How to Create Confined Spaces Entry Procedures

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: August 10th, 2012
Topics: Confined Spaces |

One of the core elements that a confined spaces entry program must include is a safe entry procedure. Here’s what you need to do to comply.

8 Things an Entry Procedure Must Include

The entry procedure sets out the measures, procedures and practices taken to ensure the entry is carried out safely and in accordance with OSHA rules. At a minimum, the entry procedure must do 8 things:Worker in trench

  1. Require identification and evaluation of permit space hazards before entry;
  2. Specify acceptable conditions of entry, including but not limited to atmospheric conditions;
  3. Allow for authorized entrants, i.e., workers authorized to enter the space, and/or workers’ representatives to observe atmospheric monitoring and testing;
  4. Require isolation of the permit space;
  5. Specify the method that must be used to eliminate or control atmospheric hazards—purging, inerting, flushing and/or ventilation;
  6. Require that barriers to confined spaces be provided to protect entrants from hazards created by pedestrians, vehicles or other external factors;
  7. Stipulating that acceptable conditions must be verified throughout the duration of the entry; and
  8. Requiring cancellation of the entry permit and isolation of the permit space after the authorized entry ends or entry operation is completed.

Review of Entry Procedure

The entry procedure must be reviewed at least once a year or whenever there’s reason to believe that the procedure or other confined spaces safety measures aren’t providing workers the necessary protection to identify and correct problems. Triggers of review include:

  • Somebody enters a permit space without authorization;
  • You detect a new hazard in the space not covered by the existing permit or procedure;
  • You detect a hazard in the space not allowed by the permit or procedure;
  • An injury or near miss occurs during entry operations;
  • There’s a change in the configuration or use of the permit space; and
  • Workers complain that the permit space program isn’t effective.