A confined space entry permit and plan is essentially a document that sets out the work to be done and the precautions to be taken. In some ways, it functions as a safety checklist to make sure that nothing is overlooked. In addition to an entry permit and plan, confined space training and other health and safety training from a recognized and accredited training institution, such as MI Safety, will ensure that when you enter a confined space, you know what you are doing.
Before entering a confined space, an entry permit and plan must be written. It should contain at least the following information:
- The permit and plan must contain name of the worker who did the confined space testing.
- The name on the permit would indicate that adequate precautions are being taken to control the anticipated hazards.
- The entry permit should be posted at the confined space and remain so until the work is completed.
- The employer should keep a copy of the completed permit on file for 1 year if there were no incidents and for 2 years if there was an incident.
The information required for a confined space entry permit and plan is as follows:
- The length of time the permit is valid for and the name or names of the workers that will enter the confined space.
- The name or names of the attendant, (also known as safety watch, safety monitor or hole watch).
- Where the confined space is located, a description of work that has to be done in the confined space and the date and time of entry and an expiry date.
- Atmospheric testing information. Ex. when, where, results, date monitoring equipment was calibrated.
- Ideally, calibration should be done just before each confined space entry. If this is not possible, follow the equipment manufacturer’s guidelines for frequency of calibration.
- Any other special precautions taken, such as specialized PPE and mechanical ventilation equipment, and rescue equipment needed, etc.
Each site you work on should provide a site specific orientation regarding practices and procedures; you are obligated to follow these site requirements. Confined Space Training and other health and safety training will act as an asset and ensure you remain safe the entire time you are on the work site. As you work, the completed permit must be kept available to all workers involved. Depending on the site, and the circumstances, the practice is to have the permit posted at each entry point into the confined space. If you have an entry permit that will cover a specific job, which may occur over more than one shift, the time for which the entry permit and plan is valid is based on the estimated time to finish the project’s work activities and must be written on the permit and plan.
An entry permit will be regarded as expired if any of the following situations occur:
- The confined space is returned to service
- There is not a competent supervisor for the confined space
- Or if there is an interrupted for a significant time because of an emergency that affects the space, such as an incident, or a breakdown of engineering control equipment.
If an entry permit has timed out or expired for any of these reasons, a new permit must be issued before entry into the confined space. If a hazard assessment is performed for a representative sample of identical confined spaces, then one entry permit can be used for the identical confined spaces.