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Monday, December 14, 2020

Confined Space Working Procedures

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to have a procedure of entering and working in the Underground room (confined space) following HSE regulations.

2. Scope

This practice includes the following major sections:

  • General Requirements
  • Confined Space Entry Permit
  • Confined Space Entry Hazards
  • Atmosphere Tester

3. Confined Spaces

A confined space is a partially or closed structure that has not been designed to be permanently occupied by workers. Operating inside (confined space entry) must remain exceptional: 

  • During their construction. 
  • Their servicing (particularly while cleaning. 
  • Their maintenance (periodical checking, repair).

Confined spaces are partially or fully closed structures (pits, tanks, sewers…) present in many facilities & industries. Risks developed because of an ill oxygenated, toxic or explosive atmosphere are serious and usually cause severe fatal accidents and deaths. Thus, the utilization of a confined space air monitor and other safety solutions are essential.

4. Application Areas

  • Underground Rooms, wells, sinks, pits, silos and cellars
  • Wastewater treatment: chlorination, ozonation
  • Crawl spaces, sewers, drains, pipes
  • Mines, long and thin galleries
  • Tanks, containers

5. Procedure

  • Upon arrival to the site, the doors /cover (s) to the underground room (confined space) shall be lifted to manage maximum natural ventilation. NO SMOKING OR NAKED FLAMES are permitted inside the room. 
  • Confined room’s open door or access passage is to be cordoned off to prevent unauthorized access.
  • A gas detection monitor (H2S) will be inserted into the Underground room (confined space) to identify any hazardous gases. This gas test will remain for a minimum duration of five-5 minutes.
  • If the alarm/beep on the H2S monitor is activated it will be withdrawn and a further gas test will be conducted fifteen-15 minutes after the first. If an alarm state is still present no further action will be taken on that Underground room (confined space) and work will be suspended.
  • This incidence will be given to the workplace Occupational Health and Safety Officer or Project Manager and further advice will be taken regarding the correct course of action.
  • If the gas monitor is not activated it will be removed when the operative is ready to enter the Underground room (confined space) and a portable monitor attached to the operative entering the Underground room (confined space) to ensure continuous monitoring throughout entry procedure.
  • Personnel entering the Underground room (confined space) will be equipped with all necessary PPE to include (as required) overalls, boots, gloves, hard hat, harness which will be checked for correct fit. The gas monitor will then be observed/checked by the first person entering the confined space before he gets in.
  • Before any entry into the Underground room (confined space) both ‘Top Man’ and ‘Underground room (confined space) Personnel’ will agree two pre-arranged signals. These indicators are to nominate “OK” or “Help” and will be both verbal and visual formats with the brake between signals being no more than three-3 minutes. Personnel in the Underground room (confined space) will only respond to the ‘Top Mans’ three-3-minute call after the gas monitor has been checked/observed.
  • It is the ‘Top Mans’ responsibility to manage both formats (visual and verbal contact) with the confined space personnel. Escape Breathing Apparatus (E.B.A) equipment will be disclosed/unpacked and checked. 

Minimum Requirements Are:

  1. Look/check that the Air Supply Bottle is completely energised.
  2. Check all airline connections, straps etc. are serviceable.
  3. This is in annexation to equipment manufacturers or Escape Breathing Apparatus supplier’s endorsement, which must be read and understood before proceeding.
  4. Following the above procedures entry through the cover (s) to the Underground room (confined space) can be affected with a lifeline attached. First-person entering the Underground room (confined space) will report back to Top Man that all is okay before any further entries by Underground room (confined space) personnel.
  5. Escape Breathing Apparatus (B.A) gear will be situated within arm’s reach at all times whilst in the Underground room (confined space). 
  6. The above procedure will be replicated on each entry into the chamber/tank/confined area inclusive of breaks.

6. Risks  

  • There is a severe risk that the Confined Space Operative (CPO) may undergo an accident that paralyzes him (falls and crush his head, fracture a limb or overpower by fumes). 
  • There is also a severe risk that the operative may suffer a disabling illness (heart attack or stroke).
  • There would be a requirement to retrieve the operative quickly from the Underground room (confined space).

7. Controls Measures           

Top Man outside sewage pit, two men inside the pit, BA equipment inside the pit, gas monitoring inside the pit, tripod and electric winch at top of the pit/ Underground room (confined space). 

8. Permit to Work 

Permit to Work (PTW)-required confined space means a confined space that has one or more of the below-described aspects:

  • Has a capability to consist of a hazardous atmosphere such as:
  • The presence of hazardous gases, liquids, or solids which are extremely flammable, toxic, asphyxiating, radioactive, hot, or cold/refrigerated.
  • Oxygen concentrations below 19.5 per cent or above 23.5 per cent under normal atmospheric pressure.
  • A flammable or gas vapour level greater than 10 per cent Lower Explosive Limit (LEL).
  • Has airborne flammable dust at compression/concentration likely to assist/support a fire or explosion.
  • Bears/has a material (except water) that has the potential for submerging an entrant.
  • Contains other recognized serious occupational safety or health hazard.

9. Emergency/Rescue Procedures

If the operative/personnel were to become seriously injured but responsive, the following procedure needs to be followed. 

  1. Call Immediately [HELPLINE NUMBER].
  2. In the event of an emergency, the Top Man WILL NOT ENTER in the Underground room (confined space) for any reason and will follow the site-specific emergency rescue plan which is appendixes to this document. 
  3. Emergency removal equipment highlighted/mentioned in this Risk Assessment will be completely tested and useable.
  4. In the event of verbal instruction from the “Top Man” all personnel will immediately vacate the confined space are, even if no inevitable danger is evident to them.
  5. Remove the operative from the pit/confined space using the health and safety eradication equipment/device.
  6. Stay with operative until they have regained their composure.
  7. Administer first aid if required.
  8. Wait for emergency services.

All personnel who are involved with this work (including supervisors, project engineers and managers) must be completely conversant with the site-specific emergency control section. 

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Confined Space Working Procedures


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