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The Top 10 Checklist Items for Confined Space Entry

Posted on Thu, Sep 01, 2011

A situation requiring confined space entry can be encountered in many industrial operations. Authorized entry should require a pre-entry checklist to ensure rescue team members enter safely. The need for a confined space emergency rescue can be the result of earthquakes, construction or support failures, or any incident that results in a narrow and constricted entry, preventing easy access by rescuers.

A confined space pre-entry checklist should be completed prior to entering any confined space. Preparedness and response planning measures should be in place prior to any confined space entry. A pre-entry checklist may include the following:

1. Discuss prior to entry:

  • Scope of work to be done inside confined space
  • Knowledge of current contents of the confined space
  • Preparation that has been completed, including removal and clean up of chemicals from the confined space
  • Completed hazard identification and risk assessment
  • All aspects of safety measures
  • Name of entrants, attendants, supervisors and rescue team

2. Permit

  • Confined space entry permit has been issued.
  • The confined space permit is up to date.
  • If hot work will be carried out, ensure hot work permit is attained

3. Verification of conditions

  • All instruments used are calibrated.
  • The person in charge for atmospheric testing is qualified and competent.
  • The confined space has been tested for atmospheric conditions.

4. Testing Results

  • Determine Oxygen content levels
  • Are toxic, flammable or vapor gases present?
  • Evaluation and confirmation of atmospheric testing.


5. Monitoring

  • Make sure the confined space atmosphere will be monitored while work is in progress.
  • Prepare a monitoring time table.

6. Ventilation

  • Identify ventilation considerations before entry and throughout duration of rescue.
  • Ensure air intake (supply) for the ventilation system remains unobstructed
  • If the atmospheric conditions are unacceptable, ventilate and retest space.

7. Isolation

  • The confined space has been isolated from other systems.
  • Mechanical equipment has been blocked, chocked and disengaged.
  • Tags and blind plates have been installed at appropriate block valves.

8. Equipment, Clothing, Tools and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Special equipment/tools have been provided.
  • Special clothing required for the work inside confined space has been provided (chemical suit, boots, safety shoes, goggles).
  • Lighting requirements have been fulfilled.

9. Training

  • The entrants, attendants, supervisors and rescue teams have attained confined space entry training.

10. Standby/Rescue Team

  • There is a team or rescue member outside of the confined space in constant communication with the personnel inside the confined space.

Confined space rescue is covered under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1670, and under numerous OSHA’s standards.

OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" to describe a space that has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.

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Tags: Fire Department Training, Earthquake Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Disaster Recovery