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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 3. General Plant Equipment and Special Operations
Article 15. Vats, Pans, Bins, Bunkers, Hoppers, and Similar Containers and Vessels
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§3480. Vats, Pans and Tanks.

(a) Every open vat, pan, tank and similar container or vessel which contains hazardous substances into which employees can fall and the top of which is less than 36 inches above the floor or working level, shall be guarded on all sides by:

(1) A substantial railing of height not less than 36 inches above floor or working level, or

(2) The top height increased to 36 inches, or

(3) A complete cover.

(4) Where carts or dump trucks are used to load such vessels adequate stops to prevent the vehicle falling into the vessel shall be provided.

NOTE: Covers or railings may be temporarily removed to provide necessary working openings.

(b) Such open vats, pans, tanks and similar containers and vessels whose top is less than four inches above the floor or working level shall be provided with a four-inch toeboard around the sides in addition to complying with the requirements (a) above.

NOTE: Toeboards may be removed during actual loading operations where the vessels are loaded by pushing materials over the vessel's edge at floor level.

(c) Where employees are required to work directly above such open vats, pans, tanks or similar containers and vessels, one of the following conditions shall be complied with:

(1) The employee shall be provided with and shall wear an approved safety belt with life line. One end of the life line shall be attached to a traveling trolley on a monorail or to a fixed overhead anchorage or similar arrangement. The life line shall be so adjusted that the employee cannot fall into the vat, pan, tank or similar container or vessel. Such safety belts and life lines shall be resistant to any deteriorating effects of the dusts, fumes, mists, vapors or gases arising from the contents of the tank.

(2) The vat, pan, tank or similar container or vessel top shall be covered with a grating or grille which has no opening whose least dimension exceeds two inches. This grating or grille shall be of sufficient strength to withstand any load that is customarily imposed upon it.

(3) The vat, pan, tank or similar container or vessel shall be provided with a platform or walkway above the vessel. This platform or walkway shall be equipped with standard railing and toeboard.

(4) Safety rope nets designed for the specific purpose and capable of withstanding expected loads shall be properly suspended above the vat, pan, tank, or similar container or vessel during temporary or emergency work.

(d) Any vat, pan, tank and similar container or vessel in which there is a power driven agitator, circulator, gyrator or any other power driven equipment shall have such powered equipment disconnected from its source of power and the disconnecting controls or switches shall be locked open before employees are required or permitted to work in such spaces.

NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code; and Section 18943(c), Health and Safety Code.


1. Amendment filed 9-27-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 42).

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