Pt. 2 - IN the MIX - Construction Safety and Gas Detection

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This is part 2 of our 4 part series on Gas detection in the Construction Industry.

With so many OSHA regulations, where do we begin to search for help with gas detection or respiratory protection within confined spaces? To start, OSHA has a web tool called the OSHA Construction “eTool”.

You can find it using this link:
This handy tool outlines the relevant standards required to establish and maintain a “Construction Safety & Health Program”. Since this article is about gas detection, your best place to start is Section C. Hazard Identification and Determination: (2), Monitor exposure levels.

Section C lists four separate “Code of Federal Regulations” (CFR’s) that apply to monitoring for exposures and gas detection. I have included a synopsis of the four CFR’s in this article. The complete documents are available on the OSHA website.

The first regulation - 29 CFR 1926.55 - states four primary points of compliance, paragraphs (A) through (D).

1. Paragraph (A) simply explains that “We must not expose our employees to any material or substance at a concentration above those specified in the 'Threshold Limit Values of Airborne Contaminants for 1970'. These “Threshold Limit Values” (TLV’s) can be found in the MSDS sheets of the products you purchase. The next best source for these TLV’s is the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards; available from the CDC at every safety manager should own a copy of this guide.

2. Paragraph (B) states that “we must first use administrative and engineering controls to achieve compliance”; and “if these are not sufficient to keep exposures below TLV’s, that we must use the proper equipment, respirators and technical measures to achieve compliance”. It is also stated that “these determinations should be made by a competent Industrial Hygienist or other technically qualified person”. In most situations, except where exposure to substances that may require sample collection and laboratory analysis, these decisions can be made by a qualified and competent safety professional.

3. Paragraph: (C) and

4. Paragraph (D) state the 5 separate compounds that are exempt from this section; airborne Asbestos, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and Formaldehyde, then direct you to the appropriate CFR’s for compliance.

The second regulation, 29 CFR 1926.62, outlines lead exposure. The third regulation, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z, is the top level directory for standards from Asbestos exposure, sampling and analysis, to respirator fit testing, medical questionnaires and exposure to carcinogens. The fourth regulation, 29 CFR 1926.1101, again deals with Asbestos. It all sounds quite complicated, but understanding the Codes of Federal Regulations is the key in knowing how to comply with the OSHA standards.

Consulting a professional in the gas detection and safety industry can be your best bet in maintaining OSHA compliance and peace of mind when dealing with the threats to your employee’s health and safety.

Now that we have consulted the OSHA Construction 'eTOOL' and determined that we need a Gas Monitor; how should we choose one? From our many years of selling and servicing this type of equipment at Certified AIR SAFETY, we have come up with what we believe is the definitive list of 3 types of portable gas detectors. We list these as levels A, B and C and we'll discuss these in our next part (3) of this 4 part series of articles.

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