CONFINED SPACE ENTRY
To establish safe working practices for entering and working in confined spaces.
Applies to all employees, contractors, or other individuals whose job duties require them to work directly in confined spaces.
People who enter confined spaces face increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment, and hazardous atmospheric conditions. Therefore, strict adherence to this policy is required.
1. Confined Space: A space that is large enough and so configured that a
person can bodily enter and perform assigned work and has limited or restricted
means of entry and exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy.
Examples of confined spaces include storage tanks, sub-cellars, bins, boilers,
septic tanks, sewers, utility tunnels, chimneys, ducts, and wells. A confined
space can also be open topped, especially if it is four feet or more in depth.
2. Permit Required Confined Space: A confined space that has one or more of the
a. contains, or has the potential to contain, a hazardous atmosphere
b. contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
c. has an internal layout such that someone entering could be trapped or
asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or a floor that slopes
downward and tapers to a smaller cross section
d. contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
3. Non-Permit Required Confined Space:
A confined space, which is completely free of hazards and can be so proven without
entering the space. The entrant must be a qualified person and would be able to
work alone with no safety attendant required. A confined space can only be
designated a non-permit required confined space by the Environmental Health and
4. Confined Space Qualified: A confined space qualified person is an employee who
has had confined space training and is familiar with:
a. the recognition of hazards associated with entry into confined spaces
b. procedures for use of entry permits
c. atmospheric testing techniques and methods
d. interpretation of atmospheric test results
e. ventilation methods and equipment
f. use of personal protective equipment
g. safe work practices
h. rescue techniques and equipment
i. use of respirators
A. Identification of Confined Spaces
1. The Environmental Health & Safety Office shall assist departments with
identifying all permit required confined spaces in their area.
2. Departments are responsible for posting signs approved by the Environmental
Health & Safety Office on all permit required confined spaces.
B. Entry Pre-Requisites
1. Supervisors who authorize employees to work in confined spaces must be
confined space qualified.
2. Only confined space qualified entrants may enter a permit required confined
C. Pre-Entry Procedures
1. Employees whose work requires them to enter a confined space must notify their
supervisor to obtain a confined space permit and specific instructions prior to
2. The supervisor must:
a. Obtain a Confined Space Entry Permit (Appendix A) and provide all
required information, including estimated entry time(s).
b. Contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office for authorization and
to establish entry requirements.
c. Arrange for all "Special Requirements" and environmental testing as
specified on the permit. "Special Requirements" include, but are not limited to:
1. Lock Out/Tag Out, including blank, cap, purge, flush, or vent lines
2. Lifelines, harness, emergency tripod, etc.
3. Lighting and ventilation
4. Respirators, breathing apparatus, PPE, etc.
5. Posting and securing access to the confined space as necessary
6. Fire extinguishers
7. Hot Work Permit
d. Review entry requirements with entrants and attendants
e. Ensure that all "Special Requirements" are appropriately completed,
provided, and in place, as required.
3. Before a permit required confined space is entered, the atmosphere in the area
must be tested for oxygen levels, flammable gases and vapors, contaminants
that could be found in that confined space, and physical hazards such as noise,
temperature extremes, engulfment, and other possible serious safety or health
a. Initial testing shall be performed by the Environmental Health & Safety Office.
Subsequent testing may be done by other qualified personnel.
b. Atmospheric conditions are considered unacceptable if:
i. oxygen levels are less than 19.5% or greater than 23.5%
ii. a flammable gas, vapor, or mist greater than 10% of its lower expl limit
iii. an airborne combustible dust at a concentration that obscures vision at a
distance of five feet or less
iv. an atmospheric concentration of a substance greater than the OSHA
Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) or ACGIH Threshold Limit Value
(TLV) established for that substance
c. If test results show that the atmospheric conditions in the confined
space are unacceptable, entry into that area will be prohibited or discontinued
until conditions are brought into acceptable limits.
D. Entry Requirements
1. Confined space qualified entrants must ensure that all "Special Requirements"
have been provided and established and that environmental testing results are
acceptable. In addition, the entrant must:
a. know the hazards associated with the space and their effects
b. properly use the required personal protective equipment and other
equipment required for entry
c. maintain a continuous means of communication with the attendant
d. alert the attendant in the event of an emergency
e. evacuate the space if an emergency occurs
2. A confined space qualified attendant must be in position at all times while
workers are in the confined space. The attendant shall:
a. know the hazards associated with the confined space and their effects
b. maintain an accurate count of all persons in the space
c. remain at their assigned station until relieved by another attendant or
until all entrants leave
d. know how, and have the means, to summon emergency assistance
e. order the workers out of a confined space if:
i. hazardous conditions exceed those set by the permit
ii. an unexpected hazard presents itself
iii. workers in the confined space show signs of toxic reaction
iv. a situation occurs outside the confined space that could pose a
hazard to the workers
v. attendant must leave the area
f. perform non-entry rescue procedures
NOTE: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS THE ATTENDANT TO ENTER THE CONFINED
SPACE UNLESS THEY ARE EQUIPPED FOR EMERGENCY RESCUE AND THERE IS A
QUALIFIED PERSON TO TAKE THEIR PLACE AS ATTENDANT.
3. The supervisor shall monitor the confined space operations to ensure they
remain consistent with the entry permit and that acceptable entry conditions are
maintained. In addition, the supervisor shall:
a. terminate entry and cancel permits when entry operations are completed or if
a new condition exists
b. take appropriate measures to remove unauthorized entrants
E. Post-Entry Procedures
1. The entrants shall remove all equipment and materials from the space, return
the space to its planned operating condition, and secure the space.
2. The attendant shall account for all entrants and return all paperwork to the
3. The supervisor shall ensure that all appropriate steps have been taken, notify
the Environmental Health and Safety Office of the completion of the operation,
and return the permit to them.
F. Rescue and Emergency Procedures
1. If an emergency arises, notify Law Enforcement immediately, explain the nature
and location of the emergency, and request that they contact the Slippery Rock
1. For a person to be qualified in confined space entry work, they must participate
in the confined space entry training.
2. Training will include:
a. types of confined space hazards
b. components of the written Confined Space Operations program
c. the entry permit system and the hot work permit
d. guarding of the entrance opening
e. atmospheric testing equipment including its use, calibration, and
f. atmospheric testing protocol and interpretation of results
g. methods for the control or elimination of any atmospheric hazards, including
inerting, draining and rinsing, purging and cleaning, and continuous forced
h. procedures the employees must follow if they detect a hazard
i. the evaluation process to be used for re-entry if hazards are detected
j. the use of entry equipment such as ladders, communication devices, etc.
personal protective equipment, including full body harness, respiratory
protection, chemical protective clothing, and eye and face protection
k. personnel and their responsibilities, including the qualified entrant,
attendant, entry supervisor, and rescue team
H. Outside Contractors
1. When contractors are involved in permit confined space entry work at the
University, the hiring department's confined space qualified supervisor shall:
a. inform the contractor that the work place contains permit required
spaces and entry is allowed only through compliance with a "Permit-Required
Confined Space Program”
b. inform the contractor of the hazards of the space and precautions or
procedures that must be followed
c. coordinates entry in accordance with this procedure
d. debriefs the contractor at the conclusion of entry operations
Related Forms: Confined Space Entry Permit (Appendix A)
Related Documents: 29 CFR 1910.146 Confined Space Entry, ANSI Z117.1-1995 Safety Requirements for Confined Space, Permit-Required Confined Space Decision Flow Chart