Confined Space Buyer’s Guide
At Pelsue, we’ve been creating safe work environments since 1963. Many of our products help make confined spaces safer for workers. In 2017, 166 workers died in confined spaces in the United States, a rise of 15% from the year prior. It is our goal to reduce this number dramatically by manufacturing confined space equipment for: fall protection and rescue, ventilation, and manhole equipment. We also manufacture products which help workers stay focused on the task at hand by protecting them from the elements, such as our industry-leading work tents, and confined space heaters.
In this Confined Space Buyer’s Guide, we’ll cover the solutions Pelsue manufactures for confined spaces. Below you’ll find links to the different sections of the Confined Space Buyer’s Guide:
- Part I: Fall Protection & Rescue Systems
- Part II: Hoists & SRLs
- Part III: Ventilation & Heaters
- Part IV: Gas Monitors
- Part V: Manhole Protection – Tents, Guards, and Shields
If you’re looking to learn more about confined spaces in general, please continue reading below.
What is a confined space (OSHA Definition)?
A confined space is a space that:
(1) Is large enough and so arranged that an employee can bodily enter it;
(2) Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit; and
(3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
A space has a limited or restricted means of exit if a person could not readily escape from the space in an emergency. Any of the following factors indicate that a work space has a limited or restricted means of exit:
- The need to use a ladder or movable stairs, or stairs that are narrow or twisted;
- A door that is difficult to open or a doorway that is too small to exit while walking upright;
- Obstructions such as pipes, conduits, ducts, or materials that a worker would need to crawl over or under or squeeze around;
- Or the need to travel a long distance to a point of safety
A space is not designed for continuous employee occupancy if it is not designed with features such as ventilation, lighting, and sufficient room to work and move about that are needed if people are to occupy it continuously.
Examples of confined spaces:
- Manholes (such as sewer, storm drain, electrical, communication, or other utility)
- Storm drains
- Water mains
- Lift stations
- Tanks (such as fuel, chemical, water or other liquid, solid or gas)
- Pits (such as elevator, escalator pump, valve or other equipment)
- Concrete pier columns
- Transformer vaults
- Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts
- Precast concrete and other pre-formed manhole units
- Drilled shafts
- Enclosed beams
- Air receivers
- Sludge gates
- Air preheaters
- Bag houses
- Crawl spaces
- Basements (before steps are installed).
What is a Permit Required Confined Space?
For confined space safety, it is vital to differentiate between a permit required confined space and a non-permit required confined space. The NFPA 350 standard for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work recommends that all confined spaces need pre-entry evaluation prior to entry. Pelsue cannot make recommendations or determinations if your space is permit-required or not. For your assistance, we’ve put the OSHA 1926 definition below:
Per OSHA Standard 1926.1202, a permit-required confined space (permit space) is a confined space that:
(1) Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere;
(2) Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant;
(3) Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross section; or
(4) Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources on confined spaces which can help you keep workers safe:
- OSHA Standards 1910 (General Industry)
- OSHA Standards 1926 (Construction, Alteration, and/or Repair)
- OSHA Permit-Required Confined Spaces
- OSHA Interpretation of Coverage for the Telecommunications Industry with Regard to the New Permit-Required Confined Spaces Standard
- ANSI/ASSP Confined Spaces Standard (Z117.1)
- Fact Sheet: Confined Spaces
- Fact Sheet: Marine Industry & Shipyard Confined Space Entry & Work
- NFPA 350: Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work
- NFPA Confined Space Pre-Incident Emergency Action Plan
- NFPA Confined Space Response Action Guide
Common Confined Space Terms (per OSHA Standard 1926.1202):
Acceptable entry conditions means the conditions that must exist in a permit space, before an employee may enter that space, to ensure that employees can safely enter into, and safely work within, the space.
Attendant means an individual stationed outside one or more permit spaces who assesses the status of authorized entrants and who must perform the duties specified in § 1926.1209.
Authorized entrant means an employee who is authorized by the entry supervisor to enter a permit space.
Barrier means a physical obstruction that blocks or limits access.
Competent person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
Early-warning system means the method used to alert authorized entrants and attendants that an engulfment hazard may be developing. Examples of early-warning systems include, but are not limited to: Alarms activated by remote sensors; and lookouts with equipment for immediately communicating with the authorized entrants and attendants.
Emergency means any occurrence (including any failure of power, hazard control or monitoring equipment) or event, internal or external, to the permit space that could endanger entrants.
Engulfment means the surrounding and effective capture of a person by a liquid or finely divided (flowable) solid substance that can be aspirated to cause death by filling or plugging the respiratory system or that can exert enough force on the body to cause death by strangulation, constriction, crushing, or suffocation.
Entry means the action by which any part of a person passes through an opening into a permit-required confined space. Entry includes ensuing work activities in that space and is considered to have occurred as soon as any part of the entrant’s body breaks the plane of an opening into the space, whether or not such action is intentional or any work activities are actually performed in the space.
Entry permit (permit) means the written or printed document that is provided by the employer who designated the space a permit space to allow and control entry into a permit space and that contains the information specified in § 1926.1206.
Entry rescue occurs when a rescue service enters a permit space to rescue one or more employees.
Entry supervisor means the qualified person (such as the employer, foreman, or crew chief) responsible for determining if acceptable entry conditions are present at a permit space where entry is planned, for authorizing entry and overseeing entry operations, and for terminating entry as required by this standard.
Monitor or monitoring means the process used to identify and evaluate the hazards after an authorized entrant enters the space. This is a process of checking for changes that is performed in a periodic or continuous manner after the completion of the initial testing or evaluation of that space.
Non-entry rescue occurs when a rescue service, usually the attendant, retrieves employees in a permit space without entering the permit space.
Rescue means retrieving, and providing medical assistance to, one or more employees who are in a permit space.
Rescue service means the personnel designated to rescue employees from permit spaces.
Retrieval system means the equipment (including a retrieval line, chest or full body harness, wristlets or anklets, if appropriate, and a lifting device or anchor) used for non-entry rescue of persons from permit spaces.
Pelsue disclaims liability for any personal injury, property, or other damages of any nature whatsoever whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on the Pelsue Confined Space Buyer’s Guide. Pelsue makes no guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein. Pelsue is not undertaking or rendering professional or other services for or on behalf of any person or entity. Pelsue is not undertaking or performing any duty owed by any person or entity to someone else. Anyone using the Pelsue Confined Space Buyer’s Guide should rely on his or her own independent judgement or, as appropriate, seek the advice of a competent professional in determining the exercise of reasonable care in any given circumstances.