Confined space hazards are dangerous because often there are no apparent signs of danger, and rescuing a fellow employee who needs help is usually difficult. All existing hazards in confined spaces must be throughly evaluated before each entry into the space and monitored continuously thereafter. The work to be performed in the confined space shall be evaluated to assure that it will not pose an undue hazard during the entire duration of the work.Purpose
The purpose of this section is to define the confined space program at North Carolina State University. It contains the procedures that are needed to safely enter confined spaces and maintain regulatory compliance.
The requirements of this program apply to entries that are made by University employees into Permit Required Confined Spaces (PRCS). These requirements also apply to Departments which own confined spaces. There is also guidance on entries made by contractors or utility workers who are not University employees.
Confined Space - A space that:
In general, confined spaces are considered to be open topped enclosures with depths that restrict the natural movement of air; or enclosures with limited openings for entry and exit. Examples of confined spaces include: storage tanks, process vessels, bins, silos, boilers, ventilation or exhaust ducts, sewers, pipe chassis, underground utility vaults, tunnels, trenches, pits, and pipelines.
Permit Required Confined Space (PRCS) - A confined space that has at lest one of the following characteristics:
Alternate Procedure Confined Space - A confined space that has only a atmospheric hazard that can be controlled by continuous forced air ventilation.
Hazardous Atmosphere - An atmosphere that may expose employees to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self-rescue (escape without help from others), injury, or acute illness from one or more of the following causes:
IDLH - Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health means any condition that poses an immediate or delayed threat to life or that would cause irreversible adverse health effects or that would interfere with an individual's ability to escape unaided from a space.
Each supervisor shall perform a workplace risk assessment to identify confined spaces, the hazards in or around the spaces, and the potential for hazards to develop in or around the spaces. The assessment shall identify all PRCS's as defined in section 1.4, along with all energy sources, moving equipment, and pipe inlets which must be controlled before entering the space.
Each supervisor shall evaluate the hazards of a confined space before allowing employees to enter. Identify any of the following:
A Non-permit required confined space is a confined space that does not contain any physical or atmospheric hazards; nor is there a potential for these hazards to develop. Entry into confined spaces that do not require a permit should still be made with caution.
Persons desiring to enter a non-permit confined space shall:
WARNING: Hazardous substances that are produced by activities in the general area of a confined space can migrate to, and accumulate in the space, creating an unseen hazard to an unsuspecting entrant.
The potential for a hazardous atmosphere to develop requires the space to be classified as a PRCS.
An alternate procedure confined space is a confined space in which the only hazard is an actual or potential hazardous atmosphere, and continuous forced air ventilation alone is sufficient to maintain safe entry conditions. The control of atmospheric hazards by forced air ventilation does not eliminate the hazards. The space, therefore, can not be considered a non-permit space. The atmosphere must be continuously monitored to verify that acceptable entry conditions are present. The entry permit is used to document that acceptable entry conditions can be maintained.
Persons desiring to enter an alternate procedure confined space shall:
For entries made into manholes or vaults that will last longer than 30 minutes, the entrant should wear a body harness with a line attached.
For further guidance review the following appendixes:
A permit required confined space is a confined space in which there is a physical hazard or an atmospheric hazard that can not be controlled by continuous forced air ventilation alone. The Environmental Health & Safety Center should be contacted at 515-8658 or 515-6860 for assistance in evaluating hazards and developing an entry procedure that will protect the entrants.
Persons desiring to enter a PRCS shall:
If all physical hazards can be eliminated, the space can be entered as either a Alternate Procedure or Non-permit space, depending on the condition of the atmosphere.
For further guidance review the following appendixes:
Supervisors shall prevent unauthorized entry into PRCS's by one or more of the following:
All supervisors shall assure that all PRCS's in their area are accessible only by deliberate acts, or it is very clear that only authorized personnel are allowed to enter.
Supervisors shall implement the procedures needed for a safe entry into a PRCS. The entry procedure shall include, but is not limited to:
The entry procedure shall be reviewed with all participants during the pre-entry briefing.
Each department shall make available any equipment necessary for the safe entry into a PRCS; including, but not limited to:
All equipment shall be maintained
and supervisors shall ensure that employees use the equipment properly.
Atmospheric testing is required to confirm acceptable entry conditions. Acceptable entry conditions shall meet the following basic requirements:
Note: The multi-gas monitor used should automatically alarm if any of the above values are exceeded.
If any other toxic or hazardous substance is present, or has the potential to be present, the proper monitoring equipment shall be obtained and operated by an individual who has been trained in it's use.
The PRCS shall be monitored to ensure that acceptable entry conditions are being maintained throughout the entry operation. If conditions deteriorate during entry, all entrants shall exit immediately and the space reevaluated.
If acceptable entry conditions cannot be maintained with continuous forced ventilation, contact the Environmental Health & Safety Center at 515 - 8658 or 515 - 6860.
Appendix G, Confined Space Atmospheric Testing shall be followed and a copy shall be present at the job site during entry.
An attendant shall be provided outside the PRCS to monitor the entrants for the duration of entry operations. The attendant shall be trained in confined space entries and instructed in his duties listed in Appendix H, Duties of PRCS Entry Team Members
It is not recommended that an attendant be responsible for monitoring more than one space at a time. However, it is allowed by the regulations if there is a way for the attendant to respond to an emergency in one or more of the spaces while still monitoring the other spaces. A radio, pull rope, whistle, horn, or some other means of communication must be set up for each space to notify the attendant of a problem. If an emergency, or any other situation arises that would require the full attention of the attendant, the attendant shall instruct the entrants of all spaces to exit immediately.Designation of Roles
All employees participating in a PRCS entry shall be assigned one of the following specific roles to fulfill:
The duties required for each role are listed in Appendix H, Duties of PRCS Entry Team Members.
Under no circumstances shall unauthorized personnel enter a confined space to attempt a rescue. At the present time there are no University employees authorized to perform confined space rescues.
The Raleigh Fire Department (RFD) has the Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue teams that are needed for a confined space rescue. Wake County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is responsible for providing emergency medical treatment.
In case of an emergency, contact NCSU Campus Police by one of the following methods:
University employees shall facilitate non-entry rescue by using retrieval systems and methods whenever entry into a PRCS is required, unless the retrieval equipment would increase the overall risk of the entry or would not contribute to the rescue of the entrant.
A retrieval system should consist of a chest or full body harness with a retrieval line attached at the center of the entrant's back near shoulder level, or above the entrant's head. The other end of the retrieval line shall be attached to a mechanical device or fixed point outside the permit space in such a manner that rescue can begin as soon as the attendant becomes aware that a rescue is necessary. For vertical spaces that are more than five (5) feet deep, a mechanical device, (tripod with a hoist), shall be available to retrieve personnel. In spaces where the entrant is not able to have a revival line attached, a full body harness should still be worn.
If an entrant is exposed to a substance that is required to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), that information shall be given to the EMS personnel treating the entrant.
Each supervisor shall document the completion of preparation needed for a safe permit space entry by preparing an entry permit, (App. E). The permit shall include the following:
The entry supervisor shall sign the permit to authorize entry. The completed permit shall be reviewed with all authorized entrants and posted at the site of entry. The duration of the permit shall not exceed the time required to complete the assigned task. The entry supervisor shall terminate the entry and cancel the permit when:
Each canceled entry permit shall be kept on file for 1 year to facilitate the annual PRCS program review. Comments concerning problems with entry operations should be noted on the permit so that entry procedures can be evaluated and revised if necessary.
When employees of more than one employer are working in or near the same PRCS, entry operations shall be coordinated through the University's Project Manager so employees of one employer do not endanger the employees of another employer.
Contractors are responsible for having their own PRCS program for their employees and shall be informed of any University specific safety information, such as how to contact NCSU Campus Police. A copy of the contractor's PRCS program shall be kept on file by the University's project manager.
All contractors shall be informed of any known hazards and/or past experiences that University employees may have had with the PRCS that is to be entered. At the conclusion of a contractor's entry operations, the University's Project Manager shall debrief the contractor regarding the entry procedures that were used and if the contractor encountered any hazards that were not known or if any hazards were created during entry.
Once the entry is completed, verify that all entrants have left the space and that all equipment and supplies are accounted for. Check any gaskets or seals for damage and secure all openings. Use the PRCS Entry Permit to identify any locked-out/tagged-out or isolated equipment and return it to it's normal operating condition. Clean and inspect all entry equipment. Any items that were damaged during entry should be removed from service and repaired or replaced. Return equipment to it's proper storage place.
Make notes on the PRCS Entry Permit concerning any problems encountered during entry, or suggestions that would improve the PRCS Entry Program. Close and properly file the entry permit. Completed permits must be kept for one year and used to evaluate the PRCS Entry Program.Review of Entry Operations
Supervisors shall review entry operations when there is reason to believe that the measures taken are not sufficient to protect employees. Examples of circumstances requiring the review of entry operations include:
Environmental Health & Safety should be contacted to assist with the review.Annual Program Audit
The PRCS Program shall be reviewed annually by examining the canceled permits to ensure that employees participating in entry operations are protected from permit space hazards. Alternate entry certifications should also be reviewed.Contractor PRCS entries
If an outside contractor is hired to work in a PRCS, it is the University's responsibility as a host employer to ensure that the contractor has a written PRCS program, uses an entry permit, and uses only workers that have been trained in PRCS operations. As a means to determine this, the contractor shall complete
Appendix F, Contractor's PRCS Program Affirmation, and return it to the project manager.
The project manager shall ensure that the contractor is:
Before participating as a member of an entry team, each employee shall be given confined space training as well as instruction in the specific duties to be conducted. The duties required for each role are listed in Appendix H, Duties of PRCS Entry Team Members. The training must provide employees with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to perform their duties safely.
Refresher training shall be given:
Hands on training in the proper use and care of tools and equipment is an essential part of the PRCS training program. This includes:
Training that has been successfully completed shall be documented by listing the names of the employees, the trainer, and the dates of training. This training certification shall be kept on file and available for inspection.
Confined space awareness training should be attended by supervisors who have employees that enter spaces, supervisors that have confined spaces in their work areas, and anyone who hires contractor's that will be entering NCSU spaces. Confined space awareness training should also be included in new employee training.