Confined Space Program Prepared By: Richard Smith OFPM Environmental Health & Safety
Introduction l Certain Spaces Are Confined Spaces l Confined Spaces May Pose A Health Threat l Employees Enter A Variety Of Spaces
Policy The Office of Facilities Management and Planning (OFPM) and research and extension centers are committed to assuring employees and other personnel conduct activities within safe work environments at all facilities.
Confined Space Definition “Confined space” means a space that: (1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks,vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.); and (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
California Code Of Regulations (CCR) CCR Section 5156 states that “the confined space definition along with other definitions and requirements of Section 5157 shall apply to agricultural operations (including cotton gins) defined by Section 3437.”
Confined Space Dangers l Atmospheric Hazards Oxygen deficiency occurs from chemical or biological reactions which displace or consume oxygen from a confined space. Consumption of oxygen takes place during combustion of flammable substances, as in welding, cutting, or brazing, during bacterial action, as in the fermentation process, and slow chemical reactions, as in the formation of rust on the exposed surface of a metal tank. Toxic gases may also occur in confined spaces due to manufacturing processes or biologic/chemical processes occurring in the material present in the confined space, such as decomposing organic material in a tank or sump may liberate hydrogen sulfide. Painting or welding in a confined space can also liberate toxic gases
Confined Space Dangers (cont.) l Physical Hazards Physical hazards include those associated with mechanical and electrical energy, temperature, engulfment, falling objects, and wet surfaces or standing/moving water.
Examples of Confined Space Incidents l Two workers entered a sewer line to refuel a gasoline powered pump. One worker died from carbon monoxide poisoning; the co-worker escaped. But a state inspector died in a rescue attempt (1984) l A worker using a respirator died from burn injuries caused by a spark-induced explosion that occurred when painting the inside of an 1,300 gallon tank. (1989) l A worker inspecting an underground meter died from inhaling natural gas that had leaked into a vault. (1985) l A supervisor died when he entered an oxygen-deficient manhole to close a valve. In a rescue attempt two other laborers also collapsed and died. (1988)
Examples of Confined Space Incidents (cont.) l A police officer and two sewer workers died in an attempt to rescue a third sewer worker who had become overcome by sewer gas at the bottom of an underground pumping station. (1985) l An employee entered a yeast brew vat and was asphyxiated. Two other employees were rescued from the oxygen-deficient atmosphere after attempting to pull out the deceased employee and losing consciousness.(1996) l Employees allowed to enter rail tank cars to paint them without wearing equipment necessary to get workers out in an emergency. The paint was flammable and the accident danger high. Employer assessed $1.6 mil fine. (1998)
Permit-Required Confined Space Definition l “Permit-required confined space” means a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: (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.
Non-permit Confined Space Definition “Non-permit confined space” means a confined space that does not contain or, with respect to atmospheric hazards, have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious harm.
Confined Space Definitions Review The term “confined space” encompasses two types of spaces: (1) Non-permit confined spaces where hazards or potential hazards which could cause death or serious harm are not present; and (2) Permit-required confined spaces which due to atmospheric conditions, possible engulfment, internal configuration, or physical hazards pose serious threats to health or safety.
Confined Space Inventory l CCR Title 8, Article 108 requires employers to evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit- required confined spaces. l In order to achieve compliance with Article 108, an inventory of spaces was performed at each research and extension center. l Each space was evaluated to determine whether it met the criteria of a confined space. l Identified confined spaces were subsequently evaluated to determine whether they fit the criteria for a permit-required confined space.
Confined Space Inventory (cont.) l Permit-required and non-permit confined spaces were designated and described for each research and extension center. l The inventory process was accomplished through a cooperative effort between research and extension center staff and OFPM personnel. l Individual permit-required and non-permit descriptions were compiled into confined space notebooks for each research and extension center.
Reclassification of Permit-Required Confined Spaces A permit-required confined space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space under the following procedures: l If the permit-required space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazards and if all hazards within the space are eliminated without entry into the space the space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space for as long as the non-atmospheric hazards remain eliminated. l The employer shall document the basis for determining that all hazards in a permit-required confined space have been eliminated through a certification that contains the
Reclassification of Permit-Required Confined Spaces (cont.) Date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person making the determination. The certification shall be made available to each employee entering the space. l OFPM and REC policy requires elimination of hazard certifications to be reviewed and approved by OFPM prior to reclassifying permit-required confined spaces. l If hazards arise within a permit-required confined space that has been reclassified as a non-permit confined space, each employee in the space shall exit the space.
Confined Space Policies And Procedures l OFPM and research and extension center policy prohibits employees from entering permit-required confined spaces. l Entry into permit-required confined spaces is restricted to personnel working for qualified contractors who are following an approved written permit space program. l Permit-required confined spaces are to be secured at all times to prevent unauthorized entry. l Permit-required confined spaces are to be posted at all times with danger signs that read “DANGER - PERMIT- REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER”
Confined Space Policies And Procedures (cont.) l OFPM and research and extension center policy requires air quality monitoring to be performed in non-permit confined spaces where air circulation may be poor. l Non-permit confined spaces requiring air monitoring are identified in the research and extension center confined space notebooks. l Employee entry is not restricted for non-permit confined spaces where air circulation is not poor. However, employees are encouraged to exercise common sense when entering these spaces.
Air Quality Monitoring l Air monitoring will be performed with a Gas Baron oxygen deficiency meter. l The oxygen meter will be introduced into the non-permit confined space without the employee entering the space. l A minimum of three instrument readings will be obtained from the lower, middle, and upper thirds of the space. l Air monitoring data will be recorded on the Air Quality Monitoring Form. l If the air quality of a non-permit confined space is measured to be unsuitable for breathing (less than 19.5% oxygen) then the space will be redesignated a permit- required confined space.