This data sheet contains proposed formats for confined space entry permits and confined space work permits, the wording of the OH&S Act Regulation 5, a standard operating procedure, as well as procedures for preparing a site and atmospheric testing.
Confined space entry permit
Date and Time issued;
Date and Time expires;
Job site or Space ID;
Equipment to be worked on;
Work to be performed;
Time Oxygen %;
Explosive % LFL;
Source isolation (No Entry);
Pumps or lines blinded, disconnected, blocked; N/A /YES /NO
Ventilation modification; Mechanical /Natural only; N/A /YES /NO
(Format courtesy of SRT 24 Hour Call Centre, 080077825326)
Confined space work permit
Name of staff member;
Period of validity
This work will start on; date and time;
This work will be completed on; date and time;
Declaration by applicant to perform work in confined space; I have read, fully understand and have checked the conditions contained in the site specific procedures pertaining to confined spaces
Checks to be performed
To be completed by the person performing work in confined spaces.
Precautionary measures; YES /NO /COMMENT
1 Comply with protective clothing /equipment requirements
2 Comply with isolation procedure requirements where applicable
3 Tags provided
4 Area demarcated and screened
5 Sewers, drains, channels blocked
6 No hazardous materials exposed
7 Gas testing performed and copy to hand
8 Valves closed and locked
9 Standby needed for confined spaces?
10 Standby needed for hot work?
11 Vessel purged /ventilated
12 Other requirements stipulated by supervisor;
Signed by person performing work;
Signed by person who performed checks;
Authorisation by designated person. I have verified that the area is safe for the nature of work to be performed and hereby authorise the applicant to perform the work required.
Permit returned. Work completed and permit returned on
Date and Time;
Declaration by designated person. I declare the area safe and all equipment removed;
(Format courtesy of SRT 24 Hour Call Centre, 080077825326)
Regulation 5 on work in confined spaces
Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993; General Safety Regulations
5. Work in confined spaces
1. An employer or a user of machinery shall take steps to ensure that a confined space is entered by an employee or other person only after the air therein has been tested and evaluated by a person who is competent to pronounce on the safety thereof, and who has certified in writing that the confined space is safe and will remain safe while any person is in the confined space, taking into account the nature and duration of the work to be performed therein.
2. Where the provisions of sub regulation (1) cannot be complied with the employer or user of machinery, as the case may be, shall take steps to ensure that any confined space in which there exists or is likely to exist a hazardous gas, vapour, dust or fumes, or which has or is likely to have, an oxygen content of less than 20 per cent by volume, is entered by an employee or other person only when
a. subject to the provisions of sub regulation (3), the confined space is purged and ventilated to provide a safe atmosphere therein and measures necessary to maintain a safe atmosphere therein have been taken; and
b. the confined space has been isolated from all pipes, ducts and other communicating openings by means of effective blanking other than the shutting or locking of a valve or a cock, or, if this is not practicable, only when all valves and cocks which are a potential source of danger have been locked and securely fastened by means of chains and padlocks.
3. Where the provisions of sub regulation (2)(a) cannot be complied with, the employer or user of machinery shall take steps to ensure that the confined space in question is entered only when the employee or person entering is using breathing apparatus of a type approved by the chief inspector and, further, that;
a. the provisions of sub regulation (2) (b) are complied with;
b. any employee or person entering the confined space is using a safety harness or other similar equipment, to which a rope is securely attached which reaches beyond the access to the confined space, and the free end of which is attended to by a person referred to in paragraph (c);
c. at least one other person trained in resuscitation is and remains in attendance immediately outside the entrance of the confined space in order to assist or remove any or persons from the confined space, if necessary; and
d. effective apparatus for breathing and resuscitation of a type approved by the chief inspector is available immediately out side the confined space.
4. An employer or user of machinery shall take steps to ensure that all persons vacate a confined space on completion of any work therein.
5. Where the hazardous gas, vapour, dust or fumes contemplated in sub regulation (2) are of an explosive or flammable nature, an employer or user of machinery shall further take steps to ensure that such a confined space is entered only if ;
a. the concentration of the gas, vapour, dust or fumes does not exceed 25 percent of the lower explosive limit of the gas, vapour, dust or fumes concerned where the work to be performed is of such a nature that it does not create a source of ignition; or
b. such concentration does not exceed 10 per cent of the lower explosive limit of the gas, vapour, dust or fumes where other work is performed.
6. The provisions of this regulation shall mutatis mutandis also apply, in so far as they can be so applied, to any work which is performed in any place or space on the outside of and bordering on or in the immediate vicinity of, any confined space, and in which place or space, owing to its proximity to the confined space, any hazardous article, oxygen-deficient atmosphere or dangerous concentration of gas, vapour, dust or fumes may occur or be present.
(Summary courtesy of SRT 24 Hour Call Centre, 080077825326)
Confined space standard operating procedure
by Dave Marock
This document seeks to assist work teams in ensuring that confined space entry and work is done in a safe and responsible manner. It incorporates relevant safety standards.
Learning assumed to be in place
Staff members must have the communication skills to confirm knowledge required for this work. The staff member should not suffer from claustrophobia.
Identify confined spaces
Confined spaces located within a facility or under the facility’s control should be identified. The SHEQ officer should determine if permits are required. (See permit formats) Use a permit for every entry irrespective of the number of spaces to be entered.
All employees must be made aware of all confined spaces through training by supervisors or designated representatives.
Prevent unauthorised entry
All employees shall be instructed by their supervisor that entry into a confined space is prohibited without an authorised permit. Supervisors must instruct employees to list their names on the authorised permit before they will be allowed to enter a confined space.
Use a permit system
When a confined space must be entered, a permit shall be completed and authorised by the supervisor prior to entry of the confined space. This permit shall serve as certification that the space is safe for entry. The permit shall contain the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person providing the certification.
A permit shall not be authorised until all conditions of the permit have been met. Attach permits to the operating procedure.
Plan the entry
The first step towards conducting a safe confined-space entry is to plan the entry. This will allow for the identification of all hazards, and for the determination of all equipment necessary, to complete the project.
Gather general data
Identify the confined space. Give the name or location of the confined space.
Give the reason for entering the confined space. Be specific. Also, identify if hot work will be done.
Identify the contents of the confined space. This refers to any chemicals or other materials and energy that are usually present in the confined space. This is to be used to determine the exact gas analysis to be done during work in the confined space as well as any other tests.
Atmospheric tests should be conducted by the entry supervisor prior to the opening of any covers.
The entry supervisor will determine the oxygen content and describe the testing procedures and equipment used. Note the time and result of every test.
The entry supervisor will determine flammable gas content and describe the testing procedures and type analyser used. Note the time and result of every test, and the type of analyser used. Signed by supervisor
If a toxic substance is determined to be in the confined space during testing by the entry supervisor, Environmental Health & Safety shall be contacted to assist in obtaining a
Material Safety Data Sheet or other chemical information to determine what type of personal protective equipment is required, the potential health effects, the Permissible Exposure Limits, and any other information needed to safely conduct the work. Was this done and was it necessary:
The supervisor will determine mechanical and physical hazards. They should list all items and energy that will require lockout / tag out, blanking and bleeding, disconnecting, or securing. Physical hazards should also be listed.
Indicate whether mechanical or natural ventilation will be used. Describe the procedures to be used. If mechanical ventilation is to be used, the exhaust must be pointed away from personnel or ignition sources. Also, mechanical ventilators should be bonded to the confined space.
Describe the procedures for disconnecting equipment or lockout and tagout. All mechanical, electrical, or heat-producing equipment should be disconnected or locked and tagged out. This would also include any pumps that pull fluid from, or pump fluid into, the confined space.
Purge or clean
Indicate if the confined space will be purged. Purging with inert gas is not recommended. If the space must be purged, describe the procedures.
Indicate the type of cleaning methods to be used. If chemical cleaners are to be used, name the type and describe the procedures. The MSDS for the chemical should be consulted prior to use.
When introducing a chemical into a confined space, the compatibility of that chemical with the contents of the confined space must be checked. If in doubt, consult Environmental Health & Safety.
If steam is to be used, the hose should be bonded to the confined space.
Place warning signs
Indicate if warning signs or barriers will be needed to prevent unauthorised entry or to protect workers from external hazards. If the confined space will be left open and unattended for any length of time, warning signs and barriers will be required.
Identify all personnel
List all employees that will be required to prepare the confined space and complete the work inside the space. See Attached Permits
Identify necessary equipment
List equipment necessary to complete the project. Where practical, personnel entering a confined space should be equipped with a retrieval line secured at one end to the entrant by a full-body harness with its other end secured to a tripod lifting hoist.
Conduct pre-entry training
After planning the entry, department heads or designated representatives must train employees involved, no longer than one day before entry. Provide each employee with induction and a Job Safety Checklist.
Identify the space and the reasons for entry
Identify work detail. Assign each employee the job/s he/she is to perform in the entry project, such as entrant, standby person, etc. If an employee is required to use a piece of equipment, be sure that he/she is capable of using the equipment. Inform all personnel that no one is to enter the confined space unless the standby person is present at the work site.
Inform entrants of known or suspected hazards
Inform personnel of access or exit problems.
Inform personnel of equipment to be locked out or tagged out.
Inform personnel of contents in the confined space.
Inform personnel of atmospheric levels to be maintained before entering and while working.
If a toxic atmosphere or substance is present or could become present, complete the relevant additional training.
If respiratory protection is not to be used, inform personnel of the maximum permissible exposure level (PEL) that could occur in the confined space, and the method used to monitor PEL.
Inform personnel of the potential health effects of exposure to the toxic atmosphere or substance; signs and symptoms of exposure to the toxic fume; PPE required to wear.
Entrants must be trained in the proper use of the relevant safety equipment and PPE.
Persons should not be assigned to tasks requiring use of respirators unless they are physically tested as able to perform the work and use the equipment. A doctor should determine what health and physical conditions are pertinent. The respirator user’s medical status should be reviewed at least annually.
Identify isolation procedures
Inform the personnel responsible for the lockout/ tagout of all equipment that must be isolated. Inform the personnel responsible for performing this function of the methods to be used.
Identify purging and/or ventilation procedures
Inform all personnel responsible for performing this function of the methods to be used.
Identify all equipment needed
Inform personnel involved in the project of all equipment that will be necessary to complete the project. Make sure that all employees are capable of using their assigned equipment properly.
Determine required PPE
Determine the necessary personal protective equipment. Inform personnel of all PPE that must be used to ensure their safety. Make sure that all personnel required to use PPE are trained in the proper use of the equipment.
Where practical, personnel entering a confined space should be equipped with a retrieval line secured at one end to the entrant by a full-body harness with its other end secured to a tripod lifting hoist.
Inform all entrants that they are required to maintain communication with the standby person. Inform standby person that he/she must maintain constant contact with all entrants. Inform personnel of the type of communication they are to use.
Protect from external hazards
Inform personnel where signs and barriers will be placed to prevent unauthorised entry and protect entrants from external hazards.
Pre-plan rescue procedures
The designated standby person/s should be informed of the rescue procedures to be followed. Rescue procedures to be used are listed.
The standby person should be informed that he/she can have no other duty but to maintain contact with personnel inside the confined space.
Inform the standby person/s that they must not enter the confined space under any circumstances.
Place the confined space back into service
Inform personnel of the steps to be taken to place the confined space back into service. Note the tank number, tank location, date, and time.
Preparing a confined space for entry
The procedure for preparing a confined space for entry should be recorded on site:
Were warning signs or barriers to prevent unauthorised entry, or to protect entrants from external hazards, placed on or around the confined space as planned?
Were the relevant tools, safety equipment, and monitoring equipment, near the confined space?
Were mechanical and /or electrical hazards isolated as planned?
Were confined spaces purged /ventilated as planned?
Did the entry supervisor test the atmosphere as discussed?
If oxygen content was less than 19.5% or greater than 21.5%, did you perform additional ventilation? Did you then shut off ventilation equipment and re-test the oxygen content?
If oxygen content was between 19.5% and 21.5%, did you continue entry preparation?
Did you test for flammable gas level as planned?
If the meter reading was less than 10% of the lower explosive limit (LEL), did you continue entry preparations?
If the meter reading was above 10% of the LEL, did you continue ventilation of the confined space? Did you then shut off the ventilation and have the atmosphere re-tested?
If the meter reading was still above 10% of the LEL, did you clean the confined space before entry was permitted? If the confined space is entered for cleaning purposes, were the planned procedure followed?
Did the entry supervisor determine the toxicity of the atmosphere as planned? If a toxic atmosphere was present, no person should be permitted to enter the confined space at a level exceeding the Permissible Exposure Limit without relevant PPE.
Was an environmental check done?
Did you assemble all personnel involved and conduct a simulated rescue drill?
Did you ask if anyone required more information?
Did you complete and sign the permits?
Notes on Atmospheric Testing Procedures
When last was testing equipment calibrated?
Were all of the manufacturer’s operating instructions followed?
Was the test equipment tested in a known atmosphere to insure its accuracy?
Was ventilation equipment shut off before conducting any atmospheric tests?
Was the atmosphere tested at the bottom, top, and middle of all confined spaces?
Was the atmosphere continuously monitored while work is being conducted in the confined space?
If the confined space was left for any reason, was the atmosphere re-tested before re-entering the space?
Notes on Confined Space Cleaning Procedures
If cleaning must be conducted in a confined space to achieve acceptable atmospheric conditions, the following procedures must be followed:
Were all entrants equipped with the safety equipment?
Were all entrants equipped with an SCBA.
Were no spark-producing tools allowed for use.
Notes on rescue procedures
In the event of an emergency, the standby person should:
Immediately summon by telephone these people;
Attempt to remove the victim by use of the retrieval line from outside the confined space if this can be accomplished without creating further hazard for the entrant or the attendant.
If the standby person is able to remove the victim with the retrieval line, he/she should administer aid within the limits of his/her training until emergency medical services (EMS) arrive. If the standby person is unable to remove the victim by using the retrieval line, he or she must wait for help to arrive. The standby person(s) is not to enter the confined space for any reason.
Give EMS personnel any information they request.
Were all the entrants and staff working on the entry briefed on this procedure?
Notes on responsibilities and training of Authorised Entrants
The person(s) authorised to enter a confined space shall be responsible for and receive training in the following:
The knowledge of hazards that may be faced during entry, including the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure.
Proper use of equipment, which includes:
Atmospheric testing and monitoring equipment.
Ventilating equipment needed to obtain acceptable entry conditions.
Communication equipment necessary to maintain contact with the standby person.
Personal protective equipment as needed.
Lighting equipment as needed.
Barriers and shields as needed.
Equipment, such as ladders, needed for safe ingress and egress.
Rescue and emergency equipment as needed.
Any other equipment necessary for safe entry into and rescue from permit spaces.
Communication with the attendant as necessary to enable the attendant to monitor entrant status and to enable the attendant to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space if required.
Alert the attendant (standby person) whenever the entrant recognises any warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation, or when the entrant detects a prohibited condition.
Exiting the permit space as quickly as possible whenever:
An order to evacuate has been given by the attendant or the entry supervisor;
The entrant recognises any warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation;
The entrant detects a prohibited condition; or
An evacuation alarm is activated.
Notes on Standby Persons (Attendants)
Persons authorised to perform duties as attendants shall be responsible for and receive training in the following:
Knowing the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of exposure.
Is aware of possible behavioral effects of hazard exposure in authorised entrants.
Continuously maintaining an accurate count of authorised entrants in the permit space and ensures that the means used to identify authorised entrants accurately identifies who is in the permit space.
Remains outside the permit space during entry operations until relieved by another attendant.
Attempting non-entry rescue if proper equipment is in place and the rescue attempt will not present further hazards to the entrant or attendant.
Communicating with authorised entrants as necessary to monitor entrant status and to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space when conditions warrant.
Monitoring activities inside and outside the space to determine if it is safe for entrants to remain in the space and ordering the authorised entrants to evacuate the permit space immediately under any of the following conditions:
If the attendant detects a prohibited condition.
If the attendant detects the behavioral effects of hazard exposure in an authorised entrant.
If the attendant detects a situation outside the space that could endanger the authorised entrants.
Summoning rescue and other emergency services as soon as the attendant determines that authorised entrants may need assistance to escape from permit space hazards.
Taking the following actions when unauthorised persons approach or enter a permit space while entry is underway:
Warn the unauthorised persons that they must stay away from the permit space.
Advise the unauthorised persons that they must exit immediately if they have entered the permit space.
Inform the authorised entrants and the entry supervisor if unauthorised persons have entered the permit space.
Performs no duties that might interfere with the attendant’s primary duty to monitor and protect the authorised entrants.
Authorised Entrant – A person who is approved or assigned by the department head in charge of the entry to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location at the job site.
Bonding – joining of two or more items with an electrical conductor so that all ends joined have the same electrical charge or potential.
Entry – The action by which a person passes through an opening into a permit-required confined space. Entry includes ensuing work activities in that space and is considered to have occurred as soon as any part of the entrant’s body breaks the plane of an opening into the space.
Entry Permit – The written or printed document that is provided by the employer to allow and control entry into a permit space and that contains the information specified in this program.
Entry Supervisor – Department Head or the designated representative (such as the foreman or crew chief) responsible for determining if acceptable entry conditions are present at a permit space where entry is planned, for authorizing entry and overseeing entry operations, and for terminating entry as required by this program. An entry supervisor also may serve as an attendant or as an authorised entrant, as long as that person is trained and equipped as required by this program for each role he or she fills. Also, the duties of entry supervisor may be passed from one individual to another during the course of entry operation.
Hazardous Atmosphere – An atmosphere that may expose employees to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self-rescue (that is, escape unaided from a permit space), injury, or acute illness from one or more of the following causes: Flammable gas, vapor, or mist in excess of 10% of its lower flammable limit (LFL). Airborne combustible dust at a concentration that meets or exceeds its LFL. This concentration may be approximated as a condition in which the dust obscures vision at a distance of 5 feet or less. Atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5% or above 23.5%. Atmospheric concentration of any substance for which a dose or a permissible exposure limit. An atmospheric concentration of any substance that is not capable of causing death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self rescue, injury, or acute illness due to its health effects is not covered by this provision.
Hot Work – Any work involving burning, welding or similar fire producing operations. Also, any work that produces a source of ignition, such as grinding, drilling, or heating.
Hot Work Permit – The employer’s written authorization to perform operations (for example, riveting, welding, cutting, burning, and heating) capable of providing a source of ignition.
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health – An atmosphere that poses an immediate threat of loss of life: May result in irreversible or immediate severe health effects; may result in eye damage /irritation; or other condition that could impair escape from a confined space.
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) – The minimum concentration of a combustible gas or vapor in air that will ignite if an ignition source is introduced.
Oxygen-Deficient Atmosphere – An atmosphere that contains an oxygen concentration of less than 19.5% by volume.
Oxygen-Enriched Atmosphere – An atmosphere that contains an oxygen concentration greater than 22% by volume.
PPE – Personal Protective Equipment: Any devices or clothing worn by the worker to protect against hazards in the environment. Examples are respirators, gloves, and chemical splash goggles.
PEL – Permissible Exposure Level: – Concentration of a substance to which an individual may be exposed repeatedly without adverse effect.
Purging – The removal of gases or vapors from a confined space by the process of displacement.
Standby Person – A person designated by the department head in charge of entry to remain outside the confined space and to be in constant communication with the personnel working inside the confined space.