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OSHA Confined Spaces Advisor

"Configuration" -- Some spaces are hazardous because of their shape. For example, a worker could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section.

"Data"-- It will usually be necessary to both monitor the atmosphere and inspect for physical hazards to insure that only atmospheric hazards are present in the space.

See atmosphere.

"Demonstrate" -- You must demonstrate that the only hazard posed by the permit space is an actual or potential hazardous atmosphere.

You must demonstrate that continuous forced air ventilation alone is sufficient to maintain that permit space safe for entry.

You must develop monitoring and inspection data that supports the demonstrations (above) that the only hazard is atmospheric and that forced air ventilation is sufficient to control the hazard.

If an initial entry of the permit space is necessary to obtain the data required to support this exemption, then the entry to collect data must be performed in compliance with the full requirements for permit entry procedures.

The determinations and supporting data must be documented by the employer and made available to each employee who enters the permit space under the terms of this exemption procedure.

"Detailed" -- If the employer decides that its employees will enter permit spaces, the employer shall develop and implement a written permit space program that complies with this section. The written program shall be available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives. The permit space program must include the fourteen elements specified in 29 CFR 1910.146(d)).

"Enter" -- Entry means the action by which 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.

"Other" -- When a vertical (activity-specific) standard specifies safety procedures for entry, addressing a specific hazard, those procedures would apply instead of 1910.146, to the extent that the standard addresses that hazard related to that activity. However, confined space entry activities and related hazards not addressed by that standard would still be covered by 1910.146. For further clarification, contact OSHA for a more precise delineation as to which standard applies for which situations.

"Own" -- Coverage under this rule does not depend on ownership of the workplace. Employer control of the workplace is the determining factor.

"Potential" -- Some spaces may develop a hazardous atmosphere under certain circumstances. For example, a space with a normal atmosphere may be prone to accumulate deadly carbon monoxide from nearby equipment during work in the space because of its location or shape. Careful assessment must be done to anticipate hazards that could arise.

See atmosphere.

"Signs" -- If the workplace contains permit spaces, the employer shall inform exposed employees, by posting danger signs or by any other equally effective means, of the existence and location of and the danger posed by the permit spaces. NOTE: A sign reading DANGER -- PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER or using other similar language would satisfy the requirement for a sign.