Winery tanks generally are permit-required confined spaces, according to Cal/OSHA

OR-OSHA Reminds Winery Owners of Confined Space Hazards

The agency posted a Hazard Alert that says its inspections "have revealed serious deficiencies in some of the procedures used in tank entry."

Oregon OSHA has posted a Hazard Alert this week focused on confined space entries at wineries in the state. Workers who are cleaning or emptying tanks or checking the fermentation process "are sometimes directed to bodily enter a tank or place their head inside a tank. The air inside a tank or vat may not be sufficient to support life when gases such as carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide have displaced oxygen. If the air is not tested prior to exposure, the result can be deadly," it states.

The alert discusses the need to test the atmosphere inside confined spaces with a gas monitor before entry and also says OR-OSHA's inspections "have revealed serious deficiencies in some of the procedures used in tank entry."

It reminds winery owners to that, generally, all winery tanks are permit-required confined spaces, and that they must identify the hazards to their employees, develop written procedures for safe entry, and train employees on those procedures.

The agency offers free consultative services to help employers assess their current programs or create and implement new ones. Consultations can be scheduled by calling any of six offices:

  • Portland, 503-229-6193
  • Eugene, 541-686-7913
  • Medford, 541-776-6016
  • Salem, 503-373-7819
  • Bend, 541-388-6068
  • Pendleton, 541-276-2353

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