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Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered
to be "confined" because their configurations that
hinder the activities of employees who must enter to
work in or exit from them.
In many instances, employees who are bound to
work in confined spaces also face increased risk of
exposure to serious physical injury from hazards
such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous
What is Confined Space ?
Is large enough for an employee to enter fully and
perform assigned work.
Is not designed for continuous occupancy by the worker.
Has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit.
Can represent a risk for the for the health and safety of
anyone who enters, due to one or more of the following
Its design, construction, location or atmosphere.
The materials or substances in it.
Work activities being carried out in it, or
the mechanical, process and safety hazards present.
Types of Confined Space
Confined spaces can be below or above
A confined space, despite its name, is not
Confined spaces vary in size, shape and
location and there isn't a standard or typical
A confined space safety system can usually be
divided into either a "vertical" entry type
system or a "horizontal" type.
Why Confined Space entry is required?
Entry into Confined Spaces may be necessary to
periodically perform the following functions:
Issues in Confined Space
Entry into confined spaces can be very dangerous /
A worker is considered to have entered a confined space
just by putting his head across the plane of the opening.
If the confined space contains toxic gases, workers who
are simply near the opening may be at risk.
The concentration of toxic gases near the entrance to
the confined space can be high enough to cause death.
Unless proper training, tools & procedures are in place,
workers must not be allowed to enter such spaces.
Hazards associated with Confined Space
Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation arising from
Toxic Atmosphere and Oxygen Deficiency.
Flammable or Explosive Atmospheres
Flowing Liquid or Free Flowing Solids
Injuries arising from fire and explosion;
Falls from height.
Critters (Dangerous insects)
Psychological effect of person entering.
Other hazards due to fire injuries, excessive Heat,
Noise, Drowning arising from an increase in level of
liquid, Physical contact with moving parts; etc.
Confined space hazard categories
Usually, confined space incidents are caused by
There are two primary categories of hazards:
1. Atmospheric, or those that involve problems
with the air in the space (lack of oxygen, the
presence of other gases in the space, etc.)
2. Non-atmospheric, physical, or those hazards
that are caused either by equipment (rotors,
sparks, etc.) or by other dangerous conditions
(slippery surfaces, heat, etc.).
What is Hazardous Atmosphere ?
A hazardous atmosphere is any atmosphere that
may pose a risk of death, physical disability to
self-rescue, or acute illness.
An atmosphere is hazardous when:
It has too much or too little oxygen; or,
It contains flammable, combustible or explosive
It contains contaminants (for example, fumes, dusts,
mists) that could pose an immediate threat to life or
interfere with a person's ability to escape unaided from
a confined space.
What is Hazardous Atmosphere ?
The atmosphere is considered to be dangerous if;
Flammable gas, vapor or mist above 1% of LEL
(Lower Explosive Limit ).
Oxygen less than 19.5% or above 23.5%.
Airborne combustible dust that meets LFL (Lower
Atmospheric concentration of substance in excess
of PELs (Permissible Exposure Limit).
Any other condition that is considered IDLH
(Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health).
Monitoring Hazardous Atmosphere
Atmospheric monitoring is necessary whenever:
A safe atmosphere cannot be ensured.
An existing hazardous atmosphere cannot be
The confined space cannot be physically
isolated from the penetration of hazardous
There is reason to suspect the development of
a hazardous atmosphere during work activity.
OFT order of testing Confined Space
Always test for atmospheric hazards in the
1) Oxygen is tested first because both oxygen-deficient and
oxygen-enriched atmospheres are extremely hazardous to
workers’ health and safety. (Oxygen levels should be
between 19.5% - 23.5%).
2) Flammable or explosive gases & vapors are tested because
the threat of fire and explosion is both more immediate and
more life-threatening. Flammability limits should be less
than 10% of the Lower Flammability Limit (LFL).
3) Toxic atmospheres are tested last. Readings should be less
than recognized standards of exposure limits .
Hazardous atmospheres are not the only hazards
within confined spaces.
There are many actual and potential non-
atmospheric hazards within confined spaces like:
Mechanical & Electrical Hazards
Skin Contact Hazards
Limited Access Hazards
Slip and Trip Hazards
Classes of Confined Space
The classification of any confined space
shall be determined only by Trained and
Classes of Confined Space
Class ”A” :- IDLH atmosphere (Immediately
Dangerous to Life or Health). May contain oxygen
deficiency, explosive or flammable atmospheres, and
/or concentrations of toxic substances.
Class “B”:- Space has potential for causing injury
if proper safety steps are not followed.
Class “C” :- Space has potential hazards, but
would not require any special modification of the work
Characteristics of Confined Space
The space must be substantially enclosed.
There must be a risk of at least one of the
hazards (mentioned earlier) occurring within
The risk of serious injury from the hazard
must be created by virtue of the enclosed
nature of the space.
The potential injury must be serious and be
such as to require emergency action to rescue
the person involved.
The key elements to be considered when
drawing up a safe system of work are:
Gas purging and
Testing and monitoring of
Mechanical, electrical and
Safe use of work
Access and egress
Flammable or explosive
Risk Assessment in a confined space
When carrying out a risk assessment it is important to
ensure that all risks associated with the hazards are
evaluated and controlled.
When carrying out a risk assessment the following
questions should be asked:
What could be inside the space that would pose a risk?
What will be created due to the work carried out in the
What‘s outside the space that might pose a risk during
the proposed work?
Risk Assessment in a confined space
What could be inside
the confined space that
would pose a risk?
Structure and Layout?
What will be created due to
the work carried out in the
Sources of Ignition?
What‘s outside the space
that might pose a risk
during the proposed work?
Nearby Work Activities?
Exemptions from Confined Space
The regulations do not
generally apply to :
Any place below ground in mines (as
this is covered under the Mines and
Quarries Act )
To any under water diving operations
(Normally in sports category and
covered under Fire Regulations.
Control of Confined Space Hazards
It is important to follow the steps in the
hierarchy of control measures to manage the
Personal Protective Equipment
Types of Confined Space
Non-Permitted Confined Space
This does NOT contain physical, chemical or
atmospheric hazards capable of causing death or
serious physical harm.
However, Non-permit confined spaces should also be
monitored regularly to determine if conditions within
the space changes.
Examples of non-permit required confined spaces
might include the interiors of HVAC units, certain air
plenums and pipe chases, attics, walk-in freezers or
refrigerators, and some building crawl spaces.
Permit-Required Confined Space
By definition, a permit-required confined space
has one or more of these characteristics:
Contains or has the potential to contain a
Contains a material with the potential to engulf
someone who enters the space;
Has an internal configuration that might cause an
entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated and/or
Contains any other recognized serious safety or
Example -Permit-Required Confined Space
Workplace. Sewer entry.
Presence of toxic gases. (=) or (>) 1
ppm hydrogen sulfide measured as
an 8-hour time-weighted average.
Presence of explosive/flammable
gases. (=) or (>) 1% of the lower
flammable limit (LFL).
Oxygen Deficiency. A concentration
of oxygen in the atmosphere equal
to or less than 19.5% by volume.
Written Programs (Plan)
The written program (plan) is an important
element of the Confined Space Program because it
helps to clarify what everyone is supposed to do
and how to do it (a recurring theme).
If everyone understands their duties and
responsibilities, and is able to perform in a
professional manner, the likelihood of serious
accidents will decrease significantly.
Any employer who allows employee for entry into
a permit space must develop and implement an
effective written program.
Elements in Written Program (Plan)
Identification of confined spaces
Evaluation of permit spaces and
Development & implementation
of safe entry operations
Providing and maintaining all
necessary PPE equipment
Evaluating permit space
conditions before & during entry
Confined space entry team duties
(Entrant, attendant, supervisor)
Procedures for multiple spaces
Confined space entry and rescue
Rescue & emergency
Entry permit procedures
(issue, use, cancel)
Measures implemented to
prevent unauthorized entry
Procedures for concluding the
entry (closing off the space)
Review & evaluation of entry
operations during the year.
Annual permit space program
review using the historic
The employer's written program should establish the
means, procedures and practices to eliminate or control
hazards necessary for safe permit space entry operations.
These may include:
Specifying acceptable entry conditions;
Isolating the permit space;
Verifying acceptable entry conditions; and
Purging, making inert, flushing or ventilating the
Equipment for Safe Entry
In confined space entry and confined space rescue
situations, the safety equipment must operate
quickly and flawlessly.
In addition to personal protective equipment,
other equipment that employees may require for
safe entry into a permit space includes:
Testing, monitoring, ventilating,
communications and lighting equipment;
Barriers and shields;
Equipment for Safe Entry
First aid kit
Life / rescue line
Tripod / davit / anchor points
Polycarbonate slide sheet
Fire fighting equipment
Hazardous chemical suit
Satellite / mobile phone
Other rescue equipment
Rescue equipment must be
available at the job location
prior to commencing the
Detection of hazardous conditions
If hazardous conditions are detected during entry,
employees must immediately leave the space.
The employer must evaluate the space to determine
the cause of the hazardous atmosphere and modify
the program as necessary.
When entry to permit spaces is prohibited, the
employer must take effective measures to prevent
Non-permit confined spaces must be evaluated when
changes occur in their use or configuration & where
appropriate, must be reclassified as permit spaces.
Informing Contract Employees
Employers must inform any contractors whom they
hire to enter permit spaces about:
The permit spaces and permit space entry requirements;
Any identified hazards & pertinent information regarding
hazards and operations in permit spaces ;
The employer's experience with the confined space, such
as knowledge of hazardous conditions;
Precautions or procedures to be followed when in or near
When employees of multiple employers are conducting entry
operations, the employers must coordinate entry operations to
ensure that all the employees are protected from hazards.
An entry permit is a document prepared by the employer
and is designed to be used as a checklist to document the
completion of all steps necessary to prepare for safe entry
and work in a confined space.
A permit, signed by the entry supervisor, must be posted
at all entrances or otherwise made available to entrants
before they enter a permit space.
The permit must verify that pre-entry preparations
outlined in the standard have been completed.
The duration of entry permits must not exceed the time
required to complete an assignment.
Entry Permits must include:
1. The location of the
permit space to be
2. Purpose of the entry.
3. The date and the
authorized duration of
the entry permit.
4. The names of
attendants, and entry
5. The hazards of the
6. The measures used to
eliminate, isolate, or
control permit space
hazards before entry.
7. The detailed report on
tests conducted in the
space with results.
8. The acceptable entry
9. Name, telephone numbers
of rescue & emergency
and equipment to maintain
contact during entry;
11.Additional permits, such as
for hot work, that have
been issued authorizing
work in the permit space;
12.Special equipment and
equipment and alarm
13.Any other information
needed to ensure
Cancelled Entry Permits
The entry permit is valid once it has been signed by
the entry supervisor.
The entry supervisor must cancel entry permits
when an assignment is completed or when new
New conditions must be noted on the cancelled
permit and used in revising the entry permit for
confined space program.
The standard requires that the employer keep all
cancelled entry permits for at least one year.
Before the initial work assignment begins, the employer
must provide proper training for all workers who are
required to work in permit spaces.
After the training, employers must ensure that the
employees have acquired the understanding, knowledge
and skills necessary to safely perform their duties.
After completion of training, the employer must keep a
record of employee training and make it available for
inspection by employees & statutory authorities.
The record must include the employee's name, the
trainer's signature or initials and dates of the training.
Worker Training (Contd..)
Additional training is required when:
The job duties change;
A change occurs in the permit space program or the
permit space operation presents any new hazard;
An employee's job performance shows deficiencies.
In addition to this training, rescue team members
also require training in CPR and first aid.
Employers must certify that this training has been
For any confined space entry, there must be :
All these employees/ workers should have been
properly trained and also have thorough knowledge of
the job/ duties assigned for them.
Assigned Duties – (Authorized Entrant)
Authorized entrants are required to:
Know about confined space hazards, Read and
observe the entry permit requirements .
Stay alert to the hazards that could be encountered
in a confined space.
Use the protective equipment required by the
Maintain frequent communication with attendants
to enable them to monitor the entrant's status and
alert the entrant to evacuate when necessary;
Assigned Duties :Authorized Entrant (Contd)
Confined space entrants must immediately exit
the confined space when:
Ordered to do so by the attendant or authorized person.
When he recognizes the warning signs or symptoms of
exposure and perceive that they are in danger .
A prohibited condition exists;
Activation of Automatic alarms sound.
They notice physiological stresses or changes in themselves
or co-workers (e.g., dizziness, blurred vision, breath issues).
Alert the attendant when a prohibited condition or when
warning signs or any other symptoms of exposure exists.
Assigned Duties – (Attendant) (Contd)
The attendant is required to:
Be knowledgeable of, and be able to recognize potential confined
Monitor surrounding activities to ensure the safety of personnel;
Remain outside the permit space during entry operations unless
relieved by another authorized attendant;
Maintain communication with and keep an accurate account of
permit space entrants.
Summon the Rescue Team, if crew rescue becomes necessary;
Ensure that unauthorized people stay away from permit spaces
or exit immediately if they have entered the permit space;
Perform no other duties that interfere with the attendant's
Assigned Duties : Attendant– (Contd..)
The attendant is required to order Entrant to
evacuate the confined space if he/she:
Notices a prohibited condition exists.
Notices the entrants shows signs of physiological effects of
An emergency outside the confined space exists.
Notices within the confined space, a hazard which has not
been previously recognized or taken into consideration.
The attendant cannot effectively and safely perform
Must focus attention on the rescue of personnel in some
other confined space that he/she is monitoring;
Assigned Duties – (Entry Supervisor)
The Entry Supervisors are required to:
Know space hazards including information on the mode of
exposure, signs or symptoms and consequences;
Verify emergency plans and specified entry conditions such as
permits, tests, procedures & equipment before allowing entry;
Terminate entry and cancel permits when entry operations are
completed or if a new condition exists;
Verify that rescue services are available and that the means for
summoning them are operable;
Take appropriate measures to remove unauthorized entrants;
Ensure that entry operations remain consistent with the entry
permit and that acceptable entry conditions are maintained.
Management Responsibility should include:
Ensure that a list of confined spaces is maintained.
Ensure that canceled permits are reviewed for lessons
Ensure training of entry team members (authorized
entrants, attendants, and entry supervisors) and other
affected persons are conducted.
Ensure coordination with outside emergency
Ensure personal protective equipment is in compliance
with permit space safety standards.
Confined Space Rescue Team Responsibilities
The Rescue Team members should:
Complete a training drill using mannequins or personnel in
a simulation of the confined space prior to the issuance of
an entry permit for any confined space and at least
Respond immediately to rescue calls from the Attendant
or any other person recognizing a need for rescue from
the confined space;
In addition to emergency response training, receive the
same training as that required of the authorized entrants;
Have certification in first-aid and CPR.
A confined space emergency is any occurrence inside or
outside the space, including failure of hazard control or
monitoring equipment, that may endanger authorized
confined space entrants.
A person shall not enter a confined space unless there is
a suitable emergency arrangements have been made
which are appropriate to the confined space in question.
It is important to know that the period of time for
successful rescue is very limited. Otherwise, a rescue
attempt will become body retrieval.
The emergency arrangements shall include:
All practical measures necessary to ensure the health and
safety of those taking part in the rest.
The provision of a suitable and reliable means of raising the
alarm in the event of an emergency.
Having all necessary rescue equipment nearby and in a well
maintained, good condition.
The provision of information, instruction and training to all
involved in rescue procedures
A rescue drill in a confined space shall be held at least once in
Confined Space Rescue
Two-thirds of all confined space fatalities occur
among would-be rescuers.
Remember, even a well-planned rescue can end up
as a body retrieval.
Rescues can be performed by any employee or a
professional rescuer so long as he has been fully
trained and qualified to act as a rescuer.
Qualifications include knowledge and experience of
working with all hazards associated with rescue and
confined space entry operations.
The Rescue Plan
A barricade area for crowd control.
Additional ventilation options.
Control of other hazards (cave-ins, traffic, etc.).
Protective clothing and equipment.
Appropriate lighting equipment (explosion-proof).
Methods of communication.
A standby rescue team.
Victim removal procedures and devices.
Available emergency vehicles.
Medically trained personnel.
At a minimum, training must include:
Recognition of permit space hazards.
Control of permit space hazards.
Use of atmospheric monitoring equipment.
Use & maintenance of Personal Protective Equipment.
Use and maintenance of rescue equipment.
Annual practice of permit space rescues.
Proficiency in first aid training and Cardiopulmonary
Documentation of training.
Confined Space Rescue Training
Depending on the severity of the emergency,
different rescue strategies or methods can be used.
There are three types of emergency rescue
2. Non-entry Rescue
3. Entry Rescue
On site Rescue
Off site Rescue
Rescue Techniques (Self Rescue)
When the emergency is minor, self-rescue is often
the best approach;
The self-rescue plan provides entrants with the best
chance of escaping a permit space when hazards
Whenever authorized entrants recognize their own
symptoms of exposure to a dangerous atmosphere,
or when a prohibited condition is detected, entrants
are still able to escape from the space unaided and
as quickly as possible.
Rescue Techniques (Self Rescue)
Self-rescue is vitally important because
the entrant is:
Conscious and alert.
Able to recognize his or her own signs and
Still physically able to evacuate space more rapidly
than waiting for someone else to rescue him or her.
Able to alert fellow workers of impending dangers.
Not endangering anyone else.
Rescue Techniques (Non-Entry)
Rescue that is conducted without entry into the
when self-rescue is not possible, non-entry rescue
can be started right away and prevents additional
personnel from being exposed to unidentified and
uncontrolled confined space hazards.
Usually, equipment and other rescue aids are
employed to assist in removing endangered
Entry rescue involves rescuers entering the space to
retrieve the entrant and provide the victim with
An entry rescue plan needs to be developed ahead
of time in the event of an emergency.
Rescue by entry can be classified into:
On Site Rescue
Off Site Rescue
Rescue Techniques (By Entry)
Because most rescue service providers are unable to
rescue within the four-minute time limit, most
employers develop their own rescue teams.
All the rescue team members should be trained to:
Properly use and maintain PPE and rescue
Act as a rescuer in annual simulated emergencies.
Assume individual roles and take on any
Rescue By Entry (ON - Site Rescue)
If the company do not have trained personnel for
emergency rescue, then they must hire a third-party
rescue service to conduct emergency rescues.
The window of opportunity for a rescue is very brief—only
four minutes—the response time for an off-site rescue
team may be considerably longer.
To make sure the confined rescue plan is effective,
organise local rescue/fire departments prior to the job.
Provide access to the space so that they can familiarize
themselves with the site, develop a rescue plan in
advance, and practice rescue operations.
Rescue By Entry (OFF - Site Rescue)
Re-evaluate the plan whenever:
Conditions change within the space.
Workers discover any new hazards.
There are changes in the rescue personnel and/or
New equipment is purchased.
Routine proficiency training results are
A rescue plan is found to be deficient (e.g., a failed
Re-evaluating rescue plans
Natural ventilation is usually not reliable and not
sufficient to maintain the air quality.
Mechanical ventilation (blowers, fans) is usually
necessary to maintain air quality.
Ease of air movement throughout the confined space
should be considered because of the danger of pockets of
toxic gases still remaining even with the use of
Do not substitute oxygen for fresh air. Increasing the
oxygen content will significantly increase the risk of fire
Maintaining Air Quality
Hot work should not normally be performed in a confined
All flammable gases, liquids and vapors are removed
before the start of any hot work.
Surfaces coated with combustible material should be
cleaned or shielded to prevent ignition.
Where appropriate, use spark resistant tools, and make
sure all equipment is bonded or grounded.
If possible, avoid bringing fuel or fuel containers into
the confined space (e.g., gasoline, propane).
While doing the hot work, the concentrations of oxygen
and combustible materials must be monitored regularly.
How are fire and explosion prevented?
All potentially hazardous
energy sources such as
chemical, or thermal
must be de-energized
and locked out prior to
entry to the confined
space so that equipment
cannot be turned on
How are energy sources controlled?
Many other situations or hazards may be present
in a confined space. Be sure that all hazards are
Any liquids or free-flowing solids are removed from the confined
space to eliminate the risk of drowning or suffocation.
All pipes should be physically disconnected or isolation blanks
bolted in place. Closing valves is not sufficient.
A barrier is present to prevent any liquids or free-flowing solids
from entering the confined space.
The opening for entry into and exit from the confined space
must be large enough to allow the passage of a person using
Other Safety Precautions
Do’s and Don’ts in Confined Space
Be aware of the risks
that may occur within a
Make sure the person
doing the work is
capable and trained in
both the work and the
use of any emergency
Work in confined spaces
unless it’s essential to do so.
Ignore the risks – just
because a confined space is
safe one day doesn’t mean it
will always be.
Let others enter a confined
space until you are sure it’s
safe to do so.
Many factors need to be evaluated when looking for
hazards in a confined space.
There is smaller margin for error. An error in
identifying or evaluating potential hazards can have
more serious consequences.
The conditions in a confined space are always
extremely hazardous and sometimes are life
This variability & unpredictability is why the hazard
assessment is extremely important and must be
taken very seriously every time.