SECTION B9: CONFINED SPACE ENTRY
A confined space is any space that is large enough for an employee to
enter, that has a restricted means of entry or exit, and that is not designed
for continuous employee occupancy. All of these criteria must be met for
a space to be classified as confined. Examples of confined spaces include
tanks, pits, certain tunnels, utility vaults, and boilers. The physical
and atmospheric hazards often associated with confined spaces can cause
serious injury or death to workers. The major factors that lead to injuries
in confined spaces include failure to recognize and control these hazards,
and inadequate or incorrect emergency response.
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Scope and Application
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) requirements apply to most activities that require entry
into a confined space. Examples of specific activities include, but
are not limited to, the following:
- Maintenance and cleaning of boilers
- Cutting or welding in confined spaces
- Telecommunications and electrical utility work performed in manholes
and unvented vaults
- Work in excavations or trenches that could develop hazardous atmospheres
- Work in sewers, manholes, pits, traps, and the like
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Workplace Survey and Evaluation of Confined Spaces
Departments must conduct a survey of their workplace to determine
if any confined spaces exist. As part of the survey, confined spaces
must be evaluated to determine if any physical or atmospheric hazards
are associated with them. Assistance in confined space identification
and evaluation is available through the Office of Environmental Health
and Safety (EHS).
NOTE: Because of the dynamic nature of the campus, confined space hazards change frequently. Please contact EHS for assistance in re-evaluating a confined space if necessary.
Written Confined Space Entry Program
Departments whose workers are expected to enter confined spaces
must develop a written program that outlines procedures to be used
safe entry. These procedures are usually incorporated into a written
entry permit and may include provisions from other programs, such
as lockout/tagout (see Section B3, Lockout/Tagout),
electrical safety-related work practices (see Section
B2, Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices), or cutting
and welding (see Section
B10, Cutting and Welding (Hot Work) Operations). Assistance
in developing a written confined space entry program is available
Notification of a Confined Space Entry must be made to Public Safety and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS). Entry supervisors should complete the online Confined Space Entry Notification Form at least 24 hours before the entry takes place.
A Confined Space Entry Permit must be completed for all entries into permit-required confined spaces. The permit must be completed at the entry and must be closed out following completion of the entry. Closed permits must be submitted to your departmental confined space representative for annual review.
Protective Equipment and Material
Several types of protective equipment and material are usually necessary
for safe entry into confined spaces. These may include equipment for
atmospheric testing, ventilation, communication, lighting, and rescue.
Personal protective equipment appropriate for the hazards of the space
must also be provided to workers (see Section B4,
Personal Protective Equipment).
Training is required for all those involved with confined space entry.
This requirement is met through the general
training offered by EHS and specific training by the department.
The type of training varies according to the tasks the workers are
expected to perform, but must always meet certain minimum requirements,
such as the recognition of confined spaces and their hazards, the
provisions of the written program, the provisions of the written entry
permit, and the use of any equipment necessary for safe entry.
Rescue and Emergency Services
Rescue from confined spaces must be carefully planned. Those responsible
for confined space rescue must receive specialized training and be
properly equipped. The Department
of Public Safety should be contacted in the event of any emergency
involving a confined space entry.
Departments must inform outside contractors of the potential hazards
that may be encountered during their work at the University. This
includes giving the contractor access to any information available
on the confined spaces involved in their project.
Similarly, the contractor must inform the Department of any changes
made to a confined space in the course of their work. Any change,
no matter how minor, would require a re-evaluation of the space before
entry would again be allowed.
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- Survey workplace to identify any confined spaces.
- Evaluate confined spaces found during the workplace survey.
- Develop a written Confined Space Entry Program.
- Develop written entry procedures for all confined spaces.
- Evaluate program and procedures at least annually.
- Provide necessary protective equipment and materials.
- Provide specific training for confined space entry.
- Provide contractors with information on any confined spaces that
are involved in a project.
- Recognize confined spaces in the workplace.
- Identify workers who may be expected to enter confined spaces.
- Ensure workers receive general and specific training.
- Ensure workers follow all appropriate procedures during confined
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For More Information
Contact an EHS, Safety
Engineer, at 258-5294.
A Confined Space Program Self-Audit Checklist is available through
EHS or may be downloaded either as a PDF
or a customizable Word document.
The following model programs are available through EHS:
- Confined Space Entry
- Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices
- Hot Work Permit
- Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessment
The following references are available through EHS:
- Workers Deaths in Confined Spaces, A Summary of Surveillance
Findings and Investigative Case Reports, National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health, 1994.
- American National Standard Safety Requirements for Confined
Spaces, American Society of Safety Engineers, 1989.
Required Confined Spaces, 29 CFR 1910.146
Control of Hazardous Energy Sources (Lockout/Tagout), 29 CFR 1910.147
Safety-Related Work Practice, 29 CFR 1910. 331 - 335
Protective Equipment, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I
Cutting and Brazing , 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Q
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