It is estimated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that 238,000 establishments had permit-required confined spaces. These establishments employed approximately 1.6 million workers, including contractors, who entered 4.8 million permit-required confined spaces annually. OSHA further estimates that 63 fatalities and 13,000 lost workdays and non-lost workday cases involving permit-required confined space entries occurred annually. In addition, 480 workers died on the job in a ten-year period related to permit-required confined space work, and 60% of those killed were would-be rescuers.
A fully equipped and trained confined space rescue team (CSRT) is now far improved and assists in reducing fatalities. Confined space rescue is outlined and reviewed by OSHA 1910.146 and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and considered a potentially hazardous operation if not handled correctly. ANSI Z117.1-2009 has released a new standard on confined spaces that significantly changes confined space policies and procedures. Implementation of the new 2009 edition of the ANSI 117.1-2009, Confined Spaces Standard, recommends all employers that have employees working in confined spaces to immediately comply with the new standard to reduce the risk of injury to employees and reduce legal liability of the company and responsible employees.