ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements  Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits
ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits

Confined Space Entry

Confined SpaceFederal OSHA-required practices and procedures were designed to protect employees in general industry from the hazards of entry into permit-required confined spaces.

Confined Space Entries are never routine. Even though there are numerous types of protective gear, equipment, and procedures available, the potential for accident or injury is always present. Each entry has risks, and the risks change in each new environment. Some of the hazards can include low oxygen levels, gas leaks, toxic fumes, entrapment, and even structural collapse.

In order to prevent unnecessary injury, the OSHA Confined Space Entry Standard (1910.146) requires that employers establish a program that identifies the proper procedures and materials to be used to protect employees working in and near confined spaces.

"Confined Space” means a space that:

(1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and,
(2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.); and,
(3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

A “Permit Required Confined Space” is:

A confined space that may be accompanied by a potential hazard, and which requires a written “Entry Permit” before work can begin.
Spaces that require an Entry Permit include environments that have:

• A hazardous atmosphere.
• Materials that can engulf a worker,
• A configuration that could trap or asphyxiate a worker.
• Any other recognized serious safety or health hazard

Warning Signs must be posted at entrances to all Permit Spaces to let you know that a written Permit is required for entry. When entry into the space is required, an Entry Supervisor must fill out and sign the permit before any entry activity can begin.

Permits for Confined Space Entry must include information about:

• The Permit Space to be entered,
• The purpose of the entry,
• The date of the entry,
• The duration of the entry

The permit must also list the Entry Team members, the hazards associated with the particular space, and information about the atmospheric testing that has been conducted. Other sections of the permit require information about rescue and emergency procedures, Personal Protective Equipment, and communications. Permits must be kept on file for at least one year.

Training in Confined Space Entry must be provided to all members of an entry team. This includes Entry Supervisors, Attendants and Entrants.

An entry team needs to know how to:

• Set up safety barriers
• Use ladders and other entry / exit gear
• Use atmospheric monitoring devices
• Implement “forced air” ventilation
• Operate communications devices

Rescue and emergency services teams must also receive special training in First Aid and CPR practices.

Before beginning work, all members of the entry team have responsibilities that must be addressed to ensure a safe operation.

Entry Supervisors

Entry Supervisors must make sure that no present or likely dangers exist, that atmospheric tests have been performed, safety equipment is in place, communication systems are operational, and emergency rescue equipment is on hand.

Other responsibilities of Supervisors are to clear unauthorized personnel from the area, and to ensure that entry operations stay within Permit guidelines.


Attendants must be able to monitor entrant activity, assist with entry and exit, maintain constant communication with Entrants, and recognize symptoms of health hazards (such as oxygen deprivation).


Entrants who enter Confined Spaces must wear chest or full-body harnesses to facilitate their rescue. A retrieval line can be attached to the harness at the center of the back, upper shoulders or chest, with the other end of the line hooked to a fixed anchor or retrieval device outside the space. The only time that non-entry retrieval systems do not have to be used is if they would increase the Entrant’s risk during entry.
Atmospheric Testing

There are three atmospheric tests that must be conducted for all Confined Spaces. These tests are overseen by the Entry Supervisor and must be performed by qualified personnel, using “direct reading, “ calibrated instruments. The tests must be performed in the following order:

• Oxygen Content must be between 19.5% and 23.5%. An atmosphere with less than 19.5% oxygen is an asphyxiation hazard, over 23.5% is a fire / explosion hazard.

• Flammable Gases, Vapors, and Dusts may not exceed 10% of their Lower Flammability / Explosive limits.

• General Gases, Vapors, and Fumes which may present a toxic or poisonous atmosphere must be detected.

Atmospheric testing must be performed periodically during the Entry to ensure that safe conditions continue to exist. Since gases and vapors can weigh different amounts, they frequently “stratify” within a space. Spaces with stratified atmosphere must be tested four feet at a time to identify potential hazards.

If a space cannot be isolated for testing because it is too large, or part of a continuous system (such as a sewer), testing must be done to the extent that it is feasible. Monitoring must be continuous, and any atmospheric hazards must be eliminated or controlled for Entry to take place.

Entry Supervisors may arrange to have continuous, forced-air ventilation set up, or respirators / SCBA’s may be required. Never ventilate a space with pure oxygen, as it can create a fire or explosion hazard.

Non-Atmospheric Hazards can include “engulfment” by materials like sand or grain, moving machinery, and electrical equipment and lines. When machinery and hazardous energy sources are present, Lockout / Tagout procedures must be followed. Stored energy that may still exist even after being Locked Out can include Pneumatic Energy, Electricity, Compressed Gases, and Hydraulic Energy.


• There are many kinds of Confined Spaces, and hazards.
• Written Entry Permits are required for hazardous sites.
• PPE should always be used in Confined Spaces.
• Atmospheric tests must always be performed.
• Entrants must wear body harnesses at all times.
• Good communication is the key to safety in Confined Spaces.


Please answer the following questions, then discuss with the class.

1. What are some of the hazards that could be present in a Confined Space?

2. According to OSHA, is it possible that there can be too much oxygen in a Confined Space?

3. What does it mean when a Confined Space contains gases that are Stratified?

4. What kind of safety equipment should be worn/used by Entrants in a Confined

5.   Why do some Confined Spaces require “Entry Permits?”

One thought on “Confined Space Entry”

Leave a Reply

Back to top