Canadian confined space standard nears approval

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Source: The Compliance Center (ICC)

Canada is about to get its first comprehensive national standard addressing management of work inside confined spaces and coordinating workers' rescues from them. The Canadian Standards Association says CSA Z1006, Management of Work in Confined Spaces, would be the country's first comprehensive national standard on the topic and would solve a puzzling problem: Jurisdictions haven't agreed on a consistent definition of 'confined space.'

The standard is pending approval as a national Standard of Canada and is important because current standards and regulations vary across jurisdictions; there is not even an agreed definition of 'confined space' among them, according to CSA, which says the standard was developed so it does not conflict with existing regulations but works with them to ensure a high degree of safety. It defines a confined space according to the characteristics of the space and the ability of a worker or rescuer to enter and exit it uninjured. The standard provides guidance on roles required for safe entry, training requirements for and competency of the entry team and rescuers, and qualification requirements for training providers.

'Even the most skilled workers can become trapped, injured, or overcome by toxins in a confined space,' said Suzanne Kiraly, CSA's president. 'This new CSA standard, the first of its kind in Canada, defines what a confined space is and provides guidelines to managers, workers, and rescuers for identifying and avoiding potential risks while not becoming victims themselves.'

Experts on the technical committee provided input from sectors including steel, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, chemicals, petrochemical, emergency services, pulp and paper, mining, and railroads. The standard can be ordered by contacting CSA Standards Sales at 800-463-6727 or sales@csa.ca.

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