A confined space is defined as a place:
that is partially or fully enclosed
that is not both designed and constructed for continuous human occupancy and
where atmospheric hazards may occur because of its construction, location, or contents, or because of work that is done in it.
All three criteria have to be met before a space is defined as a confined space.
Only trained personnel may enter a confined space. They must be trained on the use of PPE required for the job. All training records must be kept on the job site.
Before each entry a competent worker as described by OSHA must perform a written hazard assessment. The hazard assessment should consist of any physical or atmospheric hazards that may exist or develop in the confined space. It should also contain there name signature and date. In the event of a change in hazards a new assessment shall be written and assessed.
Plan for controlling hazards
Once the hazards have been identified in the assessment a competent person must develop a plan to eliminate or control the hazards. The plan must consist of eleven mandatory requirements:
- Duties of workers
- Coordination document (prepared by the constructor) if workers of more than one contractor enter the same confined space
- On-site rescue procedures
- Rescue equipment (inspected by a competent worker) and methods of communication
- Protective clothing and protective equipment (supplied by the employer)
- Isolation of energy and control of material movement
- Adequate means of access and egress
- Atmospheric testing (conducted by a competent worker)
- Adequate procedures for working in the presence of explosive or flammable substances
- Ventilation and purging
Duties of workers
- Do not enter or re-enter (if the confined space has been left unoccupied and unattended) the confined space unless testing has been performed.
- Know the hazards that may be faced upon entry. Know the route of exposure (e.g., inhalation or skin absorption), signs and symptoms, and long-term effects of exposure.
- Know how to use the equipment (including personal protective equipment and tools) properly.
- Maintain communication with the attendant so that the attendant can monitor your safety and be able to alert workers to evacuate the confined space.
- Alert the attendant whenever:
you recognize any warning sign or symptom of exposure
you see a dangerous condition
an alarm is activated.
6. Get out of the permit space immediately whenever:
A warning system indicating a ventilation failure is activated or the attendant gives an evacuation order.
A worker recognizes any signs or symptoms of exposure.
A person inside detects a dangerous condition.
An evacuation alarm is activated.
An adequate number of people must be available to carry out the rescue procedures immediately. They must be trained in onsite rescue procedures, first aid, CPR and the rescue equipment necessary to carry out the rescue.
The confined space plan must include written procedures for safe onsite rescue that can be implemented immediately in case of an emergency. An adequate number of people must be available to carry out the rescue procedures immediately.
Record of rescue equipment inspections
The rescue equipment must be readily available, appropriate for the confined space, and inspected by a competent worker. The competent worker must keep a written record of the inspection. Examples of rescue equipment include harnesses and lifelines, hoist/retrieval systems, respirators, and other personal protective equipment.
Record of tests
Results of atmospheric tests must be recorded on the entry permit.
An entry permit shall be issued by the employer before any worker enters the confined space. A competent person must verify that the permit issued complies with the plan before every shift. Entry permits should be understood and available to everyone involved in the job. An entry permit should at least consist of:
- The location and description of the confined space
- A description of the work
- A description of the hazards and the corresponding controls
- The time period for which the entry permit applies
- The name of the attendant
- A record of each worker who enters and leaves the confined space
- A list of the equipment required for entry and rescue, and verification that the equipment is in good condition
- The results of the atmospheric testing
- Additional procedures and control measures if hot work is to be done
It may also include
- A record of the hazard assessment
- The hazard control plan
- Worker training records
Each entrance to the confined space must be secured against unauthorized entry and or has adequate barricades or signs warning against unauthorized entry.
Records shall be given to the office manager or the worker health and safety rep to be kept for minimum of one year after project completion and should consist of:
- Hazard assessment
- Coordination document
- Worker training
- Entry permit
- Record of rescue equipment inspection
- Record of tests