OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 5 Confined Spaces

Section 47 Entry permit system

A confined space entry permit is essentially a document that sets out the work to be done and the precautions to be taken. In some ways it functions as a safety checklist to make sure that nothing is overlooked. Figure 5.2 shows an example of a typical confined space entry permit.

The entry permit must, at a minimum

(a) list the name of each worker who enters the confined space and the reason for their entry,

(b) provide the location of the confined space,

(c) specify the time period for which the entry permit is valid,

(d) take into account the work being done in the confined space, and therefore the safety precautions that must be taken, and

(e) take into account the code of practice requirements for entering, being in and leaving the confined space.

The completed permit must be kept readily available. In some situations and circumstances, better practice is to have the permit posted at each entry point into the confined space.

An entry permit will cover a specific task or project, which may occur over a number of shifts. The time for which the entry permit is valid is based on the estimated time to complete the project’s work activities and must be identified on the permit. An entry permit should be treated as expired sooner than the stated expiry time if one of the following occurs:

(a) the confined space is returned to service,
(b) continuity of responsible supervision for the confined space is broken, or
(c) the task or project is interrupted for a significant time because of an emergency that affects the confined space, e.g. an incident, rescue or a breakdown of engineering control equipment.

Once an entry permit has expired, a new permit must be issued before entry into the confined space is allowed.

If an employer performs a hazard assessment of a representative sample of identical confined spaces, then a single entry permit can be used for these and any additional identical confined spaces. Readers are referred to the explanation of section 45 for further information.

An entry permit is not required for restricted spaces.

Figure 5.2 Example of typical confined space entry permit