Confined Spaces

Chapter 296-809, WAC

Effective Date: 05/01/04

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Identifying and Controlling Permit-required Confined Spaces

WAC 296-809-200

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Your Responsibility:

To identify your permit-required confined spaces and control employee entry

You must

Identify permit-required confined spaces WAC 296-809-20002
Inform employees and control entry to permit-required confined spaces WAC 296-809-20004
Follow these requirements when you contract with another employer to enter your space WAC 296-809-20006

WAC 296-809-20002
Identify permit-required confined spaces

IMPORTANT:

• If your workplace contains only non-permit confined spaces and your employees don't enter another employer’s confined space, you may follow only the requirements in:

- WAC 296-809-200, Identifying and Controlling Permit-required Confined Spaces
and

- WAC 296-809-700, Non-permit Confined Space Requirements.

• See the Resources section for other chapters covering confined spaces that may apply to your work.

You must

• Identify all permit-required confined spaces in your workplace.

• Assume any confined space is a permit-required confined space, unless you determine the space to be a non-permit confined space.

- If you enter the space to determine the hazards, follow the requirements in WAC 296-809-500, Permit Entry Procedures.

- If you evaluate the confined space and there are no potential or actual hazards, you can consider it to be a non-permit confined space.

• Document your determination that the space is non-permit, as required by WAC 296-809-700.

Definitions:

A permit-required confined space or permit space is a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics capable of causing death or serious physical harm:

- Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere.
- Contains a material with the potential for engulfing someone who enters the space.
- Has an internal configuration that could allow someone entering to be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor, which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section.
- Contains any physical hazard. This includes any recognized health or safety hazards including engulfment in solid or liquid material, electrical shock, or moving parts.
- Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard that could either:

- Impair the ability to self rescue
or
- Result in a situation that presents an immediate danger to life or health.

A non-permit confined space is a confined space that does not contain actual hazards or potential hazards capable of causing death or serious physical harm.


WAC 296-809-20004
Inform employees and control entry to permit-required confined spaces

You must

(1) Provide information about confined spaces as follows:

- Make available to affected employees and their authorized representatives all information and documents required by this chapter.

- Inform affected employees about the existence, location, and danger of any permit-required confined spaces in your workplace by:

• Posting danger signs
or
• Using any other equally effective means to inform employees.

Note

Note:

A sign reading “DANGER-PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER” or using pictures or other similar wording employees can understand, would satisfy the requirement for a sign.


You must

(2) Take effective measures to prevent unauthorized employees from entering permit-required confined spaces.

Note

Note:

Examples of measures to prevent employee entry include padlocks, bolted covers, special tools to remove covers, and providing employee training.


WAC 296-809-20006
Follow these requirements when you contract with another employer to enter your confined space

IMPORTANT:

The contractor is responsible for following all confined space requirements in this chapter and in other rules that apply. For a list of other rules that may apply, see the Resources section of this chapter.

You must

• Do all of the following if you arrange to have another employer (contractor) perform work that involves entry into your permit-required confined space:

- Inform the contractor:

• That the workplace contains permit-required confined spaces and entry is allowed only if the applicable requirements of this chapter are met

• Of the identified hazards and your experience with each permit-required confined space

• Of any precautions or procedures you require for the protection of employees in or near spaces where the contractor will be working

- Coordinate entry operations with the contractor, when either employees or employers from the different companies will be working in or near permit-required confined spaces.

- Discuss entry operations with the contractor when they are complete. Include the following in your discussion:

• The program followed during confined space entry
and
• Any hazards confronted or created.

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