Confined Space Safety
Confined spaces may contain hazards that can injure workers or quickly lead to death. Untrained and ill-equipped rescuers can easily become victims themselves. As an employer, ISU is required to develop, maintain, and implement a written confined space entry program that includes an inventory of permit-required confined spaces, signage, a permit system for confined space entry, methods for hazard mitigation, rescue and emergency procedures, training, contractor requirements, audits, and inspections.
The purpose of the Confined Space Plan is to establish practices and procedures that protect Idaho State employees from hazards associated with confined space work and to comply with federal and state confined space regulations.
This plan applies to all Idaho State employees with duties that relate to entry into and work within confined spaces. Information in this Plan applies to all Idaho State campuses and Facilities with confined spaces.
A confined space as a space that is:
- Large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter it
- Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit, and
- Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy
A PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE is a Confined Space with any one of the following characteristics:
- Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
- Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an Entrant
- 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
- Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard
Confined spaces are found in many shapes, forms, and places throughout ISU campuses.
Examples of confined spaces at ISU include:
- Certain parts of utility tunnel systems
Prior to entering a space to perform work, an individual needs to determine if the space is considered a a CONFINED SPACE or a PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE.
In order to make this determination employees should:
- Consult their supervisor/manager to check if the space is listed in ISU’s confined space inventory and get further directions on how to proceed
- Contact the EHS Department and have the space evaluated if it is not listed in the ISU confined space inventory or
- Consult the ISU Confined Space Plan and treat the space as a Permit Required.
EHS provides confined space training for those employees who work in or around confined spaces. Contact the Health and Safety Technician for more information.