Confined Space Entry

Confined Space Hazard Alert

This hazard alert can help employers and employees prevent deaths and injuries in confined spaces. Since confined spaces may be encountered in virtually any industry their recognition is the first step in preventing fatalities and injuries.

Confined Spaces Can Be Deadly

  • October 2011: Two brothers, aged 16 and 22, died in an underground drainage system at a recycling center when the younger brother was overcome by hydrogen sulfide and his brother rushed to the rescue and was overcome as well.
  • July 2011: One worker at a commercial laundry died of traumatic asphyxia when he was unloading a large horizontal washer and was pulled into the space and crushed when the washer was inadvertently activated while the worker reached in to unload the machine.
  • January 2011: One worker died and two co-workers seriously injured at a pharmaceutical plant. The first worker died when he entered a large reactor vessel in which nitrogen had displaced oxygen. Two other workers were injured when they attempted to rescue the first worker.

Entering a confined space without following all required procedures and having an effective emergency rescue plan can result in serious injuries or death. More than 60% of confined space fatalities occur among would-be rescuers.

What Is A Confined Space?

For all employers and employees a confined space exhibits these types of characteristics:

  • Is large enough and configured such that an employee can bodily enter and perform work;
  • Has limited openings for entry and exit;
  • Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy;
  • Has the potential for a hazardous atmosphere that may include the lack of or too much oxygen, and/or the presence of toxic or explosive vapors or gases such as hydrogen sulfide and methane; and/or
  • Has physical safety hazards such as machinery, sources of electrical shocks, liquids (drowning or fires), steam (burn hazard), or loose, unstable materials that can cause employees to be trapped, crushed, or buried.

Examples of confined spaces include but are not limited to: water and sewer pipes, pumping stations, manholes, boilers, vats, kilns, vaults, silos, storage bins, meter vaults, tunnels, tanks, wastewater wetwells, grit chambers, utility tunnels, crawl spaces under floors, water reservoirs, holding tanks, pits, and sumps.

Why Are Confined Spaces Deadly?

Confined spaces are deceiving and often appear to be harmless. Danger signs (such as dead animals, rusting walls, odors) are often not apparent and the space may have been entered before without incident. Never assume that conditions have not changed and that the space is safe for entry at all times.

How Can Work Be Done Safely In Confined Spaces?

When possible, avoid entering these spaces by using devices or equipment that allows work to be done from the outside. If they must be entered, Cal/OSHA has regulations for working safely in confined spaces. Please refer to the specific standard for your industry and operations. For general industries such as manufacturing facilities, T8CCR 5157, “Permit-Required Confined Spaces” requirements apply. For employers and employees in Construction, Agriculture, Marine Terminals, Grain Handling, Telecommunications, Natural Gas and Electric Utilities, and Shipyard Operations, the regulations in T8CCR 5158, “Other Confined Space Operations” and other regulations apply.
In general, confined space regulations require all employers to have:

  • A written confined space plan, including recognizing and marking all confined spaces on site;
  • Procedures to test and monitor the air inside confined spaces before and during all employee entries;
  • Procedures to prevent unauthorized entries and to have an attendant outside the space at all times;
  • Effective controls of all existing atmospheric or safety hazards inside the confined space;
  • Employee and supervisor training on safe work procedures, hazard controls, and rescue procedures; and
  • Effective rescue procedures which are immediately available on site

Employees should never enter the space until all the safety precautions are in place and they have been authorized to enter. Emergency procedures must be in place and ready before any employee enters a confined space.

Course Description

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports an average 67 deaths per year due to fatal incidents within confined spaces.

In 1993 the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration adopted the new confined space rule that places responsibility on the employer for development and enforcement of confined space policies. This regulation sets standards for preventing employee exposure to confined space hazards.


The employer shall provide training so that all employees whose work is regulated by the confined space regulations acquire the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of the duties assigned. SafetyGENI™ offers several levels of Confined Space Entry courses.

2 Hour Confined Space Awareness

There are two types of confined spaces: Those that require a permit for entry and those that can be entered without a permit. This course is designed to inform the students about the difference between a permit-required confined space and a non-permit-required confined space.

Course content includes
Identifying a confined space; when a permit is required; typical hazards; atmospheric monitoring equipment; personal protective equipment; ventilation equipment; exposure symptoms; and an exam.

8 Hour Confined Space Competent Person

This course is specifically designed to increase the student’s knowledge of hazards associated with permit-required confined space entry. This course is a site specific course and will incorporate the employer’s policy and procedures for entering a confined space. As much as possible, we will train with the employer’s confined space entry hardware, monitoring devices, and personal protective equipment in order to provide training that is useful as well as effective.

Course content includes
Definition of a confined space and permit required confined space; entry procedures; required elements of a confined space program and permit system; hazards; ventilation; lockout tagout procedures; equipment; duties of the entrant, attendant, and supervisor; evacuation and rescue procedures; closing an entry operation; and an exam.

Definition of a confined space and permit required confined space; entry procedures; required elements of a confined space program and permit system; hazards; ventilation; lockout tagout procedures; equipment; duties of the entrant, attendant, and supervisor; evacuation and rescue procedures; closing an entry operation; and an exam.

16 Hour Confined Space Rescue Refresher

This training fulfills the annual training requirement under Cal OSHA Title 8 5157; 5158; OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.146, “Permit Required Confined Spaces.”

A confined space is a space that:

  • Is large enough for an employee to enter fully and perform assigned work;
  • Is not designed for continuous occupancy by the employee; and
  • Has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit.

These spaces may include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, silos and other similar areas.

A permit-required confined space has one or more of these characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere;
  • Contains a material with the potential to engulf someone who enters the space;
  • Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross section; and/or
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards.

OSHA States:
When an employer has an in-house confined space rescue team OSHA requires that it is capable of responding in an emergency situation in a timely manner. OSHA also requires that employers provide in-house confined space rescue personnel with personal protective equipment (PPE) and any rescue equipment required as well as the training on how to use it. Further, OSHA requires employers to give their in-house confined space rescue personnel confined space hazard recognition training, as well as for first aid and CPR. Lastly, OSHA requires that an employer’s in-house confined space rescue team perform an annual practice rescue exercise.

Cal-OSHA States:
Rescue and emergency services. The employer shall ensure that at least one standby person at the site is trained and immediately available to perform rescue and emergency services.

(1) The following requirements apply to employers who have employees enter permit spaces to perform rescue services.

(A) The employer shall ensure that each member of the rescue service is provided with, and is trained to use properly, the personal protective equipment and rescue equipment necessary for making rescues from permit spaces.

(B) Each member of the rescue service shall be trained to perform the assigned rescue duties. Each member of the rescue service shall also receive the training required of authorized entrants under subsections (g) and (h).

(C) Each member of the rescue service shall practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months, by means of simulated rescue operations in which they remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces. Representative permit spaces shall, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed.

(D) Each member of the rescue service shall be trained in basic first-aid and in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). At least one member of the rescue service holding current certification in first aid and in CPR shall be available.

Our annual Confined Space Rescue Refresher course assures your employees meet both the regulatory updates and training, as well as the hands-on components for the practice of making permit space rescues.

Duration: 16 Hours

Day 1: 4-6 hours classrooms and 2-4 hours practical application

Day 2: Review and practical application / practical exam

24 Hour Confined Rescue and Emergency Services

Target Audience:

The target audience for this course is all employees who may be called upon to execute an “Entry Rescue” into a Permit Entry Confined Space. This course is intended to provide information and practical skills for the student to competently and safely perform confined space entry and rescue practices in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. It is designed for members of organizations who are expected to supervise or conduct work inside confined spaces, as well as provide rescue services event of a confined space emergency.

Learning Objectives:

This 24-hour program is designed to provide the emergency response team member, who also has rescue responsibilities, with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely perform a rescue from confined spaces using ropes and associated rescue hardware and software.

Given a 24-hour course on confined space operations, students will be able to describe the duties of an operations-level responder assigned to respond to a confined space incident as outlined in OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit‐Required Confined Spaces.

This course is designed for personnel who will respond to and perform limited entry and rescue operations or support technician level personnel during confined space entry and rescue operations. At the completion of this course, the student shall learn how to protect him/herself, their team and their victims from the hazards within a confined space. Student will learn how to recognize and size up spaces and manage incidents appropriately, using the guidelines defined by NFPA and OSHA. Areas of focus will include environmental considerations, structural concerns, personal protective gear required and safety.

Upon completion of this course, the student should have the skills to be able to, identify the characteristics of permit and non-permit confined spaces, discuss the hazards of confined spaces, list situations that have potential to cause confined space emergencies, identify the key components of a confined space entry program as they pertain to the industry, identify methods by which atmospheric hazards may be identified and monitored during a confined space entry and select the type of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safely enter a specified space. Furthermore, if given a scenario involving a confined space emergency, the student should be able to discuss the factors that determine whether entry or non‐entry rescue techniques are appropriate.

Major subject areas covered include: confined space standards, atmospheric testing, respiratory protection, rope construction and care, rescue knot tying, rope accessory equipment, litter types, lowering systems, hauling systems and patient packaging, victim transport and procedures for using ropes in a high angle environment.

Duration: 24 Hours

Schedule & Registration

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