Just because you aren't entering a drainage system, silo, septic tank, or some other confined space every day, or even every week, doesn't mean you can avoid getting the equipment necessary to make you OSHA compliant. But it does mean that you will be perfectly satisfied with a basic confined space entry system.
For folks working in city waste water treatment facilities or manufacturing which requires regular maintenance and inspection of confined spaces, it makes sense to have the most durable, heavy-duty confined space equipment possible. But those descriptions don't cover the vast majority of contractors who may occasionally be required to do work in a space where atmospheric hazards may be present, or may develop while working.
OSHA requires certain basic equipment for entry and egress of confined space. You need to be able to test the air of the space you are planning on entering before you actually go there. Of course this is a good idea, especially since most of the atmospheric hazards such as lack of oxygen, or high levels of hydrogen sulfide or methane aren't something you'll be able to see. Since you can't drop a canary down into your coal mine, or sewer (well, you can, but it's not an OSHA-recognized gas detecting device), you're going to have to get a 4-gas monitor. To test the air before you enter, plan on getting one with an internal pump (not a diffusion monitor) that will be able to pull a sample from the space and give you a reading.
Next you will need to have a way to ventilate your space. Holding your breath isn't an option. The most common method includes positive-pressure ventilation, or pushing air into a space so that old, stagnant, or dangerous air is pushed out and replaced with fresh clean air from outside the space. But you are going to need a blower or industrial fan that is capable of replacing the air several times over in order to create a safe space to work.
OSHA requires that confined space entrants have a method in place for outside attendants - someone who does not enter the potentially dangerous space - to pull a disabled or unconscious worker out. This generally means a tripod or overhead attachment point must be in place with a pulley and winch system attached to the worker with a cable to their full-body harness. This does not mean tying a rope around your waist and climbing on down with Jim hanging onto the other end. I don't care how strong Jim is, he's not going to pull you up and out without seriously hurting you or him, or both.
We put together our basic contractor's confined space kit precisely because it's often difficult to know which pieces of equipment actually comply with the OSHA regulations. The equipment in this kit is reliable and rugged enough to trust your life to. And it won't kill your bank account.
If you have questions about this kit, confined space entry, OSHA regulations, or you just want to talk safety, feel free to give us a ring, or chat with us online at PkSafety.com.
Thanks for reading.