more than 37 inches from the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.
  4. A landing platform at least 18 inches wide by 18 inches long shall be provided at each level.
  5. Stairways shall be at least 18 inches wide.
  6. Treads and landings shall have slip-resistant surfaces.
  7. Guardrails shall be provided on the open sides and ends of each landing. 

7.0  Mobile Scaffolds

  1. Scaffolds shall be braced by cross, horizontal, or diagonal braces to prevent collapse.
  2. Scaffold shall be plumb, level, and squared.
  3. All brace connections shall be secured.
  4. Casters and wheels shall be locked to prevent movement while the scaffold is used in a stationary manner.
  5. Scaffolds shall be stabilized to prevent tipping during movement.
  6. Employees shall not ride on scaffolds unless:
    1. The surface is within 3 degrees of level and free of pits, holes, and obstructions.
    2. The height to base width ratio of the scaffold during movement is two to one or less.
    3. Outrigger frames, if used, are installed on both sides of the scaffold.
    4. No employee is on any part of the scaffold which extends outward beyond the wheels, casters, or other supports.
  7. Platforms shall not extend beyond the base supports unless outrigger frames are used.
  8. Caster stems and wheel stems shall be secured in scaffold legs.
  9. Before a scaffold is moved, each employee on the scaffold shall be told of the move.
  10. When moving the scaffold manual force shall be applied as close to the base as practical but no higher than 5 feet.
  11. Employees shall not move a scaffold by themselves while they are on it.

8.0  Access

  1. When scaffold platforms are more than 2 feet above or below a point of access, ladders, stairways or ramps shall be used.
  2. Cross bracing shall not be used as a means of access.
  3. Portable, hook-on, and attachable ladders shall be positioned so as not to tip the scaffold.
  4. Direct access to or from another surface shall be used only when the scaffold is less than 14 inches horizontally or 24 inches vertically from the other surface.
  5. Safe means of access for employees erecting or dismantling a scaffold shall be provided. This shall be determined by a competent person. Cross braces shall not be used as a means of access or egress.

9.0  Use

  1. Scaffolds shall not be loaded in excess of their rated capacity.
  2. Scaffolds shall be inspected by a competent person for visible defects before each work shift, and after any occurrence which could affect the structural integrity of the scaffold. Any damaged part must be removed from service.
  3. Scaffolds shall not be moved while employees are on them, unless the scaffold is a mobile scaffold.
  4. The minimum clearance between scaffolds and power lines shall be as follows:

Insulated Line

  • Less than 300 volts - 3 ft.
  • 300 volts to 50kv - 10 ft.
  • Greater than 50kv - 10 ft. + 0.4 inches for each 1 kv over 50kv

Uninsulated Line

  • Less than 50kv - 10 ft.
  • Greater than 50kv - 10 ft. + 0.4 inches for each 1kv over 50 kv5. Scaffolds shall be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision of a competent person.

5. Such activities shall be performed only by experienced and trained employees selected by the competent person.
6. Employees shall not work on scaffolds covered with snow, ice, or other slippery material except to remove the materials.
7. Work on scaffolds is prohibited during storms or high winds unless a competent person determines that it is safe.
8. Debris shall not be allowed to accumulate on platforms.
9. Make-shift devices such as boxes, barrels, shall not be used to increase the working level of the platform.
10. Ladders shall not be used on scaffolds except on large area type scaffolds that cover an entire work area.

10.0  Fall Protection

  1. Employees on a scaffold higher than 10 feet shall be protected from falling by the use of personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems.
  2. Employees shall wear fall protection during the erecting or dismantling of scaffolds if the use of such protection is feasible and does not create a greater hazard. A competent person shall make this determination.
  3. Personal fall arrest systems shall be attached by a lanyard to a vertical lifeline, horizontal lifeline, or scaffold structural member. Vertical lifelines shall be independent of the scaffold. Horizontal lifelines shall be secured to two or more structural members of the scaffold.
  4. Guardrail systems shall be installed along all open sides and ends of platforms and shall consist of a toprail and a midrail.
  5. The top edge of toprails shall be between 38 and 45 inches high.
  6. Midrails shall be installed midway between the top edge and the platform surface.
  7. Toprails shall be equivalent in strength to 2x4 inch lumber or 1.990 inch x .058 inch wall aluminum tubing.
  8. Midrails shall be equivalent in strength to 1x6 inch lumber or 1.990 inch x .058 inch wall aluminum tubing.
  9. Posts shall be equivalent in strength to 2x4 inch lumber or 1.990 inch x .058 inch wall aluminum tubing.
  10. Distance between posts shall not exceed 8 feet.
  11. Toprails shall be capable of withstanding a force of at least 200 pounds in any downward or horizontal direction. The top edge shall not drop below 38 inches.
  12. Midrails shall be capable of withstanding a force of at least 150 pounds in any downward or horizontal direction.
  13. Guardrails shall be designed to prevent injury to employees and to prevent snagging of clothing.
  14. Steel or plastic banding shall not be used as a toprail or midrail.
  15. Manila or synthetic rope used for toprails or midrails shall be inspected by a competent person as frequently as necessary to ensure that it meets the strength requirements of this section.
  16. Cross bracing is acceptable in place of midrails if the crossing point of two braces is between 20 inches and 30 inches above the work platform or as a toprail when the crossing point is between 38 and 48 inches. The end points at each upright shall be less than 4 feet apart.

11.0 Falling Object Protection

  1. Employees working on scaffolds must wear hardhats.
  2. Where there is a danger of tools, materials, or equipment falling and striking employees, the following applies:
    1. The area below the scaffold which objects could fall shall be barricaded and employees shall be prevented from entering the area or;
    2. A toeboard shall be erected along the edge of platforms for a sufficient distance to protect employees.
  3. Where materials are piled higher than the toeboard, paneling or screening extending from the toeboard to the top of the guardrail shall be erected.
  4. Toeboards shall be equivalent in strength to 1x4 inch lumber or 1.990 x .058 inch wall aluminum tubing. Toeboards shall be at least 3 1/2 inches high.
  5. 5. Screens shall consist of No. 18 gauge U.S. standard wire one inch mesh.

12.0  Training

  1. 1. Employees who work on a scaffold must be trained by the Safety Office to recognize hazards and to understand the procedure to control or minimize those hazards. Training shall include the following:
    1. OSHA requirements on scaffolding.
    2. Electrical hazards.
    3. Fall hazards.
    4. Falling object hazards.
    5. The proper use of fall protection equipment if needed.
  2. Employees who are involved in erecting and disassembling scaffolds must be trained by a competent person to recognize:
    1. Hazards associated with the work in question.
    2. Correct procedures for erecting and disassembling the scaffold.
    3. Design criteria, maximum intended load carrying capacity and intended use of the scaffold.
  3. Retraining will be done when a supervisor or the Safety Office has reason to believe that an employee lacks the skills or understanding needed to work safely with scaffolding.

13.0  Duties of the Competent Person

A competent person is one who is capable of identifying hazards and who has the authority to take prompt corrective measures. Competent persons shall perform the following duties:

  1. Select and direct employees who erect, dismantle, move or alter scaffolds.
  2. Determine if it is safe for employee to work on scaffolds during storms or high winds.
  3. Train employees involved in erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, preparing, maintaining or inspecting scaffolds.
  4. Inspect scaffolds (PDF) for visible defects before each work shift and after any occurrence which could affect the structural integrity and to authorize prompt corrective actions.
  5. Inspect manila or synthetic rope being used for toprails or midrails.
  6. Inspect ropes on suspended scaffolds prior to each work shift and after every occurrence which could affect the structural integrity and to authorize prompt corrective actions.
  7. Determine the feasibility and safety of providing fall protection and access.
  8. Determine if a scaffold is structurally sound when intermixing components from different manufactures.

14.0  Duties of Qualified Persons

A qualified person is one who has a degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who has knowledge, training, and experience to solve problems relating to scaffolding work. Qualified persons will perform the following duties:

1. Train employees working on scaffolds to recognize the hazards and procedures to control those hazards.

Passenger Vans - Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How do I schedule a defensive driving class and road test?

Consult the safety training schedule for times. Use the online registration form to register for the class of your choosing. Each class can accomodate up to 9 attendees. Register early to ensure a seat is available for you. Classes are held in the conference room in Facilities Management.  The Facilities Management Building is the large building on your left after you cross the bridge heading towards the Dedmon Center. Come in the front door, turn to your right, tell the assistant, at the desk, you are there for the van class.

2.  Will I have to repeat the defensive driving class and road test again in a few years?

Yes, a refresher course is required every three (3) years following intial certification. In addition, certified drivers must operate the van for a miniumum of fifteen (15) miles annually.

3.   How long is the defensive driving class and road test?

The defensive driving class is approximately two hours long and the road test is one-half hour long.

4.  Can I be exempted from the defensive driving class and road test if  I have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).

Yes, please send a copy of your CDL or Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) endorsement as well as your regular driver's license to Environmental Health and Safety, PO  Box 6909.

5.  Do I have to take the defensive driving class and road test if I only pick up an empty van and take it to another location on campus.

Yes, anyone issued a key must take the defensive driving course and road test.

6.  Where can I get a list of  authorized drivers?

View the list of authorized drivers online.

7.  What is the university's policy for passenger vans?

View the policy online.

8.  Does the prohibition for cell phone use by drivers apply to portable radios?

Yes. Passengers must use portable radios if communication between moving vans is necessary.  

9.  I have to transport 11 people (10 passengers + driver). Can I use one van since putting another van on the road for one passenger is not cost effective?

For safety and liability reasons exemptions to the 10 passenger limit cannot be granted except for emergency breakdowns.

10.  If I have two vans on the road and one breaks down can I put more than 10 passengers in one van?

During emergencies it's OK to put up to 15 passengers in a van and drive to the nearest rest stop or exit for help

11.  If a van breaks down while I'm on a trip how do I get it repaired?

To get approval for repairs during normal working hours contact Nathan Mills at 540-831-7800. After hours call the campus police at 540-831-5500 and ask them to contact Nathan. It's OK to pay for small items (e.g., belt, hose) without getting permission.

12.  How do I get gasoline for the van while I'm on the road?

You can use your own credit card or get a Texaco credit card when you pick up the van. The university will reimburse you if you use your own card.

13. Does the university policy for passenger vans apply to leased vans also?

Yes

14.  What kind of insurance coverage do drivers have?

Collision and personal liability insurance are provided to drivers (faculty, staff, and students) of state and leased vehicles as long as you are on university business.  You may not be covered if you take a side trip to see a tourist attraction along the way. Also, you may not receive liability coverage if you are willfully or grossly negligent.  Workers are covered by Workers Compensation Insurance. Students driving state vehicles are covered for medical but are not covered when driving leased vehicles.

15. What kind of insurance do passengers have ?

Passengers in state vehicles have $5,000 incidental medical coverage in a motor vehicle accident. Passengers can file a liability claim against the Commonwealth if our driver was at fault or against the other drivers' insurance if he/she was at fault. Employees of the university are also covered by Worker's Compensation Insurance.

16.  Do I have to take the class and driving test if  I drive a 7-passenger van (mini van)?

No. The university policy for passenger vans only applies to 12 and 15 passenger vans.

Passenger Vans - Policy

Please click here to view the van policy.