What Confined Space Documentation Do You Need?
Confined Space Entry Permit
Confined Space management is generally via a paper Confined Space Entry Permit. These Confined Space Entry Permits must be completed by a competent person. They provide a formal check, in writing, to ensure all elements of a safe system of work are in place before people enter the confined space, and confirmation that those people have left the space when work has been completed.
Because of the significant risks associated with confined spaces, workers must not enter a confined space without a confined space entry permit, even to conduct the initial hazard identification or risk assessment.
Confined Space Procedures
It is imperative that procedures exist in written form and that you must follow the correct procedures. Things to be aware of include:
- Personnel MUST sign in and out of confined space EVERY TIME they enter or exit.
- No person can enter a confined space until the confined space permit is open by an authorised person.
- Monitors MUST be cleared and “peaked” prior to entry.
- A confined space must be gas tested and readings placed on permit.
- All personnel involved in the task, including those not entering the confined space must still sign onto the Confined Space Permit (in the relevant section) to show they have read and understood the attached Risk Assessment.
- Sentry must contact the permit officer in charge to register the confined space permit. No one can enter until the permit officer has been contacted and permit has been registered. The sentry must contact permit officer when job has been completed. The permit officer should be contactable at all times.
- A rescue place must be with a JSEA (Job Safety and Environment Analysis), JHA (Job Hazard Analysis), SWI (Safe Work Instruction) or other form of documented Risk Assessment. If there is paperwork missing the task cannot go ahead until all relevant paperwork is in place. You must contact your supervisor to obtain correct paperwork.
- If monitor goes into alarm sentry must evacuate personnel immediately from confined space.
- Under no circumstances is a Confined Space Sentry allowed to enter the confined space, even in the case of emergency, your job is to raise the alarm and initiate emergency rescue plan.
This is a very important Confined Space Critical Control and should be treated seriously with ALL measurements documented and saved . Some key points include:
- A person’s senses should never be used to determine if the air in a confined space is safe. Many toxic or flammable gases and unsafe oxygen levels cannot be detected using one’s senses.
- Initial testing should be done from outside the confined space by inserting a sample probe and/or portable gas detection device at appropriately selected access holes, nozzles and openings. Because contaminants can settle at different levels, each part of the confined space should be tested –side to side and top to bottom.
- Some gases (such as hydrogen sulphide) are heavier than air and in unventilated areas will settle to the bottom of the space, while other gases (such as methane) are lighter than air and will collect at the top of the space. Testing should be carried out on a sufficient number of points to accurately reflect areas of the space that are likely to be accessed.
- Lighter gases may be vented into the breathing zone of the person conducting the tests.
- Some gases may be dissolved in liquids and released when the liquid is disturbed or a crust over the liquid is broken and it may therefore be necessary to agitate liquids before monitoring.
- Re-testing and continuous monitoring of the air may be necessary if the risk assessment indicates that conditions may change due to the work being done or the disturbance of hazardous material in the confined space.
Due to the risks of exposure to serious and immediate danger if something was to go wrong in a confined space, it is essential to have effective arrangements for raising the alarm and carrying out rescue operations in an emergency well documented and understood. These procedures will vary from company to company and possibly from site to site.
It is important to be very familiar with these procedures in the event of an emergency situation.
For any further information or questions, please refer to the WHS Regulations or contact Hazwatch Safety Services via our Contact Us page or call us on 0400 668 716 for Confined Space Sentry Services.