It is the policy of Murray State University, in conjunction with the Office of Environmental Safety & Health, to empower Murray State University employees with training in the operation of atmospheric detection instrumentation and proven methods to protect oneself from injury or illness that could possibly occur in a confined space. The Confined Space Manual is the main resource used in training.
The following procedure is to insure the safe entry into a confined space that any Murray State University employee may encounter on the campus. Maintenance personnel and other Murray State employees who have the potential to be injured by entering a confined space during their jobs should be familiar with and follow this procedure.
A confined space is a space that has any of the following characteristics:
- limited openings for entry and exit
- unfavorable natural ventilation
- not designed for continuous worker occupancy
- limited openings for entry and exit
Confined space openings are limited primarily by size or location. Openings are usually small, perhaps as small as 18 inches in diameter, and are difficult to move through easily. Small openings may make it very difficult to get needed equipment in or out of the spaces, especially protective equipment such as respirators needed for entry into spaces with hazardous atmospheres or life-saving equipment when rescue is needed.
Unfavorable natural ventilation:
Because air may not move in and out of confined spaces freely due to the design, the atmosphere inside a confined space can be very different from the atmosphere outside. Deadly gases may be trapped inside, particularly if the space is used to store or process chemicals or organic substances that may decompose. There may or may not be enough oxygen inside the confined space to support life, or the air could be so oxygen rich that it is likely to increase the chance of fire or explosion if an ignition source is present.
Not designed for continuous worker occupancy:
Most confined spaces are not designed for workers to enter and work in them on a routine basis. They are designed to store a product, enclose materials and processes, or transport products or substances. Therefore, occasional worker entry for inspection, maintenance, repair, cleanup, or similar tasks are often difficult and dangerous due to chemical or physical hazards within the space.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR:
PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACES
THESE SPACES ARE LABELED ACCORDINGLY! HVAC UNITS AND AIR HANDLING ROOMS ARE NOT CONSIDERED PERMIT REQUIRED SPACES! CONFINED SPACES BELOW GRADE ARE IDENTIFIED BY A PAINTED 12" DIAMETER CIRCLE.
COLOR CODE BELOW GRADE AREAS ARE:
ELECTRICAL - RED
SANITARY SEWER - GREEN
STORM WATER - BLUE
STEAM - WHITE
A Permit-required Confined Space is a space that:
- contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
- contains a material that has the potential for engulfment
- has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross section.
- Before entry into the confined space, the space must be vented with positive ventilation. This ventilation must last at least 10 minutes - no less. When this ventilation is taking place, all vehicles and generators must be downwind and below grade of the opening of the space if possible. This is because carbon monoxide is the same weight as air but tends to settle in low spots.
- After properly venting the space, the personnel present needs to sample the atmospheric conditions in the space from outside the entry area using a direct read monitor. This can be done by lowering a probe into the space. Monitor at the top, middle and bottom of the space. Under no circumstance should any personnel be allowed to carry the monitor into the space for pre-monitoring. The conditions to be checked are the oxygen content (cannot be less than 19.5% for safe entry), Carbon Monoxide level (below 50 ppm), and if combustible vapors are suspected Lower explosive limit (10% LEL).
- If energized equipment is contained in the space, personnel should refer to procedure number 10 in the Physical Plant Department Policy and Procedure Manual (Energized Equipment Lock-Out/Tag-Out Procedure) before entry. This procedure should be followed before entry is allowed.
- When entry is made into the space there will be a minimum of two personnel present. One employee will enter the space while the other will remain at the entry area with radio communication. The employee standing by (the Attendant) is not to enter the space for any reason unless additional personnel are available for standby. They are to notify the proper authorities in the event of a mishap. This is to be done by notifying the Department for Facilities Management and then notifying the Murray Fire Department at 911.
NO RESCUE IS TO BE ATTEMPTED
BY THE STANDBY (ATTENDANT) PERSONNEL!
- Personnel have two options after entry into the space:
- They can continuously vent the space.
- They may monitor the space continuously.
If any type of "Hot Work" is to be performed in the space a "Hot Work Permit" is to be issued along with the entry permit.( These are two different permits and both are needed when hot work is being performed. ) These "Hot Work Permits" are to be issued only by the Department supervisor under which the employees work under.
- Before reentry is allowed into the space; ALL the preceding steps are to be completed again.
Example: If a crew leaves the space for any period over 15 minutes, then the space should be treated as an unknown hazard area and all the steps must be completed again.
- The "Confined Space Entry" checklist shall be followed before entry into a suspected hazardous area within a confined space. If an area is suspected to be of a hazardous nature, personnel shall notify their immediate supervisor and the Assistant Director of Environmental Safety and Health before proceeding.
- Failure to follow these procedures could result in disciplinary action as outlined in Section VI-D of the Murray State Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES OF PERSONNEL
- AUTHORIZED ENTRANTS -
- Know the hazards that they may encounter, including the signs and symptoms of these hazards.
- Properly used the assigned equipment.
- Communicate with the attendant as necessary to enable the attendant to monitor entrants status and enable the attendant to alert the entrant of the need to exit the space.
- Alert the attendant whenever:
- the entrant recognizes any warning signs or symptoms of exposure
- the entrant detects a prohibited condition.
- Exit from the space as quickly as possible whenever:
- an order to evacuate is given by the attendant or the entry supervisor
- the entrant recognizes any warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation
- the entrant detects a prohibited condition
- Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs, or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure.
- Is aware of possible behavioral effects of hazard exposure in authorized entrants.
- Continuously maintain an accurate account of authorized entrants in the permit space and ensures that the means used to identify authorized entrants accurately identifies the entrants.
- Remains outside the permit space during entry operations until relieved by another attendant.
- Communicates with authorized entrants as necessary to monitor entrant status and to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space.
- Monitors activities inside and outside the space to decide if it is safe for entrants
to remain in the space and orders the authorized entrants to evacuate the permit space
immediately under the following conditions:
- if the attendant detects a prohibited condition
- if the attendant detects the behavioral effects of hazard exposure in authorized entrant
- if the attendant detects a situation outside the space that could endanger the authorized entrant
- if the attendant cannot effectively and safely perform all the duties required.
- Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and the consequences of the exposure.
- Verifies, by checking, that the appropriate entries have been made on the permit, that all test specified by the permit have been conducted and that all procedures and equipment specified by the permit are in place before endorsing the permit and allowing entry to begin.
- Terminate the entry and cancels the permit.
- Verifies that rescue services are available and that the means for summoning them are operable.
- Removes unauthorized individuals who enter or attempt to enter the permit space during entry operations.
- Decides whenever responsibility for a permit space entry operation is transferred and at intervals dictated by the hazards and operations performed within the space, that the entry operations remain consistent with terms of the entry permit and that acceptable entry conditions are maintained.
Failure to follow these procedures could result in disciplinary action as outlined in Section VI-D of the Murray State University Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.