Construction workers in New York City and across the state are often required to work in confined spaces that are not designed for people to be in for an extended period of time. These small spaces may be barely big enough for a human body and people may have limited access in and out of the area. These tight crevices, such as tanks, crawl spaces and manholes, can be extremely dangerous for workers, as they may be hard to get out of if an emergency occurs.
Confined work areas are hazardous in several ways. Workers may be exposed to toxic substances that could fill the area quite quickly. In such a small space, there may be poor ventilation or air flow through the area. Other life-threatening hazards include electrocution from electrical wiring and asphyxiation from lack of oxygen supply to the small area. Workers may be injured or killed in explosions or have the space cave in around them while they are working. The threats of working in small spaces are great. However, most of these deadly factors are completely preventable.
Employers are responsible for ensuring that the jobsite is safe before people begin working onsite. According to OSHA regulations, employers must make sure that there is proper forced ventilation in the area to clear out any toxins or bad atmosphere that exists in the confined space. The employer must monitor and fully inspect the worksite prior to construction. Furthermore, the space must be checked for any hazards, such as water supplies and electrical wires.