Facilities Management

Confined Space Entry Program

Section 6-1 Confined Space Entrant

  1. Reqired
    1. Read General Safety Rules
    2. View Proper Lifting Powerpoint presentation
    3. Work shoes / boots
    4. View Proper Ladder Safety powerpoint presentation
    5. Hazard Communications / Right to know Law training
  2. Recommended
    1. Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
    2. View Lockout / Tagout video
  3. Always remember
    1. Evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces.
    2. Develop and implement a permit-required confined space program that complies with this standard.  This program must be in writing and it must delineate whether each entry is going to be certified by use of the full permit system.
    3. Inform exposed employees by posting danger signs, or by any other equally effective means, of the existence, locations, and dangers of the confined spaces.
    4. Provide training so that all employees whose work is regulated by the permit-required confined space standard acquire the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of their assigned duties.
    5. Take effective measures to prevent employees from entering permit-required confined spaces when it has been decided that employees will not enter the spaces.
    6. Provide at no cost to the employee, maintain, and ensure proper use of all equipment necessary for the safe entry into and rescue from permit-required confined spaces.
    7. Ensure that employees that enter permit-required confined spaces to perform rescue services are properly equipped and properly trained, and have practiced a rescue with regular intervals and involved the MFD (Macomb Fire Department).
    8. Ensure that any outside employer that may be called upon to provide rescue services has been informed of the hazards and provided with access to all the permit required confined spaces in order to develop and practice rescue plans.
    9. Ensure all preparatory measures listed on the permit are completed. These include but are not limited to: Safe atmosphere monitoring, lockout/tagout and /or deactivation, hot work permit, explosion proof lighting and/or communications devices, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    10. Before entry into most confined spaces, a multi-gas meter is commonly used to determine levels of oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and the concentration of combustible gas. The most common atmospheric hazards associated with confined spaces are oxygen deficiency, oxygen displacement, flammable atmospheres and toxic gases.
    11. Oxygen deficiency is low levels of oxygen can be caused by the consumption of oxygen during open flame operations such as welding, cutting, or brazing. In addition, low levels of oxygen can be present in manholes that are located near garbage dumps, landfills and swampy area where fermentation has caused the consumption of oxygen.

Over 1 ½ million workers enter confined spaces on an annual basis. Serious injury or death in a confined space can be the result of asphyxiation, engulfment, electric shock, falls, and heat stress. The important thing to remember is that each time a worker plans to enter any work space, the worker should determine if that work space is considered a confined space.

Air quality testing the air within the confined space should be tested from outside of the confined space before entry into the confined space. Care should be taken to ensure that air is tested throughout the confined space-side-to-side and top to bottom. A trained worker using detection equipment which has remote probes and sampling lines should do the air quality testing. The sampling should show that: the oxygen content is within safe limits-not to oxygen deficient or oxygen enriched. A hazardous atmosphere (toxic gases, flammable atmosphere) is not present. Ventilation equipment is operating properly.

Hazards are controlled in confined space area via engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment. Engineering controls are designed to remove the hazard while administrative controls and personal protective equipment try to minimize the contact with the hazard. The engineering control commonly used in confined spaces is mechanical ventilation. The entry permit system is an example of an administrative control used in confined spaces. Personal protective equipment (respirators, gloves, ear plugs) is commonly used in confined spaces as well.

Air quality can be maintained by mechanical ventilation (blowers, fans) is usually necessary to maintain air quality. If mechanical ventilation is provided, there should be a warning system in place to immediately notify the worker in the event of a hazard or a failure in the ventilation equipment. Care should be taken to make sure the air being provided by the ventilation system to the confined space is clean.

Energy sources must be de-energized and locked out prior to entry to the confined space so that equipment cannot be turned on accidentally. Other safety precautions that may be present in a confined space include but are not limited to are:  Any liquids of free flowing solids are removed from the confined space to eliminate the risk of drowning or suffocation. All pipes should be physically disconnected or isolation blanks bolted in place. Closing valves is not sufficient. A barrier is present to prevent and liquids or free flowing solids from entering the confined space. The opening for entry into and exit from the confined space must be large enough to allow the passage of a person using protective equipment.


The Confined Space Entry Program at Western Illinois University has been developed following set guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in CFR 1910. 146. These standards provide minimum safety requirements to be followed while entering, exiting and working within confined spaces while at normal atmospheric pressure. The purpose of this program is to establish minimum safety requirements and procedures for employees who work in, and in connection with, confined spaces.


  • Attendant: A trained employee outside the permit entry confined space. The attendant acts as an observer of the authorized entrants within the permit entry confined space and remains in continuous, though not necessarily constant, communication with them. The attendant can immediately call rescue services if needed. The attendant does not enter the space unless replaced by another attendant. If necessary for attendant to enter confined space for rescue purposes, another attendant must be present.
  • Authorized Entrant: An employee who is authorized by the Department Shift Supervisor to enter a permit entry confined space.
  • Blanking or Blinding: The absolute closure of a pipe, line or duct, by fastening across it a solid plate or cap capable of withstanding the maximum upstream pressure.
  • Confined Space: An enclosed area that has the following characteristics:
    1. Adequate size and configuration for worker entry.
    2. Has limited means of access and egress.
    3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy.
  • Double Block and Bleed: Isolate a confined space from a line, duct or pipe by locking or tagging two closed in-line valves, and locking or tagging open to the outside atmosphere a drain or bleeding in the line between the two closed valves.
  • Entry Permit: Written authorization assuring safe employee entry into and work within permit entry confined spaces for a specific date, time and number of employees.
  • Entry: Ingress by persons into confined space which occurs upon breaking the plane of the confined space portal with his/her face; and all periods of time in which the confined space is occupied.
  • Hazardous Environment or Atmosphere: An atmosphere presenting a potential for death, disablement, injury, or acute illness from one or more of the following causes.
    1. Less than 19.5 percent or more than 23.5 percent oxygen;
    2. A flammable gas, or vapor, in excess of 10 percent of its lower flammable limit (LFL) or lower explosive limit (LEL);
    3. An airborne combustible dust at a concentration that obscures vision at a distance of five feet or less;
    4. An atmosphere concentration that exceeds the listed numerical value of any toxic, corrosive, or asphyxiant substance listed in the TLV booklet (ACGIH) or the PEL (OSHA) that can reasonably be expected to be present;
    5. A biological, radiological hazard or that is otherwise known to the employer to present a safety or acute health hazard;
    6. Any condition immediately dangerous to life or health.
  • Hazard Evaluation: A process to assess the severity of known, or real, or potential hazards or all three, at or in the confined space.
  • Hazardous Chemical: As defined by OSHA is a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.
  • Hot Work Permit: Permit B which is a written authorization to perform operations such as riveting, welding, cutting, burning, or heating that could provide a source of ignition causing the possibility of fire or explosion due to the presence of flammables.
  • Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH): Any condition that poses an immediate threat to life, or which is likely to result in acute or immediate health effects.
  • Inerting: Rendering the atmosphere of a confined space nonflammable, nonexplosive or otherwise chemically nonreactive by displacing or diluting the original atmosphere with steam or a nonreactive gas such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrogen (N2) or argon. Oxygen level for an inerted space will be kept below 8% oxygen.
  • Isolation: Positively preventing any unwanted form of energy, or other agent with a serious potential for hazard, from entering the confined space by using such means as blanking, double block and bleed, or lockout/tagout.
  • LEL/LFL and UEL/UFL: Acronyms for "lower explosive limit"/"lower flammable limit" and "upper explosive limit"/"upper flammable limit."
  • Line Braking: The intentional opening in a permit entry confined space of a pipe, line or duct that is or has been carrying flammable, corrosive or toxic material, inert gas, or carrying any fluid at a pressure or temperature capable of causing injury.
  • Lockout/Tagout: Secure all energy at its lowest potential level, so there is no possibility of rotating parts, electrocution or flowing fluids with a one key padlock and location tag.
  • Nonpermitted Condition: Any condition or set of conditions whose hazard potential exceeds the limits authorized by the entry permit.
  • Oxygen Deficient Atmosphere: An atmosphere containing more than 19.5 percent oxygen by volume.
  • Oxygen Enriched Atmosphere: An atmosphere containing more than 23.5 percent oxygen by volume.
  • PEL: An acronym for "Permissible Exposure Limit" which is the allowable air contaminant level established by U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • Qualified Person: A person designated by the employer, in writing, as capable (by education and/or specialized training) of anticipating, recognizing, and evaluating employee exposure to hazardous substances or other unsafe conditions in a confined space. This person shall be capable of specifying necessary control and/or protective action to ensure worker safety.
  • Rescue Team: MACOMB FIRE DEPARTMENT (309) 833-1776.
  • Shall: Denotes a mandatory requirement.
  • Should: A recommendation that is sound safety and health practice; it does not denote a mandatory requirement.
  • TLV: An acronym for "Threshold Limit Value".
  • Toxic Atmosphere: An atmosphere containing a concentration of a substance above the published or otherwise known safe levels.


Identification & Evaluation:
Confined Space Survey: A survey shall be conducted of the premises or operations or both to identify confined spaces as defined in this standard. The survey shall be conducted by a qualified person.

Prior to Entry into the Confined Space:
The employee shall determine that entry is necessary in order to perform the job task. The employee shall obtain the proper entry permit from the shift supervisor. Permits shall be of two types: General Entry Permit (Appendix A) or Hot Work Entry Permit (Appendix B). Confined space entry permits shall be good for one shift only.
The employee shall be trained in the hazards associated with confined spaces, the proper use and selection of personal protective equipment, and the proper use of air monitoring devices. The confined space shall be provided with forced air ventilation. (See Appendix D for purging time chart.)
All potential hazardous energy sources shall be eliminated and the confined space shall be isolated by lockout/tagout, blinding/blanking, double block and bleed or other recognized engineering practice.
The atmosphere of the confined space shall be tested to be certain that: the oxygen level is at least 19.5%, but not greater than 23.5%, there is a hydrogen sulfide level of less than 10 parts per million, there is a combustible gas/vapor mixture of less than 10% of the LEL/LFL and that the concentration of any hazardous chemical expected to be present is less than the limits listed in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Z.

Record keeping required for entry:

  • Instrument reading
  • Rescue training documented when, who, how, etc.
  • Calibration of test equipment dates, initials, etc.
  • Records concerning inspections on ropes, harnesses, SCBA's, tools, equipment, respirators, etc.
  • Training of personnel
  • A Confined Space Entry Permit Log (Appendix C) shall be maintained at the Heating Plant and the Physical Plant. All entries shall be numbered sequentially and kept indefinitely.

During the Entire Time the Employee is in the Confined Space:
The confined space shall be continuously provided with forced air ventilation. The attendant shall continuously monitor the atmosphere within the confined space to be certain that it remains within safe levels. If the air levels fall outside of the limits stated above, the employee shall immediately vacate the confined space.
The rescue team for Western Illinois University is the MACOMB FIRE DEPARTMENT (309) 833-1776. The attendant on a confined space entry will be issued a two-way radio so they'll be in radio contact with the Facilities Management Physical Plant or after 4:30 the OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY (298-1949) to call in the rescue team in the event of an emergency.

Training Requirements:
In general all persons responsible for supervising, planning, entering or participating in confined space entry and rescue shall be adequately trained in their functional duties prior to any confined space entry. All training shall be performed by a qualified person and shall include the following:

  1. an explanation of the general hazards associated with the facility, spaces;
  2. a discussion of specific hazards associated with the facility, location or operation;
  3. the reason for, proper use, and limitations of personal protective equipment and other safety equipment required for entry into confined spaces;
  4. how to respond to emergencies;
  5. duties and responsibilities of individual employees entering into confined spaces;
  6. and a description of how to recognize probable air contaminant overexposure symptoms to themselves and co-workers, and method(s) for alerting attendants.

Each employee using atmospheric monitoring equipment shall be trained in the proper use of the equipment including the following:

  1. field calibration of the equipment;
  2. basic knowledge of the work being performed;
  3. the anticipated hazardous contaminants;
  4. and any process which could significantly alter original conditions inside or outside the confined space.

Testing Equipment:
All equipment used for testing the atmosphere within a confined space shall be composed of individual testing devices or a testing device which can simultaneously test for oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and combustible gas/vapors without manual switching. Testing devices shall be equipped with audible and visual warning devices, and signals from the monitoring device shall immediately indicate when the atmospheric conditions within the space fall outside of the air quality limits established for oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and combustible gas/vapor. If other hazardous chemicals are believed to exist in the space, the appropriate test device shall also be used to determine if the airborne concentrations are within the limits.
Use of the testing device(s) shall be conducted in accordance with the test equipment manufacturer's instructions and standard industry practice. Calibration of the testing device(s) shall be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The testing device(s) shall be field tested each day prior to use.

Other Personal Protective Equipment:
Appropriate personal protective equipment shall be selected and used by all employees entering confined spaces, including but not limited to eye protection, head protection, hand protection, face protection and respiratory protection.


  1. Types of Hazards
    1. Oxygen deficiency.
    2. Combustible/flammable/explosive atmospheres.
    3. Toxic gases or vapors.
    4. Engulfment or entrapment.
    5. Physical hazards:
      1. Grinding
      2. Agitators
      3. Steam
      4. Mulching
      5. Vibration
      6. Noise
      7. Heat stress
      8. Falling/tripping
      9. Other moving parts
    6. Corrosive chemicals
    7. Biologicals
    8. Unknowns
      1. Electrical
      2. Rodents/snakes/spiders
      3. Lighting (poor visibility)
      4. Footing
  2. How Hazards Occur
    1. Previously stored products/chemicals :
    2. Unexplained leaks/spills (ex. CO2, acetylene, ammonia, H2
    3. Chemical reactions 0)
      1. Manufacturing process
      2. Products stored
      3. Drying of paints
      4. Oxidation/reduction
      5. Cleaning with acids/solvents/etc.
      6. Rusting/decomposing/fermentation
    4. Operations accomplished with space
      1. Welding
      2. Painting
      3. Mucking
      4. Scraping/abrasive blasting
    5. Inerting with nonflammable products (ex. CO2, N2, H2O)


  1. Identify all Confined Space (CS) or potential CS with a sign, placard, or other equally effective means.
  2. No entry without a permit from the Manager's Office, the Manager Safety and Rules or designated "Qualified Person".
    1. Permit is issued for a specific period for a specific purpose and must be signed by the designated "Qualified Person" trained to issue permits.
  3. Every entry will be continually monitored for oxygen, LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) and toxics.
  4. Ventilate at all times with approved air movers, if possible. (See Appendix D for purging time chart.)
  5. Training required for all entrants including a pre-entry briefing.
  6. Personal protective equipment required by permit must be the proper type and must be inspected prior to use by permit issuer.
  7. Tests to be done prior to entry and recorded - Oxygen first: from 19.5% to 21.5%; then Lower Explosive Limits (LEL) or Lower Flammable Limits (LEL) second; last but not least, toxics: Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), solvents, etc.
  8. Rescue Program and equipment checked out prior to entry.
  9. All potential energy zeroed out or eliminated, locked and taggered (electrical, mechanical, hydraulic).
  10. Record keeping required for entry:
    1. Instrument readings
    2. Rescue training documented when, who, how, etc.
    3. Calibration of test equipment - dates, initials, etc.
    4. Records concerning inspection on ropes, harnesses, chains, SCBA's, tools, equipments, respirators, etc.
    5. Training of personnel.
  11. All entrants will immediately evacuate the confined space when any entrant is alerted to "nonpermitted conditions".
  12. A Confined Space Entry Permit (Appendix C) Log shall be maintained at the Heating Plant and the Physical Plant. All entries shall be numbered sequentially and kept indefinitely.


  1. OSHA, Respiratory Protection, 29CFR, 1910.146.