The preliminary draft of NFPA 350 has been approved by the NFPA Standards Council and is now open for public input. This guide, with non-mandatory language, incorporates the best practices that organizations and confined space professionals have utilized to comply with regulations and standards for the past 20 years since the initial publication of OSHA’s final rule. It also draws on NFPA’s experience with a number of confined space activities including hot work, the maritime industry and emergency rescue operations.
The Guide primarily focuses on addressing gaps in standards and on providing prescriptive guidance on how to implement requirements in existing standards, particularly those found in 1910.146. While the OSHA 1910.146 standard simply requires verification of a safe atmosphere prior to entry, the NFPA Guide provides prescriptive guidance on exactly how to do such testing and includes information about gas monitor selection, calibration and limitations and tells you how to select and locate ventilation equipment to eliminate and control atmospheric hazards.
The Guide incorporates information on requirements not specifically addressed in existing standards such as adjacent space hazards and competencies for personnel involved in confined space entry. It also addresses best practices not typically found in regulations and standards such as management of change and prevention through design.
The document is a great step in the right direction towards improving confined space safety. However, the committee recognizes there is still a lot of work to be done on the preliminary draft. We encourage you to take the time to read the full document or those chapters of particular interest to you and submit public input prior to the closing date of January 3, 2014. Every public input will be considered carefully by the committee at the First Draft meeting to be held between January and June of 2014. To view the document and submit input go to www.nfpa.org/350. You may also want to sign up for email alerts above the tabs so that you are notified about upcoming meetings and when additional drafts are posted.
We look forward to your input on this important document!