• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
  • Subpart:
    1926 Subpart AA
  • Subpart Title:
    Confined Spaces in Construction
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Permit-required confined space program.
  • GPO Source:

Each entry employer must:


Implement the measures necessary to prevent unauthorized entry;


Identify and evaluate the hazards of permit spaces before employees enter them;


Develop and implement the means, procedures, and practices necessary for safe permit space entry operations, including, but not limited to, the following:


Specifying acceptable entry conditions;


Providing each authorized entrant or that employee's authorized representative with the opportunity to observe any monitoring or testing of permit spaces;


Isolating the permit space and physical hazard(s) within the space;


Purging, inerting, flushing, or ventilating the permit space as necessary to eliminate or control atmospheric hazards;

Note to paragraph (c)(4). When an employer is unable to reduce the atmosphere below 10 percent LFL, the employer may only enter if the employer inerts the space so as to render the entire atmosphere in the space non-combustible, and the employees use PPE to address any other atmospheric hazards (such as oxygen deficiency), and the employer eliminates or isolates all physical hazards in the space.


Determining that, in the event the ventilation system stops working, the monitoring procedures will detect an increase in atmospheric hazard levels in sufficient time for the entrants to safely exit the permit space;


Providing pedestrian, vehicle, or other barriers as necessary to protect entrants from external hazards;


Verifying that conditions in the permit space are acceptable for entry throughout the duration of an authorized entry, and ensuring that employees are not allowed to enter into, or remain in, a permit space with a hazardous atmosphere unless the employer can demonstrate that personal protective equipment (PPE) will provide effective protection for each employee in the permit space and provides the appropriate PPE to each employee; and


Eliminating any conditions (for example, high pressure) that could make it unsafe to remove an entrance cover.


Provide the following equipment (specified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (9) of this section) at no cost to each employee, maintain that equipment properly, and ensure that each employee uses that equipment properly:


Testing and monitoring equipment needed to comply with paragraph (e) of this section;


Ventilating equipment needed to obtain acceptable entry conditions;


Communications equipment necessary for compliance with §§ 1926.1208(c) and 1926.1209(e), including any necessary electronic communication equipment for attendants assessing entrants' status in multiple spaces;


Personal protective equipment insofar as feasible engineering and work-practice controls do not adequately protect employees;

Note to paragraph (d)(4). The requirements of subpart E of this part and other PPE requirements continue to apply to the use of PPE in a permit space. For example, if employees use respirators, then the respirator requirements in § 1926.103 (Respiratory protection) must be met.


Lighting equipment that meets the minimum illumination requirements in § 1926.56, that is approved for the ignitable or combustible properties of the specific gas, vapor, dust, or fiber that will be present, and that is sufficient to enable employees to see well enough to work safely and to exit the space quickly in an emergency;


Barriers and shields as required by paragraph (c)(4) of this section;


Equipment, such as ladders, needed for safe ingress and egress by authorized entrants;


Rescue and emergency equipment needed to comply with paragraph (i) of this section, except to the extent that the equipment is provided by rescue services; and


Any other equipment necessary for safe entry into, safe exit from, and rescue from, permit spaces.


Evaluate permit space conditions in accordance with the following paragraphs (e)(1) through (6) of this section when entry operations are conducted:


Test conditions in the permit space to determine if acceptable entry conditions exist before changes to the space's natural ventilation are made, and before entry is authorized to begin, except that, if an employer demonstrates that isolation of the space is infeasible because the space is large or is part of a continuous system (such as a sewer), the employer must:


Perform pre-entry testing to the extent feasible before entry is authorized; and,


If entry is authorized, continuously monitor entry conditions in the areas where authorized entrants are working, except that employers may use periodic monitoring in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of this section for monitoring an atmospheric hazard if they can demonstrate that equipment for continuously monitoring that hazard is not commercially available;


Provide an early-warning system that continuously monitors for non-isolated engulfment hazards. The system must alert authorized entrants and attendants in sufficient time for the authorized entrants to safely exit the space.


Continuously monitor atmospheric hazards unless the employer can demonstrate that the equipment for continuously monitoring a hazard is not commercially available or that periodic monitoring is of sufficient frequency to ensure that the atmospheric hazard is being controlled at safe levels. If continuous monitoring is not used, periodic monitoring is required with sufficient frequency to ensure that acceptable entry conditions are being maintained during the course of entry operations;


When testing for atmospheric hazards, test first for oxygen, then for combustible gases and vapors, and then for toxic gases and vapors;


Provide each authorized entrant or that employee's authorized representative an opportunity to observe the pre-entry and any subsequent testing or monitoring of permit spaces;


Reevaluate the permit space in the presence of any authorized entrant or that employee's authorized representative who requests that the employer conduct such reevaluation because there is some indication that the evaluation of that space may not have been adequate; and


Immediately provide each authorized entrant or that employee's authorized representative with the results of any testing conducted in accordance with this section.


Provide at least one attendant outside the permit space into which entry is authorized for the duration of entry operations:


Attendants may be assigned to more than one permit space provided the duties described in § 1926.1209 can be effectively performed for each permit space.


Attendants may be stationed at any location outside the permit space as long as the duties described in § 1926.1209 can be effectively performed for each permit space to which the attendant is assigned.


If multiple spaces are to be assigned to a single attendant, include in the permit program the means and procedures to enable the attendant to respond to an emergency affecting one or more of those permit spaces without distraction from the attendant's responsibilities under § 1926.1209;


Designate each person who is to have an active role (as, for example, authorized entrants, attendants, entry supervisors, or persons who test or monitor the atmosphere in a permit space) in entry operations, identify the duties of each such employee, and provide each such employee with the training required by § 1926.1207;


Develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services (including procedures for summoning emergency assistance in the event of a failed non-entry rescue), for rescuing entrants from permit spaces, for providing necessary emergency services to rescued employees, and for preventing unauthorized personnel from attempting a rescue;


Develop and implement a system for the preparation, issuance, use, and cancellation of entry permits as required by this standard, including the safe termination of entry operations under both planned and emergency conditions;


Develop and implement procedures to coordinate entry operations, in consultation with the controlling contractor, when employees of more than one employer are working simultaneously in a permit space or elsewhere on the worksite where their activities could, either alone or in conjunction with the activities within a permit space, foreseeably result in a hazard within the confined space, so that employees of one employer do not endanger the employees of any other employer;


Develop and implement procedures (such as closing off a permit space and canceling the permit) necessary for concluding the entry after entry operations have been completed;


Review entry operations when the measures taken under the permit space program may not protect employees and revise the program to correct deficiencies found to exist before subsequent entries are authorized; and

Note to paragraph (m). Examples of circumstances requiring the review of the permit space program include, but are not limited to: Any unauthorized entry of a permit space, the detection of a permit space hazard not covered by the permit, the detection of a condition prohibited by the permit, the occurrence of an injury or near-miss during entry, a change in the use or configuration of a permit space, and employee complaints about the effectiveness of the program.


Review the permit space program, using the canceled permits retained under § 1926.1205(f), within 1 year after each entry and revise the program as necessary to ensure that employees participating in entry operations are protected from permit space hazards.

Note to paragraph (n). Employers may perform a single annual review covering all entries performed during a 12-month period. If no entry is performed during a 12-month period, no review is necessary.

[80 FR 25523-25524, May 4, 2015]