Permit-required confined spaces (PRCS) are everywhere. They are found in virtually every industry, but are also as unique as the individuals who enter them. Generally speaking, confined spaces can range from anything between grain silos to sewers. However, being able to accurately define a PRCS goes far beyond its denotation; meaning you can’t truly understand what a confined space is without looking carefully at what’s potentially inside. Whether or not a confined space requires a permit relies on careful evaluation of what that space contains.
What is a PRCS?
A permit required confined space is just like another confined space, but meets additional criteria that result in a permit requirement. OSHA defines a PRCS as a confined space that meets one or more of the following characteristics. A PRCS contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere, contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant, has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section and/ or Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard. A hazardous atmosphere is one is can be especially dangerous. These atmospheres often contain hazardous gases that are undetectable by sight or smell and require the use of special equipment to measure.
Before entering PRCS’s, trained employees should conduct thorough testing to determine the conditions within the confined space. If a permit is deemed necessary, a specialized team consisting of an entrant, attendant, and entry supervisor must be formed before entrance or work within the confined space may be performed. Additionally, testing of the entire space must be conducted before allowing any employees to enter or perform work. Upon entry, all necessary personal protective equipment, such as respirators, must be appropriately calibrated, prepared, and donned.
Once trained and authorized employees have entered the PRCS with the aid of the entry team members, additional testing should be conducted regularly to verify conditions within the PRCS. Conditions within a confined space and change suddenly. Additionally, a rescue team must be assembled and on standby should any accidents take place that require a rescue.
There are many factors that come into play when dealing with PRCS. Check out our confined space training at hardhattraining.com for more information.