The term confined space may be defined as a space or an area large enough to allow a person to enter; with limited openings for workers to enter and exit; and not designed for continuous occupancy. Though the definition of a confined space varies depending on the type of industry, such as a utility tunnel of a boiler or a septic tank that has contained sewage or an underground electrical vault. The following type of confined space requires a permit-to-enter and work which contains hazardous materials such as flammable and toxic substances or has the potential to contain a hazardousatmosphere such as lack of oxygen, contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant whether a liquid or solid), has an internal configuration such that the entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section which danger from unexpected movement of machinery, and contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard such as electrocution and heat stress.
A permit to enter a confined space is required by law. This permit should include:
1. A safety and personal protective equipment like gloves goggle and personal breathing apparatus.
2. Other personal protective equipment such as special protective coveralls
4. Signs, barriers and light sources
5. When applicable a spark-proof tool is needed when entering a confined space.
6. Climbing equipment when applicable
7. Means for communication such as two way radio is also needed
8. Portable air monitors for entrant personnel
9. Personal requirements and responsibilities for entry supervisor, attendant and entrant
Workers working on confined spaces must also train. The training module should include:
1. The worker must be trained regarding the proper entry of the confined space.
2. The worker should be able to know the proper equipment used for each job.
3. The company must trained the correct implementation procedures
4. The worker must know the procedure in emergency situations.
5. The worker must know the means for preventing unauthorized employee entry.
6. Sings are also important, thus the worker must know and able to follow these signs such as danger signs at permit spaces - DANGER -PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT PERMIT.
7. The worker must be able to know the correct procedure on how to handle oral communication as well as how to work with the communication apparatus.
8. The procedure on the entry procedure must be detailed.
9. Permits must be posted on the job site and must be filled accordingly.
10. Emergency Procedures must also post on the job site.
11. Requirements for re-evaluation notification whenever conditions change
12. Procedures for notifying contractors who may enter permit-required confined spaces
13. Requirements and procedures for obtaining a hot work permit
14. Entry supervisor must be designated
15. Proper air testing equipment provide and used
Entry equipment for workers must be properly maintained and provided for each worker. Proper entry equipment should include barriers and PPE, ventilator fans and blowers, Ladders and other climbing equipments, proper emergency rescue equipment readiness and functionality tested. Hot work permits must be first secured as required by laws.
Personnel training to include duties of entrant and attendant. The hazards involved in the confined space. Signs, symptoms, and consequences of exposures. Awareness of behavioral effects of exposures - attendant. Proper use of equipment. Mean of communication. Guideline in an event of an emergency situation. How to conduct a rescue operation. Proper use of personal protective equipment. Each workers training should be done, on the first day of training new workers and prior to change in assigned duties. Also include in the training for workers prior to change in permit space procedures and whenever there is reason to believe there have been deviations from the required procedures. Each workers training records must be properly documented and include the employee's name, dates of training and documentation.
note: originally posted at Exposeknowledge.com under the same author.