Palmer’s Chapter on Confined Spaces is included in the 2nd Edition of Industrial Hygiene Performance Metrics
EnSafe's Mike Palmer, CSP, has authored a chapter devoted to confined spaces in Industrial Hygiene Performance Metrics, 2nd edition, published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). This marks the first time confined spaces have been addressed in this publication, which serves as an instruction manual with accompanying metrics for safety and industrial hygiene professionals.
This second edition focuses on various topics ranging from ergonomics, ventilation, and exposure assessment to programmatic topics like hearing conservation and hazard communication. In developing the plan for this second edition, the AIHA recognized the need for adding a chapter on confined spaces due to the various standards addressing confined spaces and the need to offer its members a user-friendly guide to help ensure compliance and safety in confined spaces.
“When it comes to confined spaces, there is a combination of six regulatory and consensus standards,” Mike explained. “Two of the standards come directly from OSHA and they are required by law. In addition to those OSHA regulations, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Canadian Standards Association have created four ‘consensus,’ or voluntary, standards that are equally important and helpful to safety professionals.”
Mike is a member of the standards committee for three of these standards and one of the founding authors of NFPA 350, which he considers to be the most comprehensive guidance document for confined spaces.
According to Palmer, it is customary for companies, including EnSafe, to adopt the consensus standards for their own safety programs and to develop a culture of being risk driven vs. compliance driven in protecting their employees.
He continued, “What we’ve done in Chapter 6 of this manual is reconcile the six confined space standards to offer easy-to-follow guidance to improve and maintain confined space safety.”
Consulting Industrial Hygienist Jay Gieseke, a leading expert in inert atmospheres within confined spaces, partnered with Palmer in co-authoring the chapter.
Palmer has served on and chaired the AIHA Confined Spaces committee since 1988, regularly presents on confined spaces at international and U.S. conferences and has left his mark as an author and contributor of OSHA and consensus confined space standards spanning the past 30 years.
“Our profession has made great strides in confined space safety,” Palmer enthused. “When the standards were first introduced in the 1980s, there were greater than 300 confined space fatalities a year. Today, that number has dropped to about 120 – great progress but still more work to get that number even lower.”
Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the Industrial Hygiene Performance Metrics, 2nd edition should go to AIHA.org.