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Confined Space Entry Procedures (1926.1203)


Option 1
  • Demonstrate all physical hazards are eliminated or isolated through engineering controls - 1926.1203(e)(1)(i)
  • Demonstrate continuous forced air ventilation alone can maintain safe entry levels and entrants can exit safely if ventilation fails - 1926.1203(e)(1)(ii)
  • Develop monitoring and inspection data to support the above and make the data available - 1926.1203(e)(1)(iii)
  • Perform initial entries for inspection of safety - 1926.1203(e)(1)(iv)
Option 2
  • Eliminate any conditions that might make it dangerous to remove an entrance cover - 1926.1203(e)(2)(i)
  • Immediately guard openings to prevent falls/falling objects - 1926.1203(e)(2)(ii)
  • Test the air with a calibrated direct-reading instrument for oxygen, flammable gases and vapors and toxic air contaminants (in that order) before entry (entrant must be able to review test results before entering) - 1926.1203(e)(2)(iii)
  • Use continuous forced air ventilation to eliminate any hazardous atmospheres for as long as employees are present - 1926.1203(e)(2)(iv)
  • Continuously monitor the space with an alarm set to give employees sufficient time to escape (if a continuous monitor is not commercially available, period monitoring is required). Employees and then authorized representatives must be given the opportunity to observe monitoring. 1926.1203(e)(2)(v)
  • If a hazard is detected, the space must be evacuated immediately, evaluated as to how the hazard developed and measures implemented before re-entry occurs - 1926.1203(e)(2)(vi)
  • A safe method of entry and exit must be established. Personnel hoisting must be designed for that purpose or approved in writing by a professional engineer. 1926.1203(e)(2)(vii)
  • A written certification that the space is safe to enter must be signed and dated by the employer before entry and made available. 1926.1203(e)(2)(viii)
A confined space
  • Is large enough and so configured that a body can enter it
  • Has limited or restricted means of entry/exit
  • Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy
A Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS) has one or more of the following:
  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfment
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward or tapers to a smaller cross-section
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazards (including physical hazards that can cause death or serious injury, such as explosives; mechanical, electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic energy; radiation; temperature extremes; engulfment; noise; chemicals that can damage the skin or eyes)
  • A low hanging pipe or angle iron strut can impair the ability to exit and is considered a physical hazard
Hazardous atmosphere: may expose employees to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self-rescue or acute illness from one or more of the following:
  • Flammable gas, vapor or mist in excess of 10% of its lower flammable limit
  • Airborne combustible dust at a concentration that meets or exceeds its lower flammable limit (or obscures vision at 5 feet or less)
  • Atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5% or above 23.5%
  • Concentrations of toxic substances above OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs) that could cause death, impairment of ability to self-rescue, injury or acute illness
  • Any other atmospheric conditions that are immediately dangerous to life or health

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