Alternative Confined Space Entry Procedures
According to OSHA safety standards, contractors can use alternate entry procedures to allow workers entry into a space that needs a permit. In this case, they do not need to acquire written permission or a rescue team.
- Present hazards can be controlled via proper ventilation procedures
- Only atmospheric hazards are present
- The work atmosphere is tested on a regular basis and during entry
Contractors may also have to conduct a confined space entry test provided that it could be done so from the outside. In case of atmospheric hazards which can be controlled via ventilation, other requirements will be relaxed. However, the atmosphere in the confined space has to be tested regularly to mitigate risks.
In case the atmosphere is hazardous:
- Employees should be told to evacuate immediately
- The work space must be examined to determine how it became hazardous
- Proper steps should be taken to protect workers from the hazardous work environment before they are allowed to re-enter.
Once all of the requirements for a safe work zone are satsifed and workers can enter the space safely, the contractor needs to complete the required certification for re-entry into the confined space.
This includes the location of the space, the signature of the individual providing the certification and the date of the incident.
The procedures necessary to ensure safe confined space entries should include:
- Isolation of permited space which should include proper locking and tagging equipment whose usage should be restricted.
- Proper ventilation, flushing and purging processes that can control or eliminate atmospheric hazards.
- Protection of civilans and other traffic near the site
- Verification that the conditions in the space are at safe levels.
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