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Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
• Part Number: 1926
• Part Title: Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
• Subpart: V
• Subpart Title: Electric Power Transmission and Distribution
• Standard Number: 1926.953
• Title: Enclosed spaces.
• GPO Source: e-CFR


General. This section covers enclosed spaces that may be entered by employees. It does not apply to vented vaults if the employer makes a determination that the ventilation system is operating to protect employees before they enter the space. This section applies to routine entry into enclosed spaces. If, after the employer takes the precautions given in this section and in § 1926.965, the hazards remaining in the enclosed space endanger the life of an entrant or could interfere with an entrant's escape from the space, then entry into the enclosed space shall meet the permit-space entry requirements of paragraphs (d) through (k) of § 1910.146 of this chapter.


Safe work practices. The employer shall ensure the use of safe work practices for entry into, and work in, enclosed spaces and for rescue of employees from such spaces.


Training. Each employee who enters an enclosed space or who serves as an attendant shall be trained in the hazards of enclosed-space entry, in enclosed-space entry procedures, and in enclosed-space rescue procedures.


Rescue equipment. Employers shall provide equipment to ensure the prompt and safe rescue of employees from the enclosed space.


Evaluating potential hazards. Before any entrance cover to an enclosed space is removed, the employer shall determine whether it is safe to do so by checking for the presence of any atmospheric pressure or temperature differences and by evaluating whether there might be a hazardous atmosphere in the space. Any conditions making it unsafe to remove the cover shall be eliminated before the cover is removed.

Note to paragraph (e): The determination called for in this paragraph may consist of a check of the conditions that might foreseeably be in the enclosed space. For example, the cover could be checked to see if it is hot and, if it is fastened in place, could be loosened gradually to release any residual pressure. An evaluation also needs to be made of whether conditions at the site could cause a hazardous atmosphere, such as an oxygen-deficient or flammable atmosphere, to develop within the space.


Removing covers. When covers are removed from enclosed spaces, the opening shall be promptly guarded by a railing, temporary cover, or other barrier designed to prevent an accidental fall through the opening and to protect employees working in the space from objects entering the space.


Hazardous atmosphere. Employees may not enter any enclosed space while it contains a hazardous atmosphere, unless the entry conforms to the permitrequired confined spaces standard in § 1910.146 of this chapter.


Attendants. While work is being performed in the enclosed space, an attendant with first-aid training shall be immediately available outside the enclosed space to provide assistance if a hazard exists because of traffic patterns in the area of the opening used for entry. The attendant is not precluded from performing other duties outside the enclosed space if these duties do not distract the attendant from: Monitoring employees within the space or ensuring that it is safe for employees to enter and exit the space.

Note to paragraph (h): See § 1926.965 for additional requirements on attendants for work in manholes and vaults.


Calibration of test instruments. Test instruments used to monitor atmospheres in enclosed spaces shall be kept in calibration and shall have a minimum accuracy of ±10 percent.


Testing for oxygen deficiency. Before an employee enters an enclosed space, the atmosphere in the enclosed space shall be tested for oxygen deficiency with a direct-reading meter or similar instrument, capable of collection and immediate analysis of data samples without the need for offsite evaluation. If continuous forced-air ventilation is provided, testing is not required provided that the procedures used ensure that employees are not exposed to the hazards posed by oxygen deficiency.


Testing for flammable gases and vapors. Before an employee enters an enclosed space, the internal atmosphere shall be tested for flammable gases and vapors with a direct-reading meter or similar instrument capable of collection and immediate analysis of data samples without the need for off-site evaluation. This test shall be performed after the oxygen testing and ventilation required by paragraph (j) of this section demonstrate that there is sufficient oxygen to ensure the accuracy of the test for flammability.


Ventilation, and monitoring for flammable gases or vapors. If flammable gases or vapors are detected or if an oxygen deficiency is found, forced-air ventilation shall be used to maintain oxygen at a safe level and to prevent a hazardous concentration of flammable gases and vapors from accumulating. A continuous monitoring program to ensure that no increase in flammable gas or vapor concentration above safe levels occurs may be followed in lieu of ventilation if flammable gases or vapors are initially detected at safe levels.

Note to paragraph (l): See the definition of "hazardous atmosphere" for guidance in determining whether a specific concentration of a substance is hazardous.


Specific ventilation requirements. If continuous forced-air ventilation is used, it shall begin before entry is made and shall be maintained long enough for the employer to be able to demonstrate that a safe atmosphere exists before employees are allowed to enter the work area. The forced-air ventilation shall be so directed as to ventilate the immediate area where employees are present within the enclosed space and shall continue until all employees leave the enclosed space.


Air supply. The air supply for the continuous forced-air ventilation shall be from a clean source and may not increase the hazards in the enclosed space.


Open flames. If open flames are used in enclosed spaces, a test for flammable gases and vapors shall be made immediately before the open flame device is used and at least once per hour while the device is used in the space. Testing shall be conducted more frequently if conditions present in the enclosed space indicate that once per hour is insufficient to detect hazardous accumulations of flammable gases or vapors.

Note to paragraph (o): See the definition of "hazardous atmosphere" for guidance in determining whether a specific concentration of a substance is hazardous.

Note to § 1926.953: Entries into enclosed spaces conducted in accordance with the permit-space entry requirements of paragraphs (d) through (k) of § 1910.146 of this chapter are considered as complying with this section.
[75 FR 48135, Aug. 9, 2010; 78 FR 32116, May 29, 2013; 79 FR 20698-20699, July 10, 2014]

Next Standard (1926.954)

Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents

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