Confined Space Program


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology



I.          Introduction

II.         Purpose

III.       Goals

IV.       Organization Responsibilities

V.        Definitions

VI.       Procedure

VII.      Training

VIII.     Pre-Entry Procedure    

IX.       Pre-Entry Evaluation

X.        Criteria for Pre-Entry

XI.       Options for Job Performance   

XII.      Ventilation

XIII.     Contract Employees

XIV.    Rescue

Confined Space Program


I.       Introduction


Numerous Institute employees are obligated, at various times, to perform limited work duties in areas of restricted size, limited entry/exit, and less than ideal conditions. Working in confined spaces is one of the greatest safety hazards on campus. The Institute has taken into consideration the possibility of hazards due to work performed in confined spaces and has identified a need for employee education and training.


II.     Purpose


The Confined Spaces Program is to provide written procedures regarding safety and compliance of Institute employees working in confined spaces.  The Standard clarifies the protective measures required in Permit Required and Non-Permit Required Spaces.


III.    Goals


Institute’s goal is to prevent occupational injury or death when working, supervising, or inspecting a hazardous area that has been identified as a confined space.  Training and education are an effort to protect all employees from undue injury and loss.


The Confined Space Standard is available to all employees who attend the mandatory training session for Confined Spaces.  It is also available for inspection, upon request, by all employees and their designated representative.


IV.    Organizational Responsibilities


The Facilities Operations Manager advises all supervisory personnel of the details of the program and the minimum requirements needed to meet the Standard as outlined.


The supervisors in each department shall see to it that the requirements for working in confined space on the Institute campus are met and the job is completed according to Standard Procedure.


V.     Definitions

1.   Confined spaces at Institute have been identified as those areas on campus with   the following limitations:


a)   Large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work.



b)      Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit.  Examples of such area include the following:

                                 Tanks                     Hoppers                 Silos

Vessels                   Storage Bins           Pits

Steam Tunnels        Vaults


c)   Are not designed for continuous employee occupancy.


2.   Non-Permit Confined Space - a confined space that does not contain, or with respect to atmospheric hazards, have the potential to contain any hazards capable of causing death or serious physical harm. 


3.   Permit-required Confined Space - (permit space) means a confined space which has the limitations of a confined space and one or more of the following characteristics:


a)   Contains or has a known potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere.


b)   Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant.


c)   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.


d)   Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.


4.   Hazardous Atmosphere - an atmosphere that may expose employees to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self-rescue ( escape unaided from a permit space), injury, or acute illness from one or more of the following causes:


a)   Atmospheric oxygen concentrations below 19.5 per cent or above 23.5 percent by volume.         

            Normal: 20.9%                            Alarm at: 19.5%     and 23.0%.


b)   Flammable gas, vapor, or mist in excess of 10 percent of its lower flammable limit.

            Normal: 0      Alarm set at: 10%


c)   Airborne combustible dust at a concentration that meets or exceeds its lower flammable limits.  This concentration may be approximated as a condition in which the dust obscures vision at a distance of 5 feet or less.


d)   Atmospheric concentration of any substance for which a dose or a permissible exposure limit which could result in employee exposure.  Carbon Monoxide in ppm: 


                        Normal: 0ppm                 Alarm at: 35ppm


e)   Any other atmospheric condition that is immediately dangerous to life or health.


VI.    Procedure


Institute will identify and evaluate all spaces which are or could potentially be confined work spaces to determine if they are permit-required. Currently, confined spaces on the Institute campus, according to prior experience and knowledge of industrial use and testing, have been considered non-permit required spaces.


This standard confirms that confined spaces at Institute will be considered non-permit required spaces.  Pre -Entry Procedures will be followed, providing supportive data that will demonstrate the confined spaces at Institute continue to be non-permit required.


VII.  Training


Employees whose jobs require them to enter and work in confined space are obligated to attend training sessions regarding confined spaces.


Employees will acquire the understanding, knowledge and skills necessary for the safe performance of their assigned duties. Employee proficiency in specific duties must be established with additional training provided as necessary for new or revised procedures. 


The department supervisors, in conjunction with the OSEH, are responsible for the training of employees in the management of the hazards of confined spaces. Training will provide information, give demonstrations, and allow hands on training. It will include the following:


1)   Procedures in the use and maintenance of the monitoring equipment.


2)   Use and application of respiratory equipment.


3)   Use and application of ventilation systems, fans or blowers.


4)   Use and application of fall protection


5)   Procedure for the pre-entry evaluation/checklist.


6)   Lockout/Tagout Procedures


VIII. Pre - Entry Procedures


To confirm a safe work environment in a non-permit required confined space, Pre-Entry Procedures are to be used prior to entry.  They show the following:


1)   The only hazard posed by the space is an actual or potential hazardous atmosphere.


2)   That continuous forced air ventilation alone is sufficient to maintain the space safe for the duration of the job.


3)   Document supportive data for a non-permit required confined space.


4)   Provides current information to employees.


IX.    Pre-entry Evaluation


The department, whose services are requested, will designate a competent person for pre-checking or entering confined space.  The designated employee shall have successfully completed, at a minimum, the training required for monitor use and understand the values of the data needed to complete a pre-entry checklist and verify a confined space.  If requested, the Office of Safety and Environmental Health will assist with the pre-entry evaluations.


Equipment necessary for evaluating a confined space is to include but not limited to the following           

1)   Air Monitoring Devices                      3) Respiratory Protection                2) Ventilation                4) Fall Protection


Data from on-site inspections and continuous air tests will provide monitor readings for the following items prior to and during entry to demonstrate there are no actual or potential atmospheric hazards posed by the confined space. This information is available at the job site until the task is completed.


1)   oxygen content             2)  combustible gas       3)  carbon monoxide


The hazards within the space will be eliminated without entry into the space and prior to physical entry by the employee. If working in two adjoining /connected spaces, the most hazardous condition shall govern.


A Pre-Entry Check List, which verifies a confined space as non-permit required, is to be completed and compared with acceptable guidelines prior to approval of entry.


The supervisor will certify in writing, based on the results of the pre-entry testing, that all of the hazards have been eliminated and entry is safe.


X.     Criteria for Pre-entry


The pre-entry check list must include the following information/items prior to entry of a confined space.


1)   Any condition(s) making it unsafe to remove an entrance cover must be eliminated prior to the removal of the cover.  Monitor readings must be taken to provide data within acceptable limits and show safe entry.

2)   Prior to entry, an employee must test the space atmosphere with a calibrated direct-reading instrument. Data must correlate with safe levels in the atmosphere.


3)   Openings must be promptly guarded to prevent an accidental fall through the opening and to protect entrants from foreign objects.


4)   Continuous forced air ventilation must be used according to procedure.  Data from monitor readings must show the atmosphere to be in acceptable limits.


5)   Continuous monitor readings or periodically testing the atmosphere within the confined space are mandatory to ensure that the ventilation is preventing the accumulation of a hazardous atmosphere.  The safeguard is an audible warning device in case of a change in conditions.  Entrants are to exit immediately.


6)   An audible warning system is the safeguard of choice to warn attendants and entrants of a change of condition.  At the sound of the warning, all entrants are to exit the confined space immediately.


7)   The employer must verify that the space is safe for entry through written certification which contains the date, location of the space, and signature of the certifying individual.


8)   In the event of an emergency, Institute will use outside emergency response team. 



Attach: Pre-Entry Checklist

Monitor Instructions




Location and Description of Confined Space__________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________


Purpose of Entry___________________________________________________________________



Date ______________________________                         Time _______________________________


Tester___________________________                              Crew  Leader_________________________











Lock Out/Tag Out






Atmospheric Monitor


Purge - Flush and Vent






Ventilation- prior/during


Lighting Requirements






Fall Protection


Secure Work Area/Backup             Power Source






Isolate Work Area/Barriers



Respiratory Protection






Cords/Tool Inspected


Other PPE









Oxygen = 20.9%                    Combustible Gas = 0%            Carbon Monoxide = 0ppm

Alarm @19.5% /23.0%            Alarm @ 10%                             Alarm @ 35ppm






Pre-Entry Reading








3rd Reading









































Supervisor authorizing all above conditions satisfied:      _______________________________   Date:________________________

XI.    Options for Job Performance


Each supervisor will have one of two options available for managing the entry and job performance. One or both methods may be used.


1)   Single Worker - If the designated employee is to work alone, he will complete the pre-entry check list before entering the confined space and follow standard procedure prior to entry. He will wear a monitor or have one in the immediate work area during the task until exit of the space. Continuous monitor readings will show that mechanical (forced air) ventilation is sufficient to eliminate any hazards and maintain the confined space safe for entry and completion of the assigned task. This will document the changes and management of the confined space.


If a hazard should arise and the personal warning devices go off within the confined space, the employee will exit the space immediately.  The employer will then reevaluate the space and determine whether it must be reclassified. All test data will be documented and reviewed for acceptable limits prior to further entry.


2)   Buddy System - (2) two employees perform the job in a confined space.


An attendant will supervise the entrance of the confined space.  He will monitor all conditions in and around the confined space, maintain contact with entrant(s) and initiate emergency services if necessary. He will not leave his position until relieved by another authorized attendant or the job is completed and all the entrants have exited the confined space.


The entrant(s) will go into the confined space and perform the job task. They will maintain contact with the attendant and act immediately upon the requests of the attendant.  All monitoring and documentation of conditions of the confined space will be done by the attendant for the entrants. 


All information and data collected regarding the atmosphere will be documented as a permanent record and kept at the job site for the duration of the job.  The information is available for review by employees who enter confined spaces.


Upon completion of the job, the data will be kept on file in the individual department for


XII.  Ventilation


Ventilation of a permit space using a blower or fan can be an effective means of removing or controlling atmospheric hazards in a confined space.  With the use of the pre-entry procedure the following items must be met prior to entry:


1)   An employee may not enter the space until the forced air ventilation has eliminated any hazardous atmosphere.  Pre-entry readings will be mandatory.


2)   The ventilation system must be positioned to ventilate the immediate working area when any employee is/ will be present within the space.


3)   The air supply for ventilation must be from a clean source and must not increase the hazards in the space. Its back up power source must also be identified.


4)   Ventilation should normally consist of a 30 minute pre-entry purge with several air changes, followed by continuous introduction of fresh air during occupancy.


5)   Documentation of results must show acceptable limits prior to entry.  All records will be kept at the job site until completion of the job task.


XIII. Contract Employees


If confined spaces are to be entered by contract employees, the host employer must provide the contractor with specific information.  Entry operations must be coordinated by the host employer when personnel will be working in or near permit spaces and include the following:


1)   Identify all confined spaces - permit/non-permit.


2)   Identify and evaluate specific hazards for each confined space.


3)   Post warnings and barriers to prohibit entry into unauthorized spaces.


XIV.  Rescue


Rescue attempts will NOT be made by Institute personnel.


Rescue services will be managed by the Terre Haute Fire Department.


Institute will ensure that the designated rescuers are aware of the hazards they may confront during the rescue operation. Institute will also provide them with information and access to confined spaces they may have to enter so that they can practice and develop appropriate rescue procedures.