“Do we really need another standard on confined spaces?” That’s the question I get asked most often in response to NFPA 350, Guide for Confined Space Entry and Work. My answer is a definitive “yes,” and here’s why: Fatalities continue to occur in confined spaces each year, despite regulations. Virtually all of the fatalities could have been prevented by following the regulations and using the “how-to” provisions provided in NFPA 350.
I recently wrote the article, "Why Use NFPA 350," for the August 2017 issue of Occupational Health and Safety magazine (see image above), which provides a substantive overview of what’s covered in the guide. The article explains gaps in existing regulations and how NFPA 350 fills in those gaps with information needed to safely enter and work in confined spaces. If you have any comments or questions about the article, feel free to share them here.
Also, here's an NFPA 350 fact sheet, which defines what confined spaces are, along with the associated hazards and how to maximize safety for people working in them.