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July 22, 2011
Confined Spaces Responsibilities

In a BLR webinar entitled "Confined Spaces for Managers and Safety Professionals—What You Need to Know and Do to Safely Manage Entry and Rescue," Michael Lawrence, of Summit Safety Technologies, explained the importance of having a reliable workplace policy on confined space entry and rescue.

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There are certain responsibilities that must be assigned and met during work within confined spaces.

Entrant:

  • Complete appropriate sections of the Entry Permit.
  • Assure that the space has been adequately isolated, or otherwise made safe for entry.
  • Immediately exit a space, without question, upon word of the attendant, no matter what the reason.
  • Follow all safety rules and procedures that apply to the job.
  • Be familiar with the work to be performed and the procedures that apply to the job.
  • Use the appropriate PPE whenever necessary.
  • Complete all required training courses as assigned.

Attendant:

  • Monitor Entrants during the job and during entry and exit to help ensure their safety.
  • The attendant may not abandon his or her post for any reason while personnel are in the space unless relieved by another qualified attendant.
  • Monitor conditions in the space prior to and during entry.
  • Maintain constant communication with Entrants.
  • Control access to the confined space.
  • Summon emergency assistance as needed.
  • Assess hazards in and around the space, and take action as appropriate.

Entrant and Attendant:

  • Entrant is to stay in constant communication (visual and verbal) with the Attendant at all times while in the confined space.
  • Entrant is to comply with all directions from the Attendant regarding evacuation or emergency exit from the confined space.
  • Attendant must be able to summons emergency rescue.
  • The Attendant must possess some means of contacting site emergency personnel.
  • Cell Phone, Pager, Radio, or other means of communication.
  • Entry Supervisor:

    "Entry supervisor" means the person (such as the manager, supervisor, lead) responsible for:

    • Determining if acceptable entry conditions are present at a permit space where entry is planned.
    • Authorizing entry and overseeing entry operations.
    • Terminating entry as required by this section.
    • Delegation of the Entry Supervisor responsibilities is at the discretion of the area/group manager or 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 for each role filled.
    • The duties of entry supervisor may be passed from one individual to another during the course of an entry operation.

    Michael D. Lawrence is head of Summit Safety Technologies (www.safetyprogramnow.com) and is also a well-respected expert in the field of workplace safety, injury prevention, and OSHA requirements as they pertain to confined spaces and rescue. His company provides advice, education, and insights into company safety programs throughout the US.

    Need help staying on top of critical Safety and Environmental issues? See all the webinars BLR has to offer.

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