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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Permit-required confined spaces, PRCS, are simply confined spaces with an added hazard. But who issues the permit? Listen to hear about the hazards and permits.

In this podcast, Dan Clark describes the hazards that can complicate work in a confined space. They include toxins or low oxygen in the air, electrocution risk, unguarded machines and more, which elevate the work area to a permit-required confined space.

Also, Dan explains why OSHA does not issue the permits, and just who does.

Included in this podcast is advice for workers in confined spaces, and how companies should plan for confined space rescues and emergencies.


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Dan Clark: Permit required confined spaces. When do you need a permit for working in a confined space? And who issues a permit? The answers may surprise you.

Hello I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief where we tackle health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

OSHA doesn’t issue the permits for working in a confined space. I’ll tell you who does in a moment. But first…

WHAT IS A CONFINED SPACE? OSHA’s definition: a space that is…

1. Large enough for workers to enter and perform work.

2. Has limited and restricted entry and exit.

3. Isn’t meant for continuous occupancy.

Examples are tanks, storage bins, sewers, silos and open pits.

WHAT IS A PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE? That’s a confined space with a hazard.

Example 1: A potentially hazardous atmosphere, either because of a substance present in the air, or because of low oxygen levels. Remember, over time, carbon monoxide can build up or oxygen can be depleted.

Example 2: Material that can engulf a worker. Water, wet concrete, mud gravel.

Example 3: Walls or floors that converge inward, or slope in such a way that a worker could get trapped.

Example 4: Electrocution danger.

Example 5: Unguarded machinery. And there are more.


WHO ISSUES THE PERMIT FOR A PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE? The company must develop a program for managing confined spaces and issuing permits.There it is: permits are issued by the company.

• These self-regulating permits allow certain workers to perform work for a certain length of time.

• Permit-required confined spaces must be labeled.

• Workers must receive training about recognizing and working in these spaces.

The procedure for a company to set up and manage a confined space permit program is linked to OSHA in the transcript of this podcast.


• Follow all instructions from the employer, including the use of PPE.

• Understand the hazards present in the space.

• Stay in contact with an attendant who is outside the space.

• Monitor the atmosphere using oxygen meters and other pertinent equipment.

FEMA / U.S. Fire Protection Administration


• Rescuing people from confined spaces is dangerous. Too many would-be rescuers have become victims themselves.

• Other workers shouldn’t enter the space right away in an attempt to rescue someone.

• Special gear and planning may be necessary for some rescues.

• Either have a trained rescue team on-site, or talk with the local fire department to let them know of the hazards present.

That’s all for this episode on Permit-Required Confined Spaces. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code SAFETYBRIEF.


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