Permit Required Confined Space-
OSHA’s rules for general industry and manufacturing have protected the workers through a confined space standard, but construction workers did not have that same protection until Subpart AA to Part 1926.Workers must be protected from confined space hazards, such as drowning, toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation.
In order to classify the confined space properly, the worker must first determine:
- Can someone fit into this space?
- Does this space have limited ways of access and egress?
- Was this space meant for continuous human occupancy?
If the answer is yes to those questions, then the space is a confined space by definition. The next determination is: Do I need a permit to enter this space? The answer is yes, if there is a recognized or suspected hazard in the space, then it is a Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS). OSHA uses the following chart to identify hazards that will determine if a space is PRCS.
The permitting system is a way for the competent person, the attendees, and the authorized entrants to be on the same page regarding the space and the hazards associated with the entry. There must be proper communication and coordination before the PRCS entry 1926.1203 (h). Both the host employer and the contract employer are responsible for the safety of the workers in the confined spaces. Therefore, they must use a permit system which includes air monitoring, duty assignments, and other accountability measures.
Sheldon Primus is a Certified Occupational Safety Specialist with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Environmental Policy. He has been in the environmental and occupational safety field since 1994. Additionally, he is a trainer for the Certificate for Occupational Safety Managers (COSM) and Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) programs of the Alliance Safety Council-Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the author of “7 Steps to Starting A Profitable Safety Consulting Business”.
Sheldon is an authorized OSHA General Industry and Construction trainer for the 10 and 30-hour Outreach program. He was an adjunct instructor at Florida State College at Jacksonville OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTIEC) for teaching all of the OSHA numbered General Industry and Construction courses.
Mr. Primus is a guest columnist for the online publications of Treatment Plant Operator (TPO) and WaterOnline. Additionally, he conducts OSHA compliance webinars for:
Online Compliance Panel
Sheldon is a construction and general industry Subject Matter Expert (SME) course developer and course reviewer for:
Mr. Primus served as part of the Water Environmental Federation (WEF) Water Sector Safety Committee and the US Department of Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) taskforce on All Hazards Communication training for the Water and Wastewater Sector. Sheldon was also the President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for the 2017-2018 term.
Sheldon has spoken on safety and health topics for a variety of organizations including, but not limited to:
- American Society of Safety Professionals Safety 2018
- American Society of Safety Professionals Leadership 2016
- VPPPA Annual Convention 2017
- Louisiana Governors Safety Conference 2015, 2016, 2017
- Florida Water Resource Conference 2015, 2016
- Florida Pest Management Association Conference 2015
- Safety Council of the Palm Beaches
- Sunshine Safety Council
Frequently Asked Questions
It is required that the employer provide training for each worker to ensure that the worker has the skills, knowledge, and awareness of the dangers of working in a confined space. This training must include:
- Understanding hazards of working in a confined space
- Methods to isolate, control, or protect workers from hazards
- The dangers of attempting a rescue if you are not authorized
This training must be on the understanding and language level of the worker and the worker must be trained before they are first assigned to PRCS entry work. Retention of training records are required for the period of time that the employee is employed by the utility.