Facilities

CONFINED (and LIMITED) SPACES

Introduction

Generally, there are two types of spaces in schools that employees may encounter; confined spaces and limited spaces.  Entering and working in confined spaces (small spaces immediately dangerous to life) is an infrequent, but sometimes necessary, part of work done in Maine schools. Confined spaces in schools might be pellet silos, underground tanks and septic tanks with covers/manways, and deep sump pits.  Limited spaces (small spaces where an employee might get stuck) are much more common and may include pipe trenches, attics, and crawl spaces.  This document has been developed to assist schools with identifying and protecting against confined space hazards in the workplace.  It may be advisable for schools to hire out work in confined spaces as the risks may outweigh the benefits.  Work in limited spaces could be be done by school employees provided certain simple safety procedures are followed.  

Confined Space Training has been organized into three sections:

1)  Identifying Confined and Limited Spaces in Your School
        Supervisors or their designated representatives must determine if any personnel under their supervision are required to enter or conduct work in confined or limited spaces as defined in this section.  
2)  Working in Limited Spaces
        Supervisors or their designated representatives should develop and implement simple emergency rescue procedures for employees required to access small places like crawl spaces, pipe trenches, and attics.  Generally, voice communication should be sufficient for access to limited spaces to protect employees.
3)  Working in Confined Spaces
        Most schools in Maine do not have confined spaces that are immediately dangerous to life.  However several areas in schools may be classified as confined spaces which then require specialized training and procedures to enter.  Pellet and woodchip silos, and accessible underground storage tanks, pits for pumps, and septic tanks are generally classified as confined spaces if a human can get into them somehow.  As work in these areas is infrequent and may be hazardous, schools may well want to hire out work in these areas to professionals trained and equipped to handle the work.
            A) Identifying Confined Space Hazards
                    This section gives information on the types of hazards that may be present in a confined space. It should be reviewed whenever the hazards of a confined space are being evaluated.
            B) Confined Space Entry Program
                If it is determined that school personnel are required to perform duties in confined spaces, the program outlined in "The Permit System" should be implemented.
            C) Responsibilities and Training Requirements
                This section lists the responsibilities and training requirements of each individual involved in a confined space entry.
            Confined Space Quiz

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