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Confined Space Supervisor Roles & Responsibilities

Confined Space Supervisor looking into a confined space

Confined Space Supervisor

Confined space supervisors undergo training in confined space entry to ensure high levels of safety for employees accessing or working in the space.

CARSON, CA, UNITED STATES, June 19, 2021 / -- Working in confined spaces can be dangerous. Some common confined space examples may include manholes, tunnels, sewers, trenches, pits, excavations, and lifts. Workers face a range of dangers in such spaces, including hazardous atmospheres, fires, explosions, and engulfment.

Therefore, it is imperative that employees exercise a high degree of caution and take all precautionary measures to minimize risks. While employees receive training, the entry operation is still performed under the supervision of a trained and qualified confined space supervisor to ensure safety.

Confined space supervisors undergo additional training to specialize in confined space entry and awareness to ensure a high level of safety for employees accessing or working in the confined space. Read on to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a confined space supervisor.

Confined Space Supervisor Role & Responsibilities

Confined space supervisors recognize, plan, and control for hazards related to confined spaces. They are adept at understanding all the hazards, including the signs, symptoms, mode, and effects. Here are some of the defining job responsibilities of a confined space entry supervisor.

Develop and approve the entry permit
Verify that the conditions in the confined space are acceptable for entry
Terminate entry process for safety purposes whenever required
Create and communicate plans between the attendants and the employee entering the confined space
Develop plans and services for confined space rescue
Oversee the entry operation and periodically verify conditions

Permit System

Confined space supervisors create a written permit that includes identifying the space, purpose, and duration of entry and the names of entrants, attendants, and supervisors. The permit must also include the potential hazards of the space and possible control measures.

The supervisor must also specify acceptable safety conditions, communication procedures, rescue services, and all equipment at hand for the entry or rescue operation. They can also include any other necessary information, such as additional permits.

Atmospheric Testing

Atmospheric testing is another important part of the entry permit. A trained and qualified individual performs atmospheric testing in the confined space to ensure that the space is safe for entry. Different tests are performed to check for the presence of the following elements.

Flammable Gas: The space is tested for flammable gas or vapors. Different flammable gases and vapors have different Lower Flammable Limit, which is the lowest concentration that can ignite. Atmospheric testing ensures the LFL level is lower than 10%.

Oxygen Content: Lack of oxygen (less than 19.5% concentration) or high oxygen concentration (greater than 23.5%) can put the workers at risk. Oxygen content is tested as part of the development and authorization of the permit.

Toxic Air Contaminants: The space is also tested for gases and vapors that may be potentially toxic.

Atmospheric testing is generally performed by a qualified employee – not the confined space supervisor. However, the supervisor verifies the tests are conducted and documented properly. Moreover, despite prior testing, the supervisor ensures the air quality is monitored while workers are in the space.

The Bottom Line

Once the permit is ready and authorized by the concerned authority and the confined space supervisor, the supervisor makes the permit available for all employees. The supervisor can terminate the permit at any time if a hazardous environment arises at any point. If an additional entry is required, the supervisor must create a new permit.

The process may seem complex, lengthy, and repetitive. However, it is necessary to ensure safety and avoid any unfortunate incidents. The responsibility of ensuring safety for all entrants falls to the confined space supervisors. However, employers can further mitigate risks by ensuring all employees receive proper training and follow the best safety practices.

Lance B
DCS Rescue
+1 5625953002
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