The University of Texas at Tyler
Tyler   •   Longview   •   Palestine
A centerpiece for learning,
culture and natural beauty

Confined Space Entry Program

Environmental Health and Safety

6. SPECIFIC PROCEDURES

6.1 MINIMUM NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

A minimum of three employees will be immediately available during all confined space entries. A minimum of two trained employees will be within line sight and verbal communication distance of one another outside of the confined space. A typical confined space team consists of an entry supervisor, an attendant and entry personnel. 

6.2 VENTILATION

Adequate ventilation will be provided to protect employees from dangerous working conditions resulting from accumulations of hazardous concentrations of flammable vapors, toxic gases, or an oxygen deficient or enriched environment in all buildings, pits, rooms, vaults or other enclosed areas.

If any detection of atmospheric hazard exists, the confined space will not be entered. 

6.3 PRE-ENTRY PROCEDURES

  • Lines which may convey flammable, injurious or incapacitating substances into the space shall be disconnected, blinded or blocked off by other positive means to prevent the development of dangerous air contamination and/or oxygen deficiency within the space (Consult Lockout-Tagout Policy & Procedures for specific information). The method used shall prevent inadvertent reconnection or disabling of the line.

          Exception: This does not apply to public utility gas distribution systems.           

Note: This section does not require blocking of all laterals to sewers or storm drains. Where experience or knowledge of industrial use indicates materials resulting in dangerous air contamination may be dumped into an occupied sewer, all such laterals shall be blocked.

  • Confined space shall be emptied, flushed or otherwise purged of flammable, injurious or incapacitating substances to the extent feasible.
  • If air contamination exists, spaces shall be ventilated for at least 15 minutes prior to entry using the most effective method (e.g. blowing air into or drawing air from the space).
  • Where interconnected spaces are blinded off as a unit, each space shall be tested and the results recorded, and the most hazardous condition so found shall govern procedures to be followed.
  • A confined space entry permit (Appendix A) will be completed, signed and dated by a member of the EH&S Department or by a qualified individual designated by the EH&S director. The original confined space entry permit will be kept in the EH&S department. A copy of any confined space entry permit will be forwarded to the department where any confined space entry occurs.
  • An attendant shall be continually present while workers are inside an enclosed or confined space. The attendant may operate the air-monitoring equipment.
  • To the extent feasible, all exits and entries shall be readily accessible.
  • All tanks, vessels or other confined spaces will be entered from the side whenever possible.

6.4 PRE-ENTRY TESTING REQUIREMENTS

  • The air shall be tested with an appropriate device or method to determine whether dangerous air contamination and/or oxygen deficiency exists and a written record of such testing results shall be made and kept at the work site for the duration of the work.
  • Affected employees and/or their representative shall be afforded an opportunity to review and record the testing results.
  • Testing should be performed without disturbing the space, if possible.
  • After long breaks (> half hour) such as lunch, complete testing for permit-required confined spaces shall be performed again to determine if any atmospheric changes have taken place inside the confined space.
  • Employees shall refrain from leaning over the area to be tested; instead, the air-testing device should be placed over or into the opening of the area.
  • Testing of the oxygen content and for flammability (DEL, LEL) shall be documented with sufficient frequency to ensure conformance with this section. 

6.5 SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

  • Work involving the use of flame, arc, spark or other source of ignition is prohibited within a confined space (or any adjacent space having common walls, floor or ceiling with the confined space), which contains, or is likely to develop, dangerous air contamination due to flammable and/or explosive substances.
  • Whenever gases such as nitrogen are used to provide an inert atmosphere for preventing the ignition of flammable gases or vapors, no flame, arc, spark or other source of ignition shall be permitted unless the oxygen concentration is maintained at less than 20% of the concentration, which will support combustion.
  • If the existence of dangerous air contamination and/or an oxygen deficiency is determined by the tests performed, existing ventilation shall be supplemented by the appropriate means.
  • Whenever oxygen-consuming equipment is used, arrangements will be made to ensure         sufficient venting for all combustion air and exhaust gases.
  • Automatic fire suppression systems employing toxic or oxygen displacing gases or total foam flooding shall be deactivated. If it is not feasible to deactivate these systems, then the use of respiratory protective equipment shall be used during entry into and work within such spaces (SCBA or Supplied Air Respirator with Egress bottle only).
  • Only approved lighting and electrical equipment, in accordance with low voltage electrical safety order, shall be used in confined spaces where dangerous air contamination due to flammable and/or explosive substances exists.
  • Where live electrical work will be performed, the tripod unit will be properly grounded (e.g. welding cable and clamp). 

6.6 OPERATING PROCEDURES

  6.6.1 Non-Permit Required Confined Space
  • Employees working in non-permit confined spaces shall wear appropriate personal protective equipment appropriate for the hazards expected in the space.
  • Air testing shall be conducted periodically to monitor the pre-existing atmospheric environment and to detect any atmospheric changes that might occur. All testing data obtained shall be recorded on the confined space entry permit.
  • If air-sampling instruments indicate a developing adverse atmospheric change (e.g. steadily rising hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide levels, or steadily increasing or decreasing oxygen concentration), the supervisor will immediately pull all entrants from the confined space and reassess the area for its new hazard.

6.6.2 Permit-Required Confined Space

    • All procedures described in Section 5.3 and 5.4 shall apply.
    • An approved safety belt with an attached line shall be used. The free end of the line will be secured outside the entry opening. The line shall be a 900 kg test (2,000 pound) and 11 mm in diameter.

Exception: Where an entry supervisor determines that a safety belt and line would further endanger the life of the employee. Under these circumstances, the harness should remain attached to the employee to facilitate rescue in the event of an emergency.

  • Where air contaminants persist or begin to appear after ventilating a confined space, continuous air monitoring will be performed. Data will be entered on the confined space entry permit every 15 minutes by the confined space supervisor.
  • Top Opening: When entry must be made through a top opening, the following requirements also apply:
    • A safety belt shall be of the harness type that suspends a person in an upright position will be worn by any person entering the space.
    • A hoisting device (tripod) or other effective means shall be provided for lifting employees out of the space.

6.7 AFTER HOURS & PRIORITY ENTRIES

  • Under no circumstances is an employee to enter a permit-required confined space at UT Tyler without following the procedures outlined in this section.
  • In the event that a permit-required confined space must be entered after regular working hours, an attempt will be made to contact one of the authorized confined space entry supervisors listed in Appendix B. If a supervisor is not available, confined space entry may proceed if at least three trained confined space personnel are present and all of the procedures outlined in this document are followed.

    Note: Confined space equipment locations in section 5.9. Contact UT Tyler Police for access to equipment storage areas.

6.8 EMERGENCY & RESCUE PROCEDURES

    • Should an employee become disabled while in a confined or enclosed space, the attendant shall immediately call the emergency number 911 to summon emergency personnel. It is important to communicate to the dispatchers that a "confined space rescue" is necessary.
    • Only individuals who are trained in confined space rescue procedures and who have the necessary equipment to perform the rescue without endangering the safety of the would-be rescuer shall make rescue attempts.

Note: Confined space rescue will involve response by off-campus emergency agencies.

  • The person attempting the rescue shall be protected by use of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA's) or supplied air respirator (SAR). Ideally, SARs should be on a pressure line with a minimum length of 25 feet.
  • For top openings (e.g. manholes, vaults, etc.), a rescue line shall be attached to the rescuer for placement onto the victim for removal from the space. Rescue lines will be affixed to the tripod.
  • An additional positive pressure mask may also be lowered into the space to provide safe air for the victim.
©