Many workers have to perform their daily duties in hazardous conditions, and this can lead to serious and even life threatening injuries. Some injuries may be the result of a single incident, while others develop over a period of time. For example, one difficult working condition that many workers have to endure is confined spaces. While many of us can get claustrophobic and cannot spend even a few minutes in confined spaces, many workers spend a large part of their day working in such spaces.
Confined spaces can be defined as work environments that restrict worker movement. In some cases, employers may have to seek permits when employees have to move through narrow openings and perform their work while confined to small areas. Confined work spaces include such areas:
- Ship holds
Injuries Sustained by Workers in Confined Work Spaces
The work spaces that are dangerously confined can cause worker injuries and even death. Some of the common hazards that result from confined work spaces include:
- Uncontrolled energy such as electrical shock
- Poor air quality
- Fires and explosions
- Chemical exposures and radiation
- Hazardous noise
- Other risks such as slips and falls, and structural problems
All confined spaces are not problematic and dangerous, but certain areas must be approached with extra caution and care. In some cases, work conditions are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. However, not all accidents occur at such dangerous places, some of them occur at relatively safe places. Considering the high risk associated with such work spaces, the workers and employers should tread with caution and have safety plans and procedures in place to avoid disasters.
Employer Responsibility for Injuries Associated with Confined Work Spaces
Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, employers are responsible for providing safe work spaces, and ensure that work spaces are free from all hazards that can potentially cause physical harm or death. Employers can be held liable for the injuries if they fail to:
- Carry out safety tests
- Follow proper testing procedures
- Hold a permit for entrance to the particular confined space
Also, if the worker is working in a specialized area such as a shipyard or construction site, his/her employer would be subject to additional regulations that must be adhered to.
Legal Options for Workers Getting Injured in a Confined Work Space
As we said earlier, it is the duty of the employer to provide a safe working environment to the workers. The failure of the employer to do so can be reported to OSHA. If the worker gets injured while working in a confined space, he/she may be entitled to Missouri workers compensation benefits. To ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to, speak with a workplace accident lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann as soon as possible. We can evaluate your claim free of charge and help you determine what your next steps are. Call (314) 361-4300 for a free case evaluation.