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Confined Space

What is a Confined Space?
A confined space is a space that
is large enough for a person to
enter and work has limited or
restricted means of entry and
exit which is not designed for
continuous occupancy.

Examples of a Confined Space?


Examples of a Confined Space?

Permit-Required Confined Space
• A permit-required confined space has at
least one of the following characteristics:
1. Contains or has the potential to contain
a hazardous atmosphere
2. Contains a material that has the
potential to engulf an entrant
3. Has an internal configuration such that
an entrant could be trapped or
4. Contains any other recognized serious
safety and health hazard 5
Confined Space Hazards
• Oxygen deficiency
• Flammable/combustible gases and vapors
• Toxic gases
• Engulfment in solid or liquid
• High noise levels
• Grinding, crushing, or mixing mechanisms
• Configuration
• Extreme temperatures
• Chemicals
• Lack of lighting
this is one example of a permit-
required confined space. always
follow permit procedures, even if
you are going in for just a second

this confined space may be oxygen deficient or contain
flammable, combustible, or toxic gases or vapors

test the atmosphere in this order: oxygen content,

then flammables, then toxics, then other hazards 8
test the atmosphere at all levels of the confined space; good
air near the opening doesn’t mean good air at the bottom

Good Air

Deadly Air

the atmosphere inside a confined
space may not be suitable for entry

forced-air ventilation may be used, but you are not

permitted to enter until the atmosphere is suitable 10
atmospheric conditions may change
while you are in the confined space

periodically monitor the atmosphere

within the confined space 11
Get Out!
• If a hazardous atmosphere is detected
while you are in the confined space
– all activities should stop
– you should exit immediately
– the hazard should be evaluated
– protective measures should be taken

if you must wear a respirator, remember that an air-purifying
respirator will do nothing in an oxygen deficient atmosphere

these person are wearing air-supplying

respirators due to a lack of oxygen
adequate illumination should be
provided where lighting is limited

in some cases, explosion-proof

lighting may be necessary
some confined spaces can contain mixing or crushing mechanisms
or other hazards that can be turned on and injure you

use lockout/tagout on all hazardous items

Duties of Attendants
• Knows the hazards
• Maintains an accurate count of entrants
• Remains outside the permit space until
relieved by another attendant
• Maintains regular communication with
• Monitors conditions inside and outside of
the permit space

Duties of Attendants
• Summon rescue services when needed
• Ensures unauthorized personnel do not
enter permit space or affect operations
• Performs non-entry rescues
• Performs no other duties that might
interfere with primary duty to monitor
and protect the entrant(s)

it is possible to be overcome by a sudden
change in atmospheric conditions

ensure that a rescue procedure is in place in case an entrant

needs to be removed from a confined space in an emergency
the reserve pit is a permit-required confined space because of its
potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere and to drowning

Additional Concerns
• Noise
– amplified due to acoustics of the space
– damages hearing and affects communication
• Slippery or wet surfaces
– increased risk of falls and electrical shock
• Personal protective equipment
– more common ppe such as hard hat, hard-
toed boots, safety glasses, face shield, gloves,
and overalls must be worn when needed
• Hot work
If you are working at Confined
Space, the organization should
responsible for your team in:
• Providing atmospheric testing equipment
• If necessary, providing ventilation
equipment and/or respiratory protection
• Providing and training on confined space
permits and the written program
• Developing and training on emergency
action and rescue plans
• Responding to and correcting hazards
pointed out by you, team 21
As a leader or team member, you
are responsible for:
• Testing the atmosphere prior to entry
• Periodically monitoring the atmosphere
for possible changes
• Following permit procedures
• Ensuring that there is at least one
authorized attendant present at all times
• Correcting the hazards you are able to
• Reporting to your supervisor the hazards
you are unable to correct

Atmospheric Monitoring
• Atmospheric testing is required for two
distinct purposes:
1. Evaluation of the hazards of the
permit space
2. and Verification that acceptable entry
conditions for entry into that space

Atmospheric Monitoring
There are nine basic rules for
atmospheric testing. Following these rules
will help you achieve reliable results so
that you can operate safely in confined

Atmospheric Monitoring
The first rule to remember when monitoring a
confined space is to monitor in the proper order.
This means that at the very least you’ll monitor
for corrosivity before you take simultaneous
readings for other hazards

Atmospheric Monitoring
The second rule relates to vapor density. Identified
the vapor density of the atmosphere.

Atmospheric Monitoring
CH4 Vapor Density = 0.6

CO Vapor Density = 0.97

H2S Vapor Density = 1.19

Atmospheric Monitoring
• The third rule of atmospheric monitoring is to know
your monitor’s limitations.

Atmospheric Monitoring
• The fourth rule of atmospheric monitoring is to know
your monitor’s operational parameters.

Atmospheric Monitoring
• The fifth rule of atmospheric monitoring is to realize that
many flammable gases are also toxic.

Atmospheric Monitoring
• Rule six is to remember that some vapors migrate toward
the exterior of the space, as if they were seeking openings
to the outside

Atmospheric Monitoring
• Rule seven is to zero and inspect and field calibrate the
monitor in an area with clean air.

Atmospheric Monitoring
• Rule eight is to sample from a small opening in the space
before opening it up, and to position yourself upwind
from the space while monitoring.

Atmospheric Monitoring
• The ninth rule for atmospheric monitoring is to make
sure all batteries are charged sufficiently after each use.

Case Study
A person climbed inside a tank to unclog a
line but did not test the tank’s atmosphere.
The tool he was using produced a spark that
ignited the atmosphere.

A 23-year-old worker died when he entered a
permit-required confined space. The mechanic
was assigned to unclog a line. The tank had been
purged with an inert nitrogen atmosphere. He
was told to wait for the entry supervisor to arrive,
he entered the tank for an unknown reason,
apparently without first testing the atmosphere,
and died of asphyxiation. When the victim was
discovered about an hour later, a coworker
jumped into the tank, again without testing the
atmosphere first, and lifted the victim up to
others standing on top of the tank. Testing by fire
department responders showed the atmosphere
at the bottom of the tank to be about 12%
oxygen, below the minimum safe level of 19.5%
oxygen. 37
Give 3 things that may have contributed to
this worker losing his life.

Give 3 recommendations for preventing a

similar incident.

Memory Check
1. What is the correct order of atmospheric
a. flammables, toxics, oxygen, other
b. toxics, oxygen, flammables, other
c. oxygen, toxics, flammables, other
d. oxygen, flammables, toxics, other

Memory Check
2. A space that meets the definition of a
confined space and contains other
recognized serious safety and health
hazards is what?
a. a confined space
b. a permit-required confined space
c. a non-permit-required confined space
d. not a confined space

Always Remember
• Test the atmosphere prior to entry and
• Never enter a confined space if the
atmospheric conditions are not suitable
• Ensure an attendant is outside the
confined space at all times
• Follow confined space permit