The overall structure, focus and direction of the newly revised ANSI/ASSP Z117.1-2016 Confined Space Standard has not changed from the 2009 edition. However, significant changes have been made in three of the most critical areas of confined space entry: identification and evaluation of a confined space, non-permit confined spaces (NPCS) and training.
Section 3 of Z117.1 deals with hazard identification and evaluation. In the 2016 revision, the focus of this section shifts from coordination to comprehensive management of the space. This entails a change of mindset, which encourages OSH professionals to be more proactive when it comes to identifying and classifying the sites for which they are responsible.
Another critical element, one that is often underestimated, is NPCS. These areas can have hazards and exposures that must be addressed. The revision provides more informative material on developing and implementing safe work procedures for entry into NPCS.
Lastly, significant changes have been made to the sections on training. The requirements for training have been strengthened and clarified. More robust information is included on the minimum requirements for training of the confined space entry team as well as best practices and knowledge evaluations for the entry supervisor, entrant, attendant and rescue team.
Originally published Dec. 5, 2016.