Operational Procedures for Confined Space Entry
To provide an outline of operations, procedures, responsibilities, and minimum safety requirements to be followed while entering, exiting, and working in
confined spaces at normal atmospheric pressure.
It will be the responsibility of each member of the Los Gatos DART Technical Rescue Team to exercise the appropriate command and control dictated by their
assignment during the implementation of this Operational Procedure.
NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) has three (3) classifications for confined spaces based on life threatening characteristics.
1. Class "A" - an environment that is immediately dangerous to life of health. (Entry by permit only shall have a posted sign.)
2. Class "B" - an environment that has the potential for causing injury and illness if preventative measure are not used, but is not immediately
dangerous to life and health.
3. Class "C" - an environment that has potential hazards, which would not require any special modifications of the work procedures.
(CFR & CCR-Title 8 "General Industry Safety Orders 5156)
A. Confined Space
1. One large enough and so configured that a person can bodily enter and perform work; and
2. One that has limited or restricted means of entry and exit; and
3. One that is not designated for continuous occupancy.
B. Permit required Confined Space
1. Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; or
2. Contains material that has the potential of engulfing and entrant; or
3. Contains an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes
downward and tapers to a smaller cross section; or
4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
C. Lock out/Tag out
1. The placement of a lock or tag on the energy isolation device in accordance with an established procedure, indicating that the device shall not be
operated until the removal of the lock or tag.
D. Hazardous Atmosphere
1. Any atmosphere which may cause immediate or delayed death, injury or disease and exposures are toxic, poisonous, corrosive, flammable, or has the
ability to be physically incapacitating or dangerous.
2. Hazardous atmospheres include; levels of flammability of 10% of the lower explosive limit (L.E.L.), oxygen deficient atmospheres with levels below
19.5%, or enriched atmospheres above 23.5%, or airborne combustible dust greater than it's L.E.L.
E. Qualified Person(s)
1. One who is capable of identifying hazards in the work area, or working conditions that are hazardous or dangerous to personnel, and is authorized to
take corrective measures to eliminate them; one who is trained and is familiar with accepted confined space standards and requirements. (DART Technical Rescue RS-1 Team member)
1. An individual stationed outside the confined space that is trained to monitor conditions. i.e., controls the entrance and or exit of authorized
entrants, monitors atmospheric conditions and documents same, communicates with authorized entrants, determines when evacuation of rescuers is necessary, etc. (DART Technical Rescue RS-1 Team member)
G. Authorized Entrant(s)
1. An individual trained to the level of an attendant with the addition of understanding the hazards faced, proper use of personal protective equipment,
use of patient/victim extrication equipment and procedures, communication systems, etc. (DART Technical Rescue RS-1 Team member)
H. Entry Supervisor
1. An individual trained to the level of an authorized entrant. Entry Supervisors may often be the ranking Technical Rescue Team member trained in
confined space on scene. He/she may have additional training on signs and symptoms indicative of exposure to potential hazards. The entry Supervisor is in charge of authorizing entry into the confined space, and
prepares and signs the entry permit ensuring that operations are consistent with applicable standards. (DART Technical Rescue RS-1 Team member)
V. Confined Space Descriptions:
A. Open Topped Enclosures
1. Spaces with depths that restrict the natural movement of air. (pits, selected types of tanks, excavations)
B. Enclosures with Limited Openings
1. Spaces with extremely limited openings for entry or exit. (sewers, casings, tanks, manholes, vaults, tunnels, and silos)
A. A major cause of confined space injuries and or fatalities is the failure to recognize the incident for what it is...A Confined Space Incident.
B. Do not underestimate the seriousness of confined space incidents. More than half of the casualties in confined space rescues are to the rescuers themselves.
VII. Hazard Identification:
Hazards shall be identified for each confined space. The hazard identification process shall include, but not be limited to, a review of the following:
1. The past and current uses of the confined space which may adversely effect the atmosphere of the confined space.
2. The physical characteristics, configuration, and location of the confined space.
3. Biological hazards.
4. Mechanical or physical hazards.
5. Existing or potential hazards in the confined space such as:
Flammable and toxic environments. (FATE)
a. Four distinct categories of hazardous atmospheres.
b. Common gases found in below grade or confined space operations
1. Carbon dioxide
2. Carbon monoxide
3. Hydrogen sulfide
5. Sulfur dioxide
Note #1 - A group of gases may stratify within a confined space. This is one reason why a person may survive exposure to a gas on one level, while another dies from exposure to the same or a different gas at another level.
Note #2 - Physical & mechanical hazards may also be encountered. Areas of concern are utility installations, certain types of machinery, areas offering extremely limited working areas, etc.
A. Any space that is "confirmed" to be a confined space emergency will immediately receive a "Confined Space Response" that will include:
1. County Fire Department; first due Engine and Rescue Company
2. Advanced Life Support Ambulance Unit (AMR and Supervisor)
3. County Fire Department Battalion Chief
4. County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team
5. Los Gatos Police Department
6. Certified DART Technical Rescue Team members in support of County Fire Rescue Operations.
A. Size up
1. Recognize the emergency as a confined space rescue incident.
2. Activate the Incident Command System to the degree necessary to control the emergency. Accumulate information required to conclude the operation
safely. Plan operations and alternatives carefully, considering the hazards that may be faced specific to the confirmed spaces' use. Develop a written Plan of Action.
3. Assign and or have the Safety Officer activated to work in conjunction with the Entry Supervisor and Authorized Entrant(s) to insure members' safety.
Note: In situations where personnel on scene are minimal, it is appropriate for the Safety Officer to serve a dual role as attendant/Safety Officer or Entry Supervisor/Safety Officer.
4. Consult with Plant Engineers and Building/Property Owners (Qualified persons) as to the characteristics of the involved confined space.
B. Stabilize the Immediate Area
1. Set up an operations perimeter.
2. Confirm "lockout/tagout" condition of the affected confined space.
C. Eliminate Ignition Sources
1. Park rescue vehicle outside the Operations Area.
2. It may be necessary to shut down Plant Operations in the immediate area.
Conventional flood lights and hand-held lights may not be intrinsically safe or explosion safe. Check with the manufacturer. Los Gatos DART portable radio's
are not intrinsically safe or explosion proof. Keying the mike may provide an ignition source in an explosive atmosphere.
D. Providing Lighting
1. Keep floodlights outside the immediate area.
2. Use only intrinsically safe or explosion proof hand lights in the operational area.
X. Standard Operating Procedures
A. Develop a Contingency Plan - The operation should follow a clear and concise course of action with a back up plan in place. The plan, including; hazard
recognition, communication plan, PPE as needed, and self-rescue techniques shall be covered with entrant(s), back up personnel, and attendants.
B. Entry and Exit - Each entry and exit point shall be evaluated to determine the most effective method for entry and egress travel distance. The entry and or
exit point selected shall have an attendant posted who shall note the time each entrant enters and exits.
C. Equipment - Determine what types of equipment are required to enter, retrieve the individual and exit the confined space in the safest manner possible
i.e., harness, tripod or ladder A-frame, rescue and emergency equipment. Each rescuer shall use a one hour (60 minute) Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) or Supplied Air Respirator (SAR) with a 10 minute
escape cylinder and be equipped with a radio for communicating while entering the confined space for rescue operations.
D. Hazard Evaluation - It shall be the responsibility of all "qualified persons" at the incident to identify potential hazards. Any potential
hazards identified shall be reported to the Safety Officer or Entry Supervisor as soon as possible. The Safety Officer or Entry Supervisor shall evaluate all identified hazards.
E. Isolation and Tag out/Lock out - All energy sources which are potentially hazardous to the confined space entrant shall be secured, relieved, disconnected,
and or restrained before personnel are permitted to enter the confined space. Lock out/Tag out of equipment systems and processes shall be confirmed and secured prior to permitting entry into the confined space.
F. Protective Clothing
1. Approved DART Class-B coveralls including helmet (Advent-2), gloves, boots, kneepads, etc. should be worn throughout the incident if conditions dictate.
2. On occasion full protective clothing and or equipment may not be practical due to extremely limited working areas, warm temperatures, etc. In these
situations Entrants and back up personnel shall wear clothing appropriate for the conditions. The Entry Supervisor and Safety Officer in conjunction with the Incident Commander will make the decision
regarding appropriate protective clothing and equipment.
3. On other occasions Tyvek coveralls, or chemically resistant coveralls (Poly- coated Tyvek) may be appropriate for an operation. The decision to use
this type of Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) will be made by the Entry Supervisor and Safety Officer in conjunction with the Incident Commander
4. Retrieval systems or methods shall be used whenever an authorized entrant enters a permit space, unless the retrieval equipment would increase the
overall risk of entry or would not contribute to the rescue of the entrant.
5. Each authorized entrant shall use a chest or full body harness, with a retrieval line attached at the center of the entrant's back near shoulder level,
or above the entrant's head.
6. The other end of the retrieval line shall be attached to a mechanical device or a fixed point outside the permit space in such a manner that rescue can
begin as soon as the rescuer becomes aware that rescue is necessary. A mechanical device shall be available to retrieve personnel from vertical type permit spaces more than 5 feet deep.
G. Respiratory Protection
1. Sixty (60) minute SCBA or SAR shall be worn by all personnel who enter the confined space... Under no circumstances shall any member remove their
facemask within the confined space.
Note: Removing the facemask to provide air to the victim or to shout a message to the outside frequently results in the death of the rescuer!
2. A confined space Supplied Air Respirator extension system (SAR) is carried on the County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Unit. These units may be
available if Los Gatos DART is working a multi-agency confined space rescue incident with the County Fire Department. A SAR system should be used if a conventional SCBA
is not practical.
3. Safety lines and full body harnesses (Class-III) should be attached to anyone (Authorized Entrant) entering the confined space.
4. A Standby team will be fully suited and ready to go in at all times. One Standby member for each member in the confined space is required.
5. Rescue Team members should not travel more than 300 feet in a confined space while using extension hoses with external air supplies. If possible an
alternate entry/exit should be explored.
6. High-pressure (60 min.) SCBA's should be used when the confined space permits adequate clearances. External air supply extensions can be used with
these types of SCBA's by use of "pigtails".
7. Administering oxygen from resuscitators is not recommended in the confined space due to the possibility of creating an oxygen-enriched atmosphere. If a
decision to administer oxygen is made then atmospheric conditions should be monitored closely.
Note: Due to possible interruption or failure of the external air supply, authorized entrants should not exceed the travel distance that would preclude the ability of the attached 10 minute escape bottle to provide adequate reserve air to exit the confined space.
H. Monitoring the Atmosphere
1. Before an Authorized Entrant enters a confined space, and before ventilation takes place, the internal atmosphere shall be tested by the Attendant with
a calibrated direct reading instrument. At the present time, Los Gatos DART does not possess any atmospheric monitoring equipment. Any and all monitoring will have to be performed by County Fire Department
personnel. Testing shall be for the following conditions, in the order given:
A. Oxygen content
B. Flammable gases and vapors
C. Potential toxic air contaminants
2. Testing shall be done at all levels (every 4 feet) of the confined space, and shall continue periodically throughout the rescue operations with
sufficient frequency. The results will be documented with sampling times indicated. If the space cannot be isolated, the space must be continuously monitored. When the
monitoring is being done continuously, log the results on the permit every 2 hours.
1. The confined space should be ventilated before the Authorized Entrant enters the space. Positive ventilation will be maintained during the operation if
possible. Caution should be used when ventilating a confined space so as not to place the atmosphere within the lower and higher explosive limits.
2. When using mechanical ventilation, keep the fan(s) and ventilator(s) away from vehicle exhaust.
3. If the work inside the space can affect the quality of the air within the space, ventilation must be continuous throughout the entry operations.
1. Voice or eye contact is preferred, although in many cases this is not practical. (Consider relay people if the distance is excessive.)
2. Each rescuer entering a confined space shall be equipped with a portable radio. Portable radio's can only be used if it is known that they are
3. Rope signals
a. Outside to Entry Team
One pull - indicates okay
Two pulls - advance
Three pulls - take up slack
Four pulls - help
b. Entry Team to outside
One pull - indicates okay
Two pulls - advance
Three pulls - take up slack
Four pulls - help
Note: Four pulls indicates an emergency situation. At least one back up member should be dispatched to ascertain the situation.
K. Entry Permit
1. The entry permit shall contain the following information:
a. The specific space to be entered.
b. The purpose of the entry.
c. The date of the entry.
d. The duration of the entry.
e. Name of the authorized entrants.
f. Name of the Attendant.
g. Name of Entry Supervisor.
h. Any known or expected hazards within the confined space.
i. The measures to isolate the permitted space.
j. The measures to be used to remove or control potential hazards such as lockout/tagout, purging, inerting, or ventilating.
k. The minimum environmental conditions which are acceptable for entry and working in the confined space.
l. The results of the testing and monitoring (include the initials of the tester and the time the tests were performed).
m. The rescue and emergency services that are available on site.
n. Communication procedures to be used to maintain contact between the entrants and attendant.
o. List of equipment necessary for entry such as the PPE equipment to be used.
p. Any other permits necessary for entry and work to be performed.
L. Victim Removal
1. If a victim is injured, the Authorized Entrant must weigh taking the time to stabilize the injuries against permitting the victim to be further
jeopardized by the conditions within the confined space.
2. Preferred devices for extrication are the Oregon Spine Splint or the SKED litter. (Los Gatos DART has a SKED litter in the Technical Rescue rig).