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Are Rinse Tanks Confined Spaces or Not?
I'm in a bit of a bind about confined space entry. I have a new (and zealous) safety person in my plant who is insisting that my rinse tanks meet the definition of confined space. The tanks are 8' long, 3.5' wide and 3' deep. Atmospheric/air quality problems haven't been an issue. My platers have cleaned these out once a week for the last 30 years or so (some of which they have climbed in)with no problems. We've had OSHA's non-regulatory inspectors in and they either didn't catch it, or it wasn't an issue to them. I'm just curious does anyone out there have a confined space program (permit required or not) for cleaning out their rinse tanks? I want my operation safe, but the training, time and paper work will be a burden.
electroplater - Galva, Illinois
Hi Trent. They are a "confined space". I forget the exact wording, but it's essentially that you can't simply step out of them. So this could be incentive to take the opportunity to review whether most of the cleaning could in the future be done without getting into the tanks -- for example, by pressure washing. You might even find that the new method saves time rather than consuming more time. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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