1926.1203 General requirements.§ 1926.1203 General requirements.
(a) Before it begins work at a worksite, each employer must ensure that a competent person identifies all confined spaces in which one or more of the employees it directs may work, and identifies each space that is a permit space, through consideration and evaluation of the elements of that space, including testing as necessary.
(b) If the workplace contains one or more permit spaces, the employer who identifies, or who receives notice of, a permit space must:
(1) 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, each permit space; andNote to paragraph (b)(1).
A sign reading “DANGER - PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER” or using other similar language would satisfy the requirement for a sign.
(2) Inform, in a timely manner and in a manner other than posting, its employees' authorized representatives and the controlling contractor of the existence and location of, and the danger posed by, each permit space.
(c) Each employer who identifies, or receives notice of, a permit space and has not authorized employees it directs to work in that space must take effective measures to prevent those employees from entering that permit space, in addition to complying with all other applicable requirements of this standard.
(d) If any employer decides that employees it directs will enter a permit space, that employer must have a written permit space program that complies with § 1926.1204 implemented at the construction site. The written program must be made available prior to and during entry operations for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.
(e) An employer may use the alternate procedures specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this section for entering a permit space only under the conditions set forth in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.
(1) An employer whose employees enter a permit space need not comply with §§ 1926.1204 through 1206 and §§ 1926.1208 through 1211, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
(i) The employer can demonstrate that all physical hazards in the space are eliminated or isolated through engineering controls so that the only hazard posed by the permit space is an actual or potential hazardous atmosphere;
(ii) The employer can demonstrate that continuous forced air ventilation alone is sufficient to maintain that permit space safe for entry, and that, in the event the ventilation system stops working, entrants can exit the space safely;
(iii) The employer develops monitoring and inspection data that supports the demonstrations required by paragraphs (e)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section;
(iv) If an initial entry of the permit space is necessary to obtain the data required by paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section, the entry is performed in compliance with §§ 1926.1204 through 1926.1211;
(v) The determinations and supporting data required by paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section are documented by the employer and are made available to each employee who enters the permit space under the terms of paragraph (e) of this section or to that employee's authorized representative; and
(vi) Entry into the permit space under the terms of paragraph (e)(1) of this section is performed in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.Note to paragraph (e)(1).
See paragraph (g) of this section for reclassification of a permit space after all hazards within the space have been eliminated.
(2) The following requirements apply to entry into permit spaces that meet the conditions set forth in paragraph (e)(1) of this section:
(i) Any conditions making it unsafe to remove an entrance cover must be eliminated before the cover is removed.
(ii) When entrance covers are removed, the opening must be immediately guarded by a railing, temporary cover, or other temporary barrier that will prevent an accidental fall through the opening and that will protect each employee working in the space from foreign objects entering the space.
(iii) Before an employee enters the space, the internal atmosphere must be tested, with a calibrated direct-reading instrument, for oxygen content, for flammable gases and vapors, and for potential toxic air contaminants, in that order. Any employee who enters the space, or that employee's authorized representative, must be provided an opportunity to observe the pre-entry testing required by this paragraph.
(iv) No hazardous atmosphere is permitted within the space whenever any employee is inside the space.
(v) Continuous forced air ventilation must be used, as follows:
(A) An employee must not enter the space until the forced air ventilation has eliminated any hazardous atmosphere;
(B) The forced air ventilation must be so directed as to ventilate the immediate areas where an employee is or will be present within the space and must continue until all employees have left the space;
(C) The air supply for the forced air ventilation must be from a clean source and must not increase the hazards in the space.
(vi) The atmosphere within the space must be continuously monitored unless the entry employer can demonstrate that equipment for continuous monitoring is not commercially available or periodic monitoring is sufficient. If continuous monitoring is used, the employer must ensure that the monitoring equipment has an alarm that will notify all entrants if a specified atmospheric threshold is achieved, or that an employee will check the monitor with sufficient frequency to ensure that entrants have adequate time to escape. If continuous monitoring is not used, periodic monitoring is required. All monitoring must ensure that the continuous forced air ventilation is preventing the accumulation of a hazardous atmosphere. Any employee who enters the space, or that employee's authorized representative, must be provided with an opportunity to observe the testing required by this paragraph (e)(2)(vi).
(vii) If a hazard is detected during entry:
(A) Each employee must leave the space immediately;
(B) The space must be evaluated to determine how the hazard developed; and
(C) The employer must implement measures to protect employees from the hazard before any subsequent entry takes place.
(viii) The employer must ensure a safe method of entering and exiting the space. If a hoisting system is used, it must be designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting; however, a job-made hoisting system is permissible if it is approved for personnel hoisting by a registered professional engineer, in writing, prior to use.
(ix) The employer must verify that the space is safe for entry and that the pre-entry measures required by paragraph (e)(2) of this section have been taken, through a written certification that contains the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person providing the certification. The certification must be made before entry and must be made available to each employee entering the space or to that employee's authorized representative.
(f) When there are changes in the use or configuration of a non-permit confined space that might increase the hazards to entrants, or some indication that the initial evaluation of the space may not have been adequate, each entry employer must have a competent person reevaluate that space and, if necessary, reclassify it as a permit-required confined space.
(g) A space classified by an employer as a permit-required confined space may only be reclassified as a non-permit confined space when a competent person determines that all of the applicable requirements in paragraphs (g)(1) through (4) of this section have been met:
(1) If the permit space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazards and if all hazards within the space are eliminated or isolated without entry into the space (unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so without entry is infeasible), the permit space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space for as long as the non-atmospheric hazards remain eliminated or isolated;
(2) The entry employer must eliminate or isolate the hazards without entering the space, unless it can demonstrate that this is infeasible. If it is necessary to enter the permit space to eliminate or isolate hazards, such entry must be performed under §§ 1926.1204 through 1926.1211. If testing and inspection during that entry demonstrate that the hazards within the permit space have been eliminated or isolated, the permit space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space for as long as the hazards remain eliminated or isolated;Note to paragraph (g)(2).
Control of atmospheric hazards through forced air ventilation does not constitute elimination or isolation of the hazards. Paragraph (e) of this section covers permit space entry where the employer can demonstrate that forced air ventilation alone will control all hazards in the space.
(3) The entry employer must document the basis for determining that all hazards in a permit space have been eliminated or isolated, through a certification that contains the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person making the determination. The certification must be made available to each employee entering the space or to that employee's authorized representative; and
(4) If hazards arise within a permit space that has been reclassified as a non-permit space under paragraph (g) of this section, each employee in the space must exit the space. The entry employer must then reevaluate the space and reclassify it as a permit space as appropriate in accordance with all other applicable provisions of this standard.
(h) Permit space entry communication and coordination. (1) Before entry operations begin, the host employer must provide the following information, if it has it, to the controlling contractor:
(i) The location of each known permit space;
(ii) The hazards or potential hazards in each space or the reason it is a permit space; and
(iii) Any precautions that the host employer or any previous controlling contractor or entry employer implemented for the protection of employees in the permit space.
(2) Before entry operations begin, the controlling contractor must:
(i) Obtain the host employer's information about the permit space hazards and previous entry operations; and
(ii) Provide the following information to each entity entering a permit space and any other entity at the worksite whose activities could foreseeably result in a hazard in the permit space:
(A) The information received from the host employer;
(B) Any additional information the controlling contractor has about the subjects listed in paragraph (h)(1) of this section; and
(C) The precautions that the host employer, controlling contractor, or other entry employers implemented for the protection of employees in the permit spaces.
(3) Before entry operations begin, each entry employer must:
(i) Obtain all of the controlling contractor's information regarding permit space hazards and entry operations; and
(ii) Inform the controlling contractor of the permit space program that the entry employer will follow, including any hazards likely to be confronted or created in each permit space.
(4) The controlling contractor and entry employer(s) must coordinate entry operations when:
(i) More than one entity performs permit space entry at the same time; or
(ii) Permit space entry is performed at the same time that any activities that could foreseeably result in a hazard in the permit space are performed.
(5) After entry operations:
(i) The controlling contractor must debrief each entity that entered a permit space regarding the permit space program followed and any hazards confronted or created in the permit space(s) during entry operations;
(ii) The entry employer must inform the controlling contractor in a timely manner of the permit space program followed and of any hazards confronted or created in the permit space(s) during entry operations; and
(iii) The controlling contractor must apprise the host employer of the information exchanged with the entry entities pursuant to this subparagraph.Note to paragraph (h).
Unless a host employer or controlling contractor has or will have employees in a confined space, it is not required to enter any confined space to collect the information specified in this paragraph (h).
(i) If there is no controlling contractor present at the worksite, the requirements for, and role of, controlling contactors in this section must be fulfilled by the host employer or other employer who arranges to have employees of another employer perform work that involves permit space entry.