St. Olaf College

Confined Space Entry

Policy and Procedures Manual

Table of Contents

Section 3

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Training Manual Table of Contents

Section 3


  • A. Regulations dictate the following duties for the person acting as the attendant, the trained individual who observes the workers in the permit entry confined space. They (the attendant) must keep in continuous, though not necessarily constant communication with them. In this way, they could immediately call rescue services if needed. While acting as the attendant at a permit entry confined space, these points must always be followed:

    • 1. Never enter the confined space, even if you see that the workers in the space are in trouble. If you did, there might be no one left at the scene to summon help for the others and yourself.

    • 2. Maintain continuous communication with all workers within the confined space. This may be by voice, radio, telephone, watching them, or any other equally effective means. If it is not possible to maintain communication with a worker because of the actual location in the space, arrangements must be made so that you are continuously aware of that worker's location and condition.

    • 3. Order workers in the confined space to "get out" at the first indication of the following:

      • a. A condition or set of conditions whose hazard potential exceeds the limits authorized by the entry permit

      • b. An unexpected hazard

      • c. A toxic reaction which might be recognized by observing unusual actions in the workers

      • d. A situation outside the confined space which could pose a hazard to the workers inside the space

    • 4. Know the procedure as to how to summon emergency assistance and the means to do so. Call 9-911 on any St. Olaf College telephone to summon the Northfield Rescue Squad.

    • 5. Remain at your post. Do not leave except to save your own life while work continues inside the confined space, unless you are replaced by an equally qualified person. If you must leave and no one is there to replace you, order the workers to leave the confined space.

    • 6. Warn any unauthorized persons not to enter, or tell them to leave if they have entered. Also, alert the workers in the confined space, as well as anyone else (as your school policy requires) that unauthorized workers have entered the confined space.

  • B. OSHA Regulations require specific training for you as an attendant. You would be required to know:

  • 1. The College's emergency action plan.

  • 2. The duties of the attendant position as outlined above.

  • 3. Proper use of any communication equipment used to keep in contact with the workers in the confined space or with rescue services.

  • 4. What early signs and symptoms a worker would exhibit if he were becoming intoxicated by contaminants that could be in the space.

  • 5. The training for a worker authorized to enter a permit entry confined space if the permit calls for rotation of the attendant duties among the workers entering the space.

  • 6. The training for rescue workers if you will function as a rescuer also.

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  • A. Certain permit entries may require the use of personal protective equipment by workers entering the confined space and/or by rescue teams. What equipment is needed will have been determined by a qualified person prior to the issuance of the permit. If the permit requires personal protective equipment, all employees entering the space must be equipped with it.

  • B. If your are involved in deciding what equipment, if any, is to be required, the following quidelines may be helpful:

    • 1. HEAD PROTECTION Is there any danger from falling ogjects, either from within the confined space or through the entryway? Do obstructions or equipment in the confined space present a bump hazard?

    • 2. EYE AND FACE PROTECTION Will the workers encounter any irritant dusts, vapors, mists, abrasive perticles or flying objects in the confined space? If so, are safety glasses, impact goggles, chemical goggles or face shields the best choice for the conditions within the space ane the work to be performed in it? If the hazard will only be eye irritating, glasses or goggles may be sufficient. However, if the hazard poses a danger to both the face and eyes, such as in the process of scraping scale or cutting rivets, a full coverage face shield is needed. If welding will be performed, protection must meet the requirements for that procedure.

    • 3. HAND PROTECTION Will the workers need protection from sharp edges and rough surfaces? Protection ranging from canvas to metal mesh gloves may be needed. Gloves made of rubber or similar material may be worn to protect against toxic or irritating materials. Will the workers encounter extreme hot or cold? Heat protective gloves or thermal insulating gloves may be necessary. If there is a potential for electrical current flow through the body, rubber gloves may be called for. Other considerations include whether workers will be handling slippery tools or materials.

    • 4. FOOT PROTECTION Will the workers risk injury from falling objects, chemicals, etc.? Will they need additional protection from slippery surfaces, electrical conductivity, or sparks?

    • 5. PROTECTIVE CLOTHING Will the workers need protection from temperatures, moisture, chemicals, vapors, flames, static electricity, etc.?

    • 6. RESPIRATOR PROTECTION Follow your school's policy if respiratory protection will be required.

    • 7. HEARING PROTECTION If conditions within the confined space require hearing protection, consider how it will affect communications between those workers and the attendant.

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    • 1. In deciding what type of harness/life line should be available for a specific entry, think about:

      • a. The size of the space and opening

      • b. The location of the opening to the space

      • c. Obstacles within the space

      • d. The number of workers entering the space

      • e. The type of retrieval equipment available

      • f. Whether or not a rescue of the workers would be vertical or horizontal

        NOTE: If a vertical rescue would be required from the confined space, and the depth of the space is more than 3 to 4 feet, a mechanical lifting device is needed. This device should have a lifting advantage of at least 4:1


  • 1. Barracades or covers should be placed at the entrance to the confined space if a potential exists for workers or objects falling into the confined space. If it is appropriate, workers themselves should wear fall arresting equipment when entering the confined space.


    • 1. If the atmosphere inside the confined space is classified as hazardous (flammable/explosive), then any electrical equipment used in it must meet the requirements of Article 500 of the National Electrical Code. If a potential for electrical shock exists, it may be necessary to use ground fault circuit interrupters, assured grounding systems, double insulated tools, low voltage systems, eyc. to reduce the danger.


    • 1. Special equipment may be required in order to enable workers to safely enter and exit the confined space. Often this will be a ladder. However, in certain cases, a bosum chair, winch device, or similar equipment may be needed.


    • 1. Some confined spaces such as vessels, tanks, and manholes are easily recognizable as such. Others, such as some dikes, excavations, and valve pits are not easily recognized as confined spaces. These types of areas need to have legible signs placed on or near them warning others that a permit is required before entry.

  • F. Where a sign is required, one similar to this could be used:





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    • A. If you have contractors perform work for you in a permit entry confined space, you must inform them (or their representatives) of any potential fire, explosion, health or safety hazard of that confined space which are reasonable determinable. You must also inform them of your permit entry confined space program requirements and other applicable safety rules at your facility, as well as those portions of the emergency action plan which are applicable to the contractor's workers.

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    • A. Regulations require that in-plant rescue teams consist of persons equipped with personal protective equipment, which would be necessary to enter the permit entry confined space, as well as rescue and retrieval equipment for rescue from the space. Each member of the team must know how to use the rescue and retrieval equipment and the correct performance of a rescue. Each member must know how to wear and use any personal protective equipment, including respirators, that might be used during an actual rescue.

    • B. Rescue teams must practice, at least annually, removing dummies, mannequins, or other similar "victims", including real people, through openings which duplicate in size, configuration and accessibility the spaces from which an actual rescue might be required.

    • C. At least one member of each rescue team must hold current certification in basic first-aid and CPR.

    • D. In addition, each member of the team must know the emergency action plan and be trained to understand the nature of the potential hazards in the confined space and the need to perform appropriate testing to determine if it is safe to enter. Each member must himself be trained in methods of self rescue as outlined in the section on "Self Rescue". If any modifications of normal work practices are used in a permit entry confined space, then each member of the team must be made aware of them.

    • E. The College does not maintain an in-house rescue team. Using any St. Olaf College telephone, dial 9-911 for the Northfield Rescue Squad. If the work site is not near a telephone, use a two-way portable radio to have the proper authorities call the Rescue Squad.

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