Confined Spaces

Chapter 296-809, WAC

Effective Date: 05/01/04

Helpful Tools

Permit Entry Procedures

WAC 296-809-500

For printing

Your Responsibility:

To establish procedures for the safe permit-required entry of
confined spaces

You must

Implement procedures for entry permits WAC 296-809-50002
Use an entry permit that contains all required information WAC 296-809-50004
Keep and review your entry permits WAC 296-809-50006

Prevent unauthorized entry

WAC 296-809-50008
Provide, maintain, and use proper equipment WAC 296-809-50010
Evaluate and control hazards for safe entry WAC 296-809-50012
Make sure you have adequate rescue and emergency services available WAC 296-809-50014
Use non-entry rescue systems or methods whenever possible WAC 296-809-50016
Make sure entry supervisors perform their responsibilities and duties
WAC 296-800-50018
Provide an attendant outside the permit-required confined space WAC 296-809-50020
Make sure entrants know the hazardous conditions and their duties WAC 296-809-50022
Implement procedures for ending entry WAC 296-809-50024

WAC 296-809-50002
Implement procedures for entry permits

You must

• Identify and evaluate, before employees enter, potential hazards from:

- The permit-required confined space

- The work to be performed.

• Complete an entry permit before entry is authorized, documenting that you have completed the means, procedures and practices necessary for safe entry and work.
• Make sure that entrants or their representatives have an opportunity to observe any monitoring or testing, or any actions to eliminate or control hazards, performed to complete the permit.
• Identify the entry supervisor.
• Make sure the entry supervisor signs the entry permit, authorizing entry, before the space is entered.
• Make the completed permit available to entrants or their authorized representatives at the time of entry.

- Do this by either posting the completed permit at the entry location, or by any other equally effective means.

• Make sure the duration of the permit doesn't exceed the time required to complete the assigned task or job identified on the permit.
• Note any problems encountered during an entry operation on the permit. Use the information to make appropriate revisions to your program, entry operations, means, systems, procedures and practices

Helpful Tool:

Sample Confined Space Entry Permit
You can find sample fill-in-the-blank entry permits in the Resources section of this rule.

WAC 296-809-50004
Use an entry permit that contains all required information

You must

• Make sure your entry permit identifies all of the following that apply to your entry operation:

- The space to be entered

- Purpose of the entry

- Date and the authorized duration of the entry permit

- Hazards of the space to be entered

- Acceptable entry conditions

- Results of initial and periodic tests performed to evaluate and identify the hazards and conditions of the space, accompanied by the names or initials of the testers and by an indication of when the tests were performed

- Appropriate measures used before entry to isolate the space, and eliminate or control hazards.

• Examples of appropriate measures include the lockout or tagging of equipment and procedures for purging, inerting, ventilating, and flushing permit-required confined spaces.

- Names of entrants and current attendants:

• Other means include the use of rosters or tracking systems as long as the attendant can determine quickly and accurately, for the duration of the permit, which entrants are inside the space.

- The current entry supervisor

- A space for the signature or initials of the original supervisor authorizing entry

- Communication procedures for entrants and attendants to maintain contact during the entry

- Equipment provided for safe entry, such as:

• Personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Testing equipment
• Communications equipment
• Alarm systems
• Rescue equipment

- Rescue and emergency services available, and how to contact them. Include equipment to use, and names and contact information

- Other information needed for safety in the particular confined space

- Additional permits issued for work in the space, such as for hot work.

WAC 296-809-50006
Keep and review your entry permits

You must

• Keep entry permits for at least one year
• Keep entry permits or other atmospheric monitoring records that show the actual atmosphere an employee entered or worked in, as employee exposure records
• Review your permit-required confined space entry program as follows:

- Conduct a review when you have any reason to believe your entry program may not protect employees, and revise your program before allowing subsequent entries.



Examples of circumstances requiring the review of your program include the following:

- There is unauthorized entry of a permit space
- A permit space hazard not covered by the permit is found
- A condition prohibited by the permit occurs
- An injury or near-miss occurs during entry
- There is a change in the use or configuration of a permit space
- An employee complains about the effectiveness of the program.

You must

• Review canceled entry permits within one year following each entry to evaluate:

- Your permit-required confined space program.

- The protection provided to employees entering permit-required confined spaces.

• Update your written permit-required confined space entry program as necessary



Employers may perform a single annual review covering all entries performed during a 12-month period. If no entry is performed during a 12-month period, no review is necessary.


Keep employee exposure records according to
chapter 296-62 WAC, Part B, Access to Records.

WAC 296-809-50008
Prevent unauthorized entry

You must

• Implement measures necessary to prevent unauthorized entry into permit-required confined spaces, when conducting authorized entry.



- When removing entrance covers to open the confined space, protect entrants and those outside the confined space from hazards.

- Examples of measures to prevent unauthorized entry are signs, barricades, warning tape, and an attendant.

WAC 296-809-50010
Provide, maintain, and use proper equipment

You must

• Provide the equipment in Table 2, when needed and at no cost to employees.

• Make sure that employees use provided equipment properly.

• Maintain the provided equipment.

Table 2
Equipment Provided to Employees at No Cost

Type of equipment


Testing and monitoring equipment Evaluating permit-required confined space conditions
Ventilating equipment Obtaining and maintaining acceptable entry conditions
Communication equipment Effective communication between the attendant and the entrants and to initiate rescue when required
Personal protective equipment (PPE) Protecting employees from hazards of the space or the work performed
Lighting equipment Employees to see well enough to work safely and to exit the space quickly in an emergency
Barriers or shields, such as pedestrian, vehicle or other barriers Protecting employees from hazards outside of the space
Ladders Safe entry and exit by entrants
Rescue and emergency equipment, except for equipment
provided by the rescue service provider
Safe and effective rescue
Any other equipment Safe entry into and rescue from permit-required confined spaces

WAC 296-809-50012
Evaluate and control hazards for safe entry

You must

• Evaluate and control hazards for safe entry into permit-required confined spaces by doing all the following:

- Test for atmospheric hazards, in this order:

• Oxygen

• Combustible gases and vapors

• Toxic gases and vapors

- Provide each entrant or their authorized representative an opportunity to observe any of the following:

• Pre-entry testing

• Subsequent testing

• Monitoring of permit-required spaces.

- Reevaluate the permit-required space in the presence of any entrant, or their authorized representative, who requests this to be done because they have reason to believe that the evaluation of that space may not have been adequate.

- Upon request, immediately provide each entrant or their authorized representative, with the results of any testing required by this rule.

- Continuously monitor conditions in areas where entrants are working, when isolation of the space isn't feasible.

Examples would be a large space or space that is part of a continuous system, such as a sewer.

- Evaluate space conditions during entry as follows:

Table 3
Evaluating Space Conditions

You must In order to
Test conditions before entry Determine that acceptable entry conditions exist before entry is authorized by the entry supervisor
Test or evaluate space conditions during entry Determine that acceptable entry conditions are being maintained during entry operations
Evaluate entry operations Make sure entrants of more than one employer working at the same time in or around a permit-required confined space, don't endanger each other

Helpful Tool:

Sewer System Entry
You can find additional information about sewer entry in the Resources section of this rule.

WAC 296-809-50014
Make sure you have adequate rescue and emergency services available


This section applies to both:

- Employers whose employees use permit entry procedures

- Employers who provide rescue services.

You must

(1) Make sure you have adequate rescue and emergency services available during your permit-required confined space entry operations.

• Evaluate and select rescue teams or services who can:

- Respond to a rescue call in a timely manner. Timeliness is based on the identified hazards. Rescuers must have the capability to reach potential victims within an appropriate time frame based on the identified permit space hazards.

- Proficiently rescue employees from a permit-required confined space in your workplace. Rescuers must have the appropriate equipment for the type of rescue.

- Make sure that at least one member of the rescue team or service holds a current certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

• Inform each rescue team or service about the hazards they may confront when called to perform rescue.

• Provide the rescue team or service with access to all permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary.

- This will allow them to develop appropriate rescue plans and to practice rescue operations.



What will be considered timely will vary according to the specific hazards involved in each entry. For example, chapter 296-842 WAC, Respirators, requires that employers provide a standby person or persons capable of immediate action to rescue employee(s) for work areas considered to contain an IDLH atmosphere.

Helpful Tool:

Evaluating Rescue Teams or Services
You can find information about evaluating rescue services in the Resources section of this rule.

(2) Employees assigned to provide permit-required confined space rescue and emergency services must be provided, at no cost to the employee, with:

• Personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for safe entry

• Other equipment required to conduct rescues safely

• Training so they are:

- Proficient in the use of the PPE and other equipment.

- Proficient as an entrant of permit-required confined spaces.

- Able to safely perform assigned rescue and emergency duties.

- Knowledgeable in basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

• Practice sessions for permit-required confined space rescues at least once every 12 months where dummies, manikins, or actual persons are removed from either:

- The actual permit spaces

- Representative permit spaces that simulate the opening size, configuration, and accessibility, of permit spaces where rescue will be performed.

(3) Establish procedures for:

• Contacting rescue and emergency services.

• Rescuing entrants from permit-required confined spaces.

• Providing necessary emergency services to rescued entrants.

• Preventing unauthorized persons from attempting a rescue.

WAC 296-809-50016
Use non-entry rescue systems or methods whenever possible

You must

• Use non-entry retrieval systems or methods to rescue entrants in a permit-required confined space unless this:

- Would increase the overall risk of injury to entrants


- Wouldn't contribute to the rescue of the entrant.

• Make sure each entrant uses a chest or full-body harness, with a retrieval line attached to the harness at one of the following locations:

- At the center of the employee’s back, near shoulder level.

- Above the employee’s head.

- At another point which presents a profile small enough for the successful removal of the employee.

• Attach the retrieval line to a mechanical device or fixed point outside the space, so rescue can begin as soon as necessary.

• Make sure a mechanical device is available to retrieve entrants from vertical spaces more than 5 feet (1.52 m) deep.



When you can demonstrate that the use of a chest or full-body harness isn't feasible or creates a greater hazard, then you may use wristlets or another method shown to be the safest and most effective alternative.

WAC 296-809-50018
Make sure entry supervisors perform their responsibilities and duties

You must

• Make sure that an entry supervisor:

- Authorizes the entry into a permit-required confined space by signing the entry permit.

- Oversees entry operations.

- Knows about the hazards that may be faced during entry, including the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure.

- Verifies and checks all of the following:

• The appropriate entries have been made on the permit
• All tests specified by the permit have been conducted
• All procedures and equipment specified by the permit are in place before approving the permit and allowing entry to the space

- Terminates the entry and cancels the permit when:

• The assigned task or job has been completed
• A condition in the space that isn't covered by the entry permit is discovered

- Verifies that rescue services are available and that there is a way to contact them.

- Removes unauthorized individuals who enter or attempt to enter the permit-required confined space during entry operations.

- Determines that entry operations remain consistent with the terms of the entry permit and acceptable entry conditions are maintained:

• Whenever responsibility for a permit-required space entry operation is transferred


• At regular intervals dictated by the hazards and operations performed within the space.




- Make sure entry supervisors have the required knowledge and proficiency to perform the job duties and responsibilities required by this chapter.
- The entry supervisor may also perform other duties under this chapter, such as attendant or entrant, if they are trained and proficient in those duties.
- The responsibility of the entry supervisor may be passed from one supervisor to another during an entry operation.

WAC 296-809-50020
Provide an attendant outside the permit-required confined space


• The number of attendants assigned should be tailored to the requirements of the space and the work performed.

• You need to assess if it's appropriate or possible to have multiple permit spaces monitored by a single attendant, or have an attendant stationed at a location outside each space. Video cameras and radios are examples of tools that may assist an attendant monitoring more than one space.

• Attendants may be stationed at any location outside the permit-required confined space if the duties described in this section can be effectively performed for each space that's monitored.

You must

• Provide at least one attendant outside the permit-required confined space during entry operations.

• Make sure each permit-required confined space attendant:

- Understands the hazards that may be faced during entry, including the mode, signs or symptoms, and results of exposure to the hazards.

- Is aware of the behavioral effects of exposure to the hazard.

- Continuously maintains an accurate count of entrants in the space.

- Maintains an accurate record of who is in the permit-required confined space.

- Communicates with entrants as necessary to monitor their status or alert them of the need to evacuate the space.

- Monitors activities inside and outside the space to determine if it's safe for entrants to remain in the space.

- Orders entrants to evacuate the space immediately if any of the following conditions occur:

• A prohibited condition.

• The behavioral effects of hazardous exposure in an entrant.

• A situation outside the space that could endanger entrants.

• The attendant can't effectively and safely perform all the duties required in this chapter.

- Takes the following actions when unauthorized persons approach or enter a space:

• Warn unauthorized persons to stay away from the space

• Tells the unauthorized persons to exit immediately if they have entered the space

• Informs entrants and the entry supervisor if unauthorized persons have entered the space

- Performs non-entry rescues as specified by your rescue procedure.

- Has the means to respond to an emergency affecting one or more of the permit spaces being monitored without preventing performance of the attendants duties to the other spaces being monitored.

- Carries out no duties that might interfere with their primary duty to monitor and protect the entrants.

- Calls for rescue and other emergency services as soon as entrants may need assistance to escape from the space.

- Monitors entry operations until relieved by another attendant or all entrants are out of the space.

WAC 296-809-50022
Make sure entrants know the hazardous conditions and their duties

You must

• Make sure that all entrants:

- Know the hazards they may face during entry, including the mode, signs or symptoms, and results of exposure to the hazards.

- Use equipment properly.

- Communicate with the attendant as necessary so the attendant can:

• Monitor entrant status.

• Alert entrants of the need to evacuate.

- Alert the attendant whenever either of these situations exist:

A warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation such as, behavioral changes, euphoria, giddiness potentially from lack of oxygen or exposure to solvents.

A prohibited condition.

- Exit from the permit-required confined space as quickly as possible when one of the following occurs:

• The attendant or entry supervisor gives an order to evacuate.

The entrant recognizes any warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation.

The entrant detects a prohibited condition.

An evacuation alarm is activated.

WAC 296-809-50024
Implement procedures for ending entry

You must

• Make sure you terminate the entry when entry operations are completed, including securing an entrance cover and canceling the permit.

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