Acceptable Entry Conditions
Acceptable entry conditions mean the conditions that must exist in a permit space, before an employee may enter that space, to ensure that employees can safely enter into, and safely work within, the space.
Attendant means an individual stationed outside one or more permit spaces who assesses the status of authorized entrants and who must perform the duties specified in 29 CFR 1926.1209.
Authorized entrant means an employee who is authorized by the entry supervisor to enter a permit space.
A barrier means a physical obstruction that blocks or limits access.
Blanking or Blinding
Blanking or blinding means the absolute closure of a pipe, line, or duct by the fastening of a solid plate (such as a spectacle blind or a skillet blind) that completely covers the bore and that is capable of withstanding the maximum pressure of the pipe, line, or duct with no leakage beyond the plate.
A competent person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
Confined space means 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.
Control means the action taken to reduce the level of any hazard inside a confined space using engineering methods (for example, by ventilation), and then using these methods to maintain the reduced hazard level. Control also refers to the engineering methods used for this purpose. Personal protective equipment is not a control.
The controlling contractor is the employer that has overall responsibility for construction at the worksite.
Note to the definition of "Controlling Contractor": If the controlling contractor owns or manages the property, then it is both a controlling employer and a host employer.
Double Block and Bleed
Double block and bleed means the closure of a line, duct, or pipe by closing and locking or tagging two inline valves and by opening and locking or tagging a drain or vent valve in the line between the two closed valves.
Early-warning system means the method used to alert authorized entrants and attendants that an engulfment hazard may be developing. Examples of early-warning systems include but are not limited to:
- Alarms activated by remote sensors; and
- Lookouts with equipment for immediately communicating with the authorized entrants and attendants.
Emergency means any occurrence (including any failure of power, hazard control, or monitoring equipment) or event, internal or external, to the permit space that could endanger entrants.
Engulfment means the surrounding and effective capture of a person by a liquid or finely divided (flowable) solid substance that can be aspirated to cause death by filling or plugging the respiratory system or that can exert enough force on the body to cause death by strangulation, constriction, crushing, or suffocation.
Entry means the action by which any part of a person passes through an opening into a permit-required confined space. Entry includes ensuing work activities in that space and is considered to have occurred as soon as any part of the entrant's body breaks the plane of an opening into the space, whether or not such action is intentional or any work activities are actually performed in the space.
Entry employer means any employer who decides that an employee it directs will enter a permit space.
Note to the definition of "Entry Employer": An employer cannot avoid the duties specified by 29 CFR 1926.1202 merely by refusing to decide whether its employees will enter a permit space, and OSHA will consider the failure to so decide to be an implicit decision to allow employees to enter those spaces if they are working in the proximity of the space.
Entry Permit (Permit)
Entry permit (permit) means the written or printed document that is provided by the employer who designated the space a permit space to allow and control entry into a permit space and that contains the information specified in 29 CFR 1926.1206.
Entry rescue occurs when a rescue service enters a permit space to rescue one or more employees.
Entry supervisor means the qualified person (such as the employer, foreman, or crew chief) responsible for determining if acceptable entry conditions are present at a permit space where entry is planned, for authorizing entry and overseeing entry operations, and for terminating entry as required by 29 CFR 1926.1202.
Note to the definition of "Entry Supervisor": An entry supervisor also may serve as an attendant or as an authorized entrant, as long as that person is trained and equipped as required by 29 CFR 1926.1202 for each role he or she fills. Also, the duties of the entry supervisor may be passed from one individual to another during the course of an entry operation.
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Hazard means a physical hazard or hazardous atmosphere. See the definitions below.
A hazardous atmosphere means an atmosphere that may expose employees to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of the ability to self-rescue (that is, escape unaided from a permit space), injury, or acute illness from one or more of the following causes:
- Flammable gas, vapor, or mist in excess of 10 percent of its lower flammable limit (LFL);
- Airborne combustible dust at a concentration that meets or exceeds its LFL. (Note: This concentration may be approximated as a condition in which the combustible dust obscures vision at a distance of 5 feet (1.52 meters) or less.);
- Atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5 percent or above 23.5 percent;
- The atmospheric concentration of any substance for which a dose or a permissible exposure limit is published in Subpart D of Occupational Health and Environmental Control, or Subpart Z of Toxic and Hazardous Substances, and which could result in employee exposure in excess of its dose or permissible exposure limit. (Note: An atmospheric concentration of any substance that is not capable of causing death, incapacitation, impairment of the ability to self-rescue, injury, or acute illness due to its health effects is not covered by this definition.); and/or
- Any other atmospheric condition that is immediately dangerous to life or health. (Note: For air contaminants for which OSHA has not determined a dose or permissible exposure limit, other sources of information, such as Safety Data Sheets that comply with the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1926.59, published information, and internal documents can provide guidance in establishing acceptable atmospheric conditions.
Host employer means the employer that owns or manages the property where the construction work is taking place.
Note to the definition of "Host Employer": If the owner of the property on which the construction activity occurs has contracted with an entity for the general management of that property, and has transferred to that entity the information specified in 29 CFR 1926.1203(h)(1), OSHA will treat the contracted management entity as the host employer for as long as that entity manages the property. Otherwise, OSHA will treat the owner of the property as the host employer. In no case will there be more than one host employer.
Hot work means operations capable of providing a source of ignition (for example, riveting, welding, cutting, burning, and heating).
An abbreviation that stands for “Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health”.
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health
Immediately dangerous to life or health means any condition that would interfere with an individual's ability to escape unaided from a permit space and that poses a threat to life or that would cause irreversible adverse health effects.
Note to the definition of "Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health": Some materials—hydrogen fluoride gas and cadmium vapor, for example—may produce immediate transient effects that, even if severe, may pass without medical attention, but are followed by sudden, possibly fatal collapse 12-72 hours after exposure. The victim "feels normal" after recovery from transient effects until collapse. Such materials in hazardous quantities are considered to be "immediately" dangerous to life or health.
Inerting means displacing the atmosphere in a permit space by a noncombustible gas (such as nitrogen) to such an extent that the resulting atmosphere is noncombustible.
Note to the definition of " Inerting": This procedure produces an IDLH oxygen-deficient atmosphere.
Intrinsically safe equipment is defined as equipment and wiring which is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignited concentration.
solate or Isolation
Isolate or isolation means the process by which employees in a confined space are completely protected against the release of energy and material into the space, and contact with a physical hazard, by such means as blanking or blinding; misaligning or removing sections of lines, pipes, or ducts; a double block and bleed system; lockout or tagout of all sources of energy; blocking or disconnecting all mechanical linkages; or placement of barriers to eliminate the potential for employee contact with a physical hazard.
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An abbreviation that stands for “Lower Explosive Limit”. LEL means the minimum concentration of vapor in air below which propagation of a flame does not occur in the presence of an ignition source.
An abbreviation that stands for “Lower Flammable Limit”.
Limited or Restricted Means for Entry or Exit
Limited or restricted means for entry or exit means a condition that has the potential to impede an employee's movement into or out of a confined space. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, trip hazards, poor illumination, slippery floors, inclining surfaces, and ladders.
Line breaking means the intentional opening of a pipe, line, or duct that is or has been carrying flammable, corrosive, or toxic material, an inert gas, or any fluid at a volume, pressure, or temperature capable of causing injury.
Lockout means the placement of a lockout device on an energy-isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, ensuring that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.
Lower Flammable Limit or Lower Explosive Limit
A lower flammable limit or lower explosive limit means the minimum concentration of a substance in air needed for an ignition source to cause a flame or explosion.
Monitor or Monitoring
Monitor or monitoring means the process used to identify and evaluate the hazards after an authorized entrant enters the space. This is a process of checking for changes that is performed in a periodic or continuous manner after the completion of the initial testing or evaluation of that space.
Non-entry rescue occurs when a rescue service, usually the attendant, retrieves employees in a permit space without entering the permit space.
Non-Permit Confined Space
Non-permit confined space means a confined space that meets the definition of a confined space but does not meet the requirements for a permit-required confined space, as defined in Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926.1202.
An acronym that stands for “Occupational Safety and Health Administration”.
Oxygen Deficient Atmosphere
Oxygen deficient atmosphere means an atmosphere containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen by volume.
Oxygen Enriched Atmosphere
Oxygen enriched atmosphere means an atmosphere containing more than 23.5 percent oxygen by volume.
An abbreviation that stands for “Permissible Exposure Limit”.
Permit-Required Confined Space (Permit Space)
Permit-required confined space (permit space) means a confined space that has one or more 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.
Permit-Required Confined Space Program (Permit Space Program)
Permit-required confined space program (permit space program) means the employer's overall program for controlling, and, where appropriate, for protecting employees from, permit space hazards and for regulating employee entry into permit spaces.
Physical hazard means an existing or potential hazard that can cause death or serious physical damage. Examples include but are not limited to: Explosives (as defined by paragraph (n) of 29 CFR 1926.914, the definition of "explosive"); mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic energy; radiation; temperature extremes; engulfment; noise; and inwardly converging surfaces. Physical hazard also includes chemicals that can cause death or serious physical damage through skin or eye contact (rather than through inhalation).
An abbreviation that stands for “Personal Protective Equipment”.
Prohibited condition means any condition in a permit space that is not allowed by the permit during the period when an entry is authorized. A hazardous atmosphere is a prohibited condition unless the employer can demonstrate that personal protective equipment (PPE) will provide effective protection for each employee in the permit space and provides the appropriate PPE to each employee.
A qualified person means one who, by the possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
Representative Permit Space
Representative permit space means a mock-up of a confined space that has entrance openings that are similar to, and is of similar size, configuration, and accessibility to, the permit space that authorized entrants enter.
Rescue means retrieving and providing medical assistance to, one or more employees who are in a permit space.
Rescue service means the personnel designated to rescue employees from permit spaces.
Retrieval system means the equipment (including a retrieval line, chest or full-body harness, wristlets, or anklets, if appropriate, and a lifting device or anchor) used for non-entry rescue of persons from permit spaces.
Serious Physical Damage
Serious physical damage means an impairment or illness in which a body part is made functionally useless or is substantially reduced in efficiency. Such impairment or illness may be permanent or temporary and includes, but is not limited to, loss of consciousness, disorientation, or other immediate and substantial reduction in mental efficiency. Injuries involving such impairment would usually require treatment by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional.
- Placement of a tagout device on a circuit or equipment that has been de-energized, in accordance with an established procedure, to indicate that the circuit or equipment being controlled may not be operated until the tagout device is removed; and
- The employer ensures that:
- Tagout provides equivalent protection to lockout; or
- That lockout is infeasible, and the employer has relieved, disconnected, restrained, and otherwise rendered safe stored (residual) energy.
Test or Testing
Test or testing means the process by which the hazards that may confront entrants of a permit space are identified and evaluated. Testing includes specifying the tests that are to be performed in the permit space.
Note to the definition of "Test or Testing": Testing enables employers both to devise and implement adequate control measures for the protection of authorized entrants and to determine if acceptable entry conditions are present immediately prior to, and during, entry.
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Ventilate or Ventilation
Ventilate or ventilation means controlling a hazardous atmosphere using continuous forced-air mechanical systems that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.57 - Ventilation.
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