Confined spaces are areas that are not designed for people to enter and have limited or restricted ways to enter or exit. Examples include tanks, vessels, storage bins, silos, hoppers, pits, manholes, vaults, ductwork, pipelines, tunnels, and equipment housings.
Confined spaces are not designed for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in the event of an emergency. People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards such as entrapment, toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, heat stress, and asphyxiation. For example, in the event of a lack of oxygen, workers only have 4 minutes to escape a confined space.
Special Requirements For Working In A Confined Space
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a general industry standard (29 CFR 1910.146) and a construction industry standard (26 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) for engaging in confined space work. A permit is required if a confined space has any of the following 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 a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
- Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards
BELFOR Environmental maintains the appropriate OSHA permits required to work in confined spaces.
BELFOR Environmental technicians go through extensive OSHA training so they are prepared to safely evaluate, test and monitor confined spaces prior to performing any work.
Our technicians are trained to identify space hazard, including signs, symptoms and consequences of exposure. The use of personal protection equipment (PPE) when entering a confined space is mandatory.
To ensure safety, we make sure that unauthorized people are kept away from permit-required confined spaces or exit immediately if they have entered the permit space. We also take necessary precautions such as retrieval lines, harnesses and/or wristlets. It is our duty to ensure that qualified rescue service personnel are available if needed.
If your environmental issue is confined to a hazardous space that requires specialized service, call BELFOR Environmental at 1-800-930-0011.