Each year, workers are injured or killed during confined space interventions. To better monitor the workers’ level of safety, it is recommended to implement a work management program, including the evaluation and prevention of risks associated with confined spaces. The CSA Z1006 standard is a reference tool enabling the development of such a program.
Since its inception in 2010, the confined space standard posed a challenge in its application for many organizations. Today, it represents a reference tool well integrated into the daily management, and is used to develop management programs or enhance existing ones.
In 2016, the CSA Group proceeded to its revision. The standard has been cleaned up, certain parts were reformulated and other sections were shifted to facilitate reading.
The CSA standard is not mandatory. It is not referenced in the confined space policies and regulations. Nonetheless, it serves as a guide to optimize work management and defines the proper behaviour to adopt in enclosed areas when in hazardous and unsafe situations.
Fabien Demers, Confined Space Advisor/Trainer at SPI Health and Safety has studied in-depth the new standard and highlighted the changes in the following article.
Revised CSA Z1006 Standard Key Changes
Section 4 - Confined Space Management Program
The CSA Z1006-16 standard provides that the staff and the management develop together the safety conditions to be respected. It requires the involvement of the workers and the engagement of the stakeholders so they can work in synergy.
Section 5 - Roles and Responsibilities
In case of emergency, the standard recommends that the company ensures an adequate intervention. Otherwise, it must document and implement mutual and reciprocal assistance that may affect the service levels. Note that using local emergency services is not always a viable solution.
Section 6 – Confined Space Program Development
Confined space risk assessment, previously named risk evaluation, has to be documented and include the scope, activity nomenclature, identified hazards, assessment results, control measures as well as the names of the participants and the date of completion. To ensure the relevance of the risk assessment, it must be reviewed by one or several qualified people before entering, and this revision must be indicated on the permit, therefore documented.
Section 7 – Confined Space Training
The different stakeholders must have been trained or have received a set of training courses specific to their roles regarding the associated risks and procedures in order to perform work in confined spaces. Training must be carried out at least every three years or at a shorter interval. According to the revision, the confined space stakeholders must now take refresher training courses and a skill assessment at least once a year.
These recommendations do not only affect rescue teams but now include the different stakeholders even more.
The management must keep a training record including the course title as well as the name and signature of the trainer and the training provider. The record shall also indicate the date of the next training session, the training level (or certificate type) as well as the methods to evaluate the learning and determine if the workers are capable of applying the teachings.
Concerning the rescue exercises, this version always advises to perform them at least twice a year or before entering. From now on, all rescue exercises must be documented.
Section 8 – Implementation of the confined space management program
As in its initial version, the CSA Z1006-16 standard offers recommendations regarding the required permits. Generally, in addition to the information previously required, there is the verification of the risk assessment to ensure it has been completed and consulted by the workers. Also, it includes the results of the air quality tests conducted at the first entry, and then at the intervals prescribed by the risk assessment, the brand and model of the equipment used for air quality testing, the confirmation that the daily testing has been done as well as the verification of the permit’s validity.
For air analysis, the standard mentions important technical points. From now on, these analyses must allow a two or three-minute verification for each testing point to ensure the sensor’s stability and more accurate readings. Also, the response time according to the length of the hose used must be considered, if applicable.
The modifications of the CSA Z1006-16 standard also impact fall protection in confined spaces. In case of work conducted at heights or an entry through the top opening, the company shall require the use of fall protection systems. The anchorage point must be able to resist applicable forces and the fall protection equipment has to comply with the CSA Z259 standards relevant to the equipment and all prescribed requirements by the competent authority.
One of the most interesting changes in the 2016 version of the standard is the improvement of the annexes now covering three of the most problematic topics for organizations: atmospheric analysis and monitoring, rescue planning and ventilation. Among them, the new Annex C on atmospheric analysis and monitoring in confined spaces seeks to provide other requirements on applicable atmospheric analysis before and during confined space entry.
It is imperative to understand the changes to the standard as well as its subtleties in order to create or adapt a confined space management safety program.