Confined Space: The Basics

Confined Space: The Basics

Get the basics of confined space entry—an industry situation that requires following regulations and protocols set forth by agencies like OSHA.

Confined space entry is a specialized situation in construction or another industry where workers must enter a space with limited entry and exit and is not intended for humans to occupy or inhabit. Such areas could include pipes, storage tanks, utility tunnels, electrical vaults, and more. Entering these spaces is dangerous—an average of 92 fatalities occur every year—and requires complying with a host of regulations concerning precautions, testing, ventilation, observation of workers, and a rescue plan. See the basics of confined space entry below and Safe Keeper’s safety protection equipment for all your confined space entry needs. 

Defining a Confined Space 

A confined space can be any number of spaces, but includes most spaces presenting a hazard to workers occupying it—such as the risk of toxic or asphyxiant gases, fire, falls, flooding, and entrapment—can be defined as a confined space. OSHA defines confined spaces as:

  1. Large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work
  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.)
  3. Not designed for continuous employee occupancy

Confined Space Permit 

Some confined spaces require a permit to ensure safety protocols are in place. A “permit space” meets the definition of a confined space and includes one or more of the following:

  1. Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  2. Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing the entrant
  3. Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
  4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards

A permit space requires a company to develop a written program for entering the confined space, issuing entry permits, assigning attendant(s) to observe workers, designating trained entrants, and ensuring a means of rescue if entering workers are injured or in danger. 

Safe Keeper offers a line of confined space entry equipment for entering and exiting a confined space safely. From wire rope Self Retracting Lines (SRLs) and tripods for lowering workers into confined spaces to personal harnesses, Safe Keeper has all the gear to meet your confined space entry needs.

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