Facilities

Section 2: WORKING in LIMITED SPACES

Limited Spaces in schools are places where an employee could get stuck or injured, but they are not generally considered to be at risk of dying or significant injury. Common examples of limited spaces are crawl spaces around perimeters of buildings, pipe trenches, remote attics and basements with limited access points, and any other areas or spaces where communication or space is limited so that an employee might be at risk if not heard from for a period of time.  

Limited spaces must be identified by school administration and employees need to be made aware of them.  Additionally, procedures must be in place to ensure that employees do not get injured by accessing these areas and working in them.  Most often, this could be as simple as developing and implementing a procedure where employees that access limited spaces have voice communication (radio or phone) with a central contact that sends help to the employee if they are not heard from within a specified time (for example within a 1/2 to 1 hour time period).  In this way, if the employee is not heard from within a certain time, the central contact sends a person to check on the employee or sends for emergency help.  OSHA regulations require that employers assess hazard in the workplace and protect employees from those hazards; this simple procedure for limited spaces may well do just that.  

NOTE: Remember, work in confined space is entirely different from work in limited spaces.  Confined space work requires formal training, planning, and equipment. It may be best for schools to hire out work in confined spaces to persons trained and equipped to handle them.    

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