Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Confined Spaces Procedures

Entry Process

The departmental Entry Supervisor (or designee) must assess the confined space conditions prior to entry, using the Assessment Form, to determine if there are permit-required conditions that cannot be eliminated or effectively controlled. Detailed explanation of properly filling out the form, and posting requirements, are covered in Confined Space Entrant/Attendant/Supervisor training.

  • Atmospheric testing must be conducted prior to entry. Results must be documented on the Assessment Form.
  • All existing and potential hazards must be identified and indicated on the Assessment Form.
  • All hazards must be effectively eliminated or controlled prior to entry and indicated on the Assessment Form.
  • Specialized equipment required must be indicated on the form.
  • What to do in the event of a confined space emergency must be discussed with the entrants and attendant prior to entry.
  • The departmental Entry Supervisor must determine and document the appropriate entry procedure on the Assessment Form by checking one of the boxes and signing the bottom of the form approving entry. Entry will either be:
    • Non-Permit Entry (i.e. no existing or potential hazards present, or hazards have been eliminated or effectively controlled without entry into the space) - If all hazards can be controlled from outside of the space and there are no atmospheric hazards, entry may be conducted using the Confined Space Entry Procedure,
    • Alternate Procedure: If the only uncontrolled hazard is either an actual or potential atmospheric hazard, entry may be conducted under the Forced Air Ventilation Entry Procedure, or
    • Permit-Required Confined Space - If all hazards have not been effectively eliminated or controlled, the supervisor must consult with EHS prior to using the Permit Entry Procedure.

For All Entry Types

During any confined space entry, all safety rules and procedures shall be followed.

  • Smoking in a confined space is prohibited.
  • Any use of chemicals in a confined space must be pre-approved by the EHS Safety Coordinator, Departmental Safety Coordinator, and the Supervisor.
  • Hot work conducted in a confined space must be in accordance with OSHA rules and regulations. For more information, click here.
  • Adequate and approved lighting (appropriate for the conditions) shall be provided.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be provided to workers as necessary for safe entry. All PPE must be selected, used, and maintained in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Program.
  • All PPE must be approved by the EHS Safety Coordinator, Departmental Safety Coordinator, or the Supervisor.
  • Electrical equipment (ex. power tools, extension cords) used in the confined space shall be appropriate for the hazard, such as explosion-proof or ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI), and meet the requirements of the National Electric Code.
  • Any condition making it unsafe to remove an entrance cover must be eliminated before the cover is removed.
  • When the cover has been removed, the opening(s) shall be promptly guarded to prevent accidental falls into the opening and to prevent objects from falling into the opening.
  • Appropriate vehicle and pedestrian barriers shall be used to protect workers.
  • Before entering the space, atmospheric testing must be performed with a calibrated, direct-reading instrument, for oxygen content, flammable gases and vapors, and potential toxic air contaminants.
  • No hazardous atmosphere is permitted within the space whenever any employee is inside the space.