While working in confined spaces, your employees may encounter many hazards not found within standard worksites, such as lack of ventilation, high concentrations of hazardous vapors, engulfment, oxygen deficiency, etc. Because of this, OSHA requires special identification, testing, and training for these environments, as well as the development of space-specific entry procedures for each confined space at your facility. CTI can assist your facility in identifying confined spaces on-site and developing confined space entry procedures.
What is a Confined Space?
OSHA defines a “confined space” as a space that meets all three of the following requirements:
- Space must be large enough so that an employee can enter into the space and perform work;
- Space has a limited or restricted entry or exit; and
- Space is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
OSHA further divides confined spaces into 2 categories: non-permit confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. A non-permit confined space is one that does not contain or have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing serious injury. On the other hand, permit-required confined spaces are spaces that will have one or more of the following hazards:
- Potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere (e.g. not enough oxygen, toxic fumes, airborne dust)
- Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant;
- Has an internal configuration that could cause an entrant to become trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section (e.g. cone-shaped); or
- Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard (e.g. moving parts, high noise, hazardous chemicals, high noise)
Examples of permit-required confined spaces include:
- Dust collectors and baghouses
- Ovens and dryers
- Silos, tanks, and bins
- Equipment enclosures
- Sewer manholes
Examples of non-permit spaces include:
- Crawl spaces underneath buildings
- Drop ceilings
- Open-air pits
- Ventilated spaces
Confined Space Entry Requirements
If your facility decides that employees will enter into permit-required confined spaces, you must have a written Confined Space Entry Program that complies with OSHA requirements. This will include the need for completing Confined Space Entry Permits prior to all entries into permit-required confined spaces. Employees will also need to be assigned to different roles for each confined space entry (e.g. authorized entrant, attendant, and entry supervisor). These employees must be trained in the hazards associated with confined spaces along with their roles and responsibilities.
Along with authorized entrants, attendants, and entry supervisors, your facility must also have a plan for rescuing employees working inside confined spaces. Only people specifically trained in confined space rescue shall be allowed to enter into a confined space to perform rescue operations. Rescue personnel can be on-site employees who have received specialized training in rescue procedures, or you can contact a 3rd party, such as your local fire department, to perform confined space rescues.
OSHA requires all employees involved with confined space entries to receive confined space safety training in order to ensure that employees understand their roles and responsibilities during a confined space entry. This training shall include a review of employees’ duties during a confined space entry, review potential hazards associated with confined space entry, and discuss your facility’s confined space permitting policy.
Confined Space Entry Requirements
CTI has worked with many industrial facilities to assist with confined space entry. Our team of engineers can help keep your employees safe while performing confined space entries with the following:
- Visiting your facility to identify all confined spaces, both non-permit confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces;
- Preparing space-specific confined space entry procedures;
- Providing advice for proper employee notification and signage for confined spaces;
- Determining if a permit-required confined space can be re-classified as a non-permit confined space, as specified in 29 CFR 1910.146(c)(7);
- Preparing a written Confined Space Entry Program for your facility, including developing written permits; and
- Providing confined space safety training for your employees.
Confined Space Entry Procedures
Industrial Hygiene/Indoor Air Quality
Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
Lockout/Tagout and Energy Control Procedures
Machine Guarding Risk Assessment And Evaluation
Noise Exposure Monitoring
OSHA Compliance Audits & Mock OSHA Inspections
OSHA Required Safety Training
Robot Risk Assessment & Safety
Safety Policies, Procedures, and Programs