Confined spaces are enclosed spaces that are large enough for workers to enter and perform work assignments, but have limited openings to enter and exit and are not designed for continuous employee occupancy. If a confined space poses certain hazards, it could be deemed a "permit-required" confined space which would require the entrant to obtain a permit 48 hours before entering such a space. Specific hazards of a permit-required confined space include one or more of the following characteristics:
- Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere;
- Contains an engulfing potential;
- Contains a hazardous internal configuration; and/or
- Contains other recognized safety or health hazards.
RIT workers and emergency responders can be injured because of the failure to recognize that a confined space is a potential hazard. Planned entry and rescue procedures are the two major components of a safe confined space entry on RIT's campus.
Permit-Required Confined Spaces
Because permit-required confined spaces are present on campus, there are certain requirements that RIT must follow in order to ensure the safety of workers who may enter these spaces. Before any RIT worker enters a permit-required confined space, they must:
- Undergo training, which is specified in the training requirements section below.
- Obtain an RIT confined space entry permit 48 hours before entry. Permit forms can be obtained by calling EH&S Department at (585) 475-2040. Completed permits must be sent to EH&S Department for filing.
- Contact the EH&S Department to conduct a review prior to the confined space entry.
- Ensure that the required atmospheric tests are performed for permit-required confined spaces. Results need to be recorded on the permit prior to entry authorization.
- Obtain all equipment necessary to complete the confined space entry project.
- Authorize entry by signing the permit after all conditions for safe entries have been met.
- Contractors shall consult with RIT FMS or Housing Operations prior to entering any RIT confined spaces. EH&S will then be contacted to complete the Contractor Notification Form with the contractor prior to entry. Also, contractors shall provide their own company Attendants and conduct their own atmospheric testing prior to entry. They shall provide their own equipment necessary to ensure safety entry standards are maintained.
Permit-required confined spaces can be reclassified if all associated hazards can be eliminated from the space without entering it.
Under certain conditions, a space which is initially classified as a permit-required confined space may be re-classified to a non-permit space. Reclassification may be appropriate if all of the following conditions are met:
- The confined space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazard; and
- All hazards within the confined space can be eliminated (and not just controlled) without entry into the space.
If it is necessary to enter a permit space to eliminate hazards so that reclassification can take place, the entry must be conducted under full permit conditions.
For reclassification certificates use either the Mechanical/ Physical Hazard Reclassification Certificate OR the Atmospheric & Mechanical/Physical Reclassification Certificate, depending on the hazards that have been eliminated from the space. Certificate must be filled out, posted at the confined space location, and a completed copy must be submitted to the EH&S Department.
All RIT employees whose job responsibilities include entering confined spaces will be provided training in order to acquire the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of their duties.
Training shall be provided to each affected RIT employee:
- Before the employee is first assigned confined space entry duties;
- Before there is a change in assigned confined space entry duties;
- Whenever there is a change in permit space operations that presents a hazard about which an employee has not previously been trained; and
- Whenever the employer has reason to believe either that there are deviations from the permit space entry procedures, reclassification procedures, or that there are inadequacies in the employee's knowledge or use of these procedures.
Affected employees must take training prior to initial assignment of conducting confined space entries. This training is provided online through the link on the right side of this webpage or through the RIT EH&S Department.
NOTE: Contractors are to receive confined space training from their employer.
Contact the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department with any questions at (585) 475-2040.