Confined Space Entry

HOW CAN YOU IDENTIFY A CONFINED SPACE?

  1. Limited openings for entry and exit
  2. Unfavorable natural ventilation
  3. Not designed for continuous worker occupancy

WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS INVOLVED IN ENTERING AND WORKING IN CONFINED SPACES?

  1. Hazardous Atmospheres
    Oxygen-deficient atmospheres
    Flammable atmospheres
    Toxic atmospheres
  2. Temperature Extremes
    For example, if the space has been steamed, it should be allowed to cool before entry.
  3. Engulfment Hazards
    Loose, granular material stored in bins or hoppers can engulf and suffocate a worker.
  4. Hazardous Configuration
    An internal configuration such that entrant can be trapped by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section.
  5. Noise
    Noise in a confined space can be amplified and damage hearing as well as interfere with communication, such as causing shouted warnings to go unheard.
  6. Slick/Wet Surfaces
    Slips and falls can occur on wet surfaces. Also a wet surface will increase the likelihood for and the effect of electric shock in areas where electrical circuits, equipment and tools are used.
  7. Falling Objects
    Workers should be mindful of falling objects, particularly in spaces which have topside openings for entry, and where work is being done above the worker.

EVALUATING THE CONFINED SPACE

  1. Test the top, middle and bottom of a confined space to determine what gases are present.
  2. Evaluate ventilation needs.
  3. Determine if isolation is necessary.
  4. Select the proper respirator when needed.

A STANDBY PERSON SHOULD BE ASSIGNED TO REMAIN ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE CONFINED SPACE AND BE IN CONSTANT CONTACT (VISUAL OR SPEECH) WITH THE WORKERS INSIDE

  1. The standby person should not have any other duties but to serve as standby and know who should be notified in case of emergency.
  2. OVER 50% OF WORKERS WHO DIE IN CONFINED SPACES ARE ATTEMPTING TO RESCUE OTHER WORKERS. Standby personnel should not enter the confined space until help arrives, and then only with proper protective equipment.

MAKE PLANS IN ADVANCE FOR RESCUE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

Three options to confined space rescue:

  1. Arrange for rescue service from an outside source.
  2. Arrange for your own employees to provide rescue.
    1. Provide training in their assigned rescue duties and practice at least annually.
  3. Provide for non-entry rescue.

DEVELOP A WRITTEN PROGRAM AND USE A CHECKLIST TO DETERMINE THE CONFINED SPACE TO BE SAFE BEFORE ENTRY. For more information, contact your nearest OSHA office, or visit OSHA’s website at www.OSHA.gov.

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