Confined Spaces – Roles and Responsibilities

 

There are always hazards to be aware of on a job site. Some of these dangers can be amplified when working within areas classified as confined spaces. It is extremely important that workers understand confined spaces, and their roles and responsibilities within them, in order to keep themselves safe.

Authorized Entrants

Authorized entrants of a confined space are workers who are authorized to physically enter the area. Some responsibilities for authorized entrants in a confined space include:

  • Understand the space and its hazards

  • Know signs or symptoms of exposure to a hazard

  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly

  • Maintain communication with attendants and let them know if a hazardous condition exists

  • Know to exit immediately if ordered by attendants or supervisors, signs of hazard exposure are observed, a prohibited condition exists, or an alarm is activated

 

Attendants

Attendants are workers whose role in confined space safety is to remain outside the area and monitor it on behalf of the authorized entrants. Attendants are responsible for:

  • Remaining outside the space and avoiding distractions while entrants are inside

  • Preventing unauthorized entry

  • Performing non-entry rescues if specified by company procedures

  • Understanding existing and potential hazards

  • Knowing signs or symptoms of exposure to a hazard

  • Maintaining communication with entrants

  • Assessing conditions and ordering evacuation if necessary, such as if a prohibited condition exists, an entrant shows signs of hazard exposure, the attendant can no longer perform their duties or a situation that would endanger workers occurs outside the space

  • Calling for rescue in the event of an emergency

 

Entry Supervisors

Entry supervisors are responsible for overseeing the entrance process to confined spaces. Supervisors may also serve as the space’s attendant or authorized entrant themselves. As such, supervisors must understand both roles and have additional responsibilities. In order to ensure the safety of workers, entry supervisors must:

  • Understand the space and its hazards

  • Verify that conditions within a confined space are safe, including making sure that tests like air monitoring are performed, and that acceptable entry conditions are maintained

  • Check that permits are properly completed

  • Stop entry, and cancel or suspend permits when necessary

  • Be certain that rescue services are available and that there are reliable means to contact them

  • Ensure that entry to the space is consistent with its permit and that appropriate measures are taken to remove unauthorized entrants

 

Training

It is of the utmost importance that workers performing any role pertaining to confined spaces are trained properly and understand their responsibilities.

 

If you have any questions about confined spaces or these roles, speak with your supervisor or another qualified person.

 

 

Provided by: Hausmann-Johnson Insurance