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Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorneys at Law, L.L.C.
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The risks of working in confined spaces

Many New Jersey workplaces have confined spaces, like boilers, pipelines and holding tanks. These spaces are defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a space that is large enough for workers to fully enter and complete their task. However, employees who are required to complete tasks in confined spaces are at risk for injuries that can sometimes be fatal.

Confined spaces are particularly dangerous due to the fact that they have often have few points of access and a high risk of exposure to toxins. Further, workers are most at risk from asphyxiation due to a lack of oxygen. OSHA has responded to the worker deaths that occurred in confined spaces by implementing the confined-space standard. Unlike other OSHA standards, this standard only addresses confined spaces and allows employers the ability to protect their employees from any potential hazards in the most efficient ways available to them.

Even with the OSHA confined-space standard, deaths are still occurring in confined work spaces. Some employers often ignore safe practices appropriate for the industry by failing to address the hazards that may be found. In some cases, employees can often get too confident and ignore important safety regulations. In others, employees may rush to get the job done as quickly as possible, potentially failing to keep themselves safe when in the confined space.

An accident that occurs in a confined space can potentially cause employees to suffer debilitating injuries. If the injury is severe enough, they may be unable to work for a certain amount of time. While most employers in New Jersey are required to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage, a claim for benefits could potentially be denied. As a result, it might be advisable to have legal representation if this occurs.

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