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When you’re working over water, the obvious hazard is drowning, but what does drowning mean? In fact, the definition of drowning has been a matter of intense debate. After considerable discussion among experts on the subject, the World Health Organization adopted the following definition in 2005: “Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.” Notice that the definition does not imply death. However, people who are actively drowning are suffocating and in imminent danger of death within seconds. People lying face down have drowned in as little as 1.2 inches of water. Children have drowned in baths, buckets, and toilets. People under the influence of drugs have died in puddles.
You will find requirements for working over water in Oregon OSHA’s general industry, construction, agriculture, and forest activities rules.
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