Every year workers die in confined spaces. These deaths typically occur for two reasons:
The Cal/OSHA regulations covering confined space entry for construction, agriculture, and a few other industries can be found in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 5158, Other Confined Space Operations. In addition to covering construction and agriculture, Section 5158 also covers marine terminal operations, telecommunication manholes, grain handling facilities, natural gas utility operation within distribution and transmission facility vaults, and electric utility operations within underground vaults. Section 5158 differs significantly from Section 5157, which covers confined space operations for general industry. Section 5156 outlines exactly which industries are covered by Section 5158. Note that shipyard operations are not covered by either 5157 or 5158; they are regulated by Section 8355. Below is a summary of Section 5158.
A confined space, as defined by Section 5158, is a space with the concurrent existence of the following conditions:
Dangerous air contamination includes any of the following:
Hazardous oxygen levels include either of the following:
Written operating and rescue procedures that conform to the requirements of the standard must be developed and provided to affected employees. These procedures must include coordinating activities with the operations of other employers both inside and outside the space.
Employees must be trained in the operating and rescue procedures, along with the hazards they may encounter.
Pre-entry procedures must be followed. These procedures must address, as applicable, the following:
Safe entry procedures must be followed if an atmosphere free of dangerous air contaminants, oxygen deficiency, or oxygen enrichment cannot be ensured. These procedures must include, as appropriate:
If contractors are hired to enter a space, the host employer must inform the contractor of the hazards of the space and that a confined space program is required for entry into the space. The contractor must be debriefed at the conclusion of entry operations. Joint entries must be coordinated. Entries must also be coordinated with work near the space.
Physical hazards, such as moving parts in mechanical systems, release of stored energy in hydraulic or pneumatic lines, electrical energy, and engulfment by loose materials are not addressed in Section 5158. However, these hazards must also be controlled, and requirements for addressing these other safety issues can be found in other sections of the Cal/OSHA regulations. These sections include, but are not limited to, Section 3314 for lockout/tagout, Section 5178 for grain handling facilities, Sections 2320.1-2320.9 for low-voltage work procedures, Sections 2940-2945 for high-voltage work procedures, and Section 8616 for underground telecommunications lines.
For the complete Cal/OSHA requirements, visit the Department of Industrial Relations Web site.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.