Confined spaces can become deadly places if not properly identified and managed. The OSHA “Permit-Required Confined Spaces” standard, 29 CFR 1910.146, requires that the employer determine if any existing confined spaces are permit-required. If permit-required confined spaces exist, employees must be informed of the hazards presented by the space and only be allowed into the spaces after a full confined spaces assessment entry program has been written and implemented.
An effective “confined space” program must include sufficient measures to prohibit unauthorized confined space entry. Acceptable confined space entry conditions must be created using atmospheric testing, hazard isolation, inerting, purging or ventilating procedures to provide safe conditions.
Many employers are confused about the true definition of a confined space. The experience of Workplace Safety & Health Co., Inc. consultants can be utilized to identify confined spaces and assess whether they should be listed as “permit-required.” In some cases, permit-required confined spaces can be reclassified to non-permit spaces if all hazards can be completely eliminated.