As updated by OSU Environmental Health & Safety April, 2004
1. Identifying Confined Spaces
Recognition is an important aspect of making a safe entry into a confined space. Not all confined spaces will be considered permit-required confined spaces and being able to identify the difference between the two is important. To clarify what constitutes a Confined Space, the following definition will be used.
A Confined Space is any space that has the following characteristics:
|A Non-Permit Confined Space is a confined space that does not contain, nor
has the potential to contain, any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical
harm. Examples of non-permit required confined spaces might include the interiors of HVAC
units, certain air plenums and pipe chases, attics, walk-in freezers or refrigerators, and
some building crawl spaces.
A Permit-Required Confined Space is a confined space that is potentially hazardous. A permit-required confined space has one or more of the following characteristics:
Because of the lack of ventilation in most confined spaces, they will have the potential for a hazardous atmosphere. Therefore, they must be designated "permit-required," and the procedures for making entry into a permit-required space must be followed. Examples of permit-required confined spaces at OSU include sewers, electrical vaults, steam tunnels, sump pits, certain mechanical rooms, some excavations, and other types of enclosures.
Any space that is accessed by lifting a manhole cover shall be considered a permit-required confined space. Additionally, some roofs, the Lake Carl Blackwell dam access tunnel, certain grain storage facilities, and equipment access areas may be designated permit-required confined spaces even though they don't technically meet the definition (i.e., they may not really have limited or restricted means of entry or exit). These areas shall be clearly marked as permit-required spaces.
OSU has two blanket designations concerning permit-required confined spaces:
Supervisors are directly responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees in regards to confined spaces. It is their responsibility to evaluate potentially hazardous spaces within their facilities and areas to ensure that the proper precautions are taken for safety. This includes clearly marking permit-required confined spaces, training employees, and ensuring proper entry procedures are followed. These responsibilities may be delegated to another competent person provided he/she is qualified.
Physical Plant supervisors are responsible for ensuring their employees are properly trained to do the jobs they are sent to do. This includes recognition of confined spaces and proper procedures for making entry into permit-required confined spaces whenever necessary. No Physical Plant employee shall be sent on a job that potentially involves work in a confined space unless they have been properly trained in confined space entry procedures.
It may be determined that a confined space presents no real danger for employees. However, it is recommended that all spaces be considered potentially dangerous until they have been evaluated and tested. Once a space has been evaluated, the Environmental Health and Safety Department shall determine if the confined space requires a permit and will apply appropriate labeling.