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Confined Spaces

posted Feb 8, 2010, 12:58 PM by David Wright

Confined Space: an area not designed for human habitation that contains hazards to human health and safety, and has limited access in and out.  There are two types of confined spaces, permit required and non-permit required.  Permit required confined spaces require specially trained personnel to enter them.  There must be a trained rescue team standing by, a safety hoist to pull the person out, and other requirements.  No one at this site has had that kind of training, and entry into a permit required confined space is prohibited.  Permit required confined spaces are marked with the words “Confined Space”.  Non-permit required confined spaces may be entered by site personnel if correct lockout / tagout procedures are used.  An example would be behind the blade of a collection vehicle.  The engine must be shut down, the key removed, parking brake set and master switch set to the off position before entering.

Definition:  A confined space is an area that is not designed for human habitation, may contain hazards to human health and safety, has limited access in and out, or may contain a hazardous atmosphere.


Confined spaces come in two basic types, permit required and non-permit required.  Management must perform an evaluation of each confined space, and the space identified as permit required or not.  A permit required confined space means that if anyone enters the space, a trained rescue team must be standing by and the atmosphere in the confined space must be tested prior to entry.  A permit must also be filled out.


The confined spaces at our sites consist of the following:


Space                                                 permit required                     non-permit required


Inside a compactor                                                                                      **


Storm drains                                                 **


Fuel tanks                                                     **


Sewer lift stations                                        **


Trenches (deeper than 4 feet)                                                                   **


When entering a non-permit required confined space, proper lockout / tagout procedures must still be used.  This means if there are any possible energy sources or stored energy they must first be removed.

Anyone found entering a permit required confined space without authorization and proper training may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.