Confined Spaces

Chapter 296-809, WAC

Effective Date: 05/01/04

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Identifying and Controlling Permit-required Confined Spaces

WAC 296-809-200

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Your Responsibility:

To identify your permit-required confined spaces and control employee entry

You must

Identify permit-required confined spaces WAC 296-809-20002
Inform employees and control entry to permit-required confined spaces WAC 296-809-20004
Follow these requirements when you contract with another employer to enter your space WAC 296-809-20006

WAC 296-809-20002
Identify permit-required confined spaces


• If your workplace contains only non-permit confined spaces and your employees don't enter another employer’s confined space, you may follow only the requirements in:

- WAC 296-809-200, Identifying and Controlling Permit-required Confined Spaces

- WAC 296-809-700, Non-permit Confined Space Requirements.

• See the Resources section for other chapters covering confined spaces that may apply to your work.

You must

• Identify all permit-required confined spaces in your workplace.

• Assume any confined space is a permit-required confined space, unless you determine the space to be a non-permit confined space.

- If you enter the space to determine the hazards, follow the requirements in WAC 296-809-500, Permit Entry Procedures.

- If you evaluate the confined space and there are no potential or actual hazards, you can consider it to be a non-permit confined space.

• Document your determination that the space is non-permit, as required by WAC 296-809-700.


A permit-required confined space or permit space is a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics capable of causing death or serious physical harm:

- Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere.
- Contains a material with the potential for engulfing someone who enters the space.
- Has an internal configuration that could allow someone entering to be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor, which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section.
- Contains any physical hazard. This includes any recognized health or safety hazards including engulfment in solid or liquid material, electrical shock, or moving parts.
- Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard that could either:

- Impair the ability to self rescue
- Result in a situation that presents an immediate danger to life or health.

A non-permit confined space is a confined space that does not contain actual hazards or potential hazards capable of causing death or serious physical harm.

WAC 296-809-20004
Inform employees and control entry to permit-required confined spaces

You must

(1) Provide information about confined spaces as follows:

- Make available to affected employees and their authorized representatives all information and documents required by this chapter.

- Inform affected employees about the existence, location, and danger of any permit-required confined spaces in your workplace by:

• Posting danger signs
• Using any other equally effective means to inform employees.



A sign reading “DANGER-PERMIT REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER” or using pictures or other similar wording employees can understand, would satisfy the requirement for a sign.

You must

(2) Take effective measures to prevent unauthorized employees from entering permit-required confined spaces.



Examples of measures to prevent employee entry include padlocks, bolted covers, special tools to remove covers, and providing employee training.

WAC 296-809-20006
Follow these requirements when you contract with another employer to enter your confined space


The contractor is responsible for following all confined space requirements in this chapter and in other rules that apply. For a list of other rules that may apply, see the Resources section of this chapter.

You must

• Do all of the following if you arrange to have another employer (contractor) perform work that involves entry into your permit-required confined space:

- Inform the contractor:

• That the workplace contains permit-required confined spaces and entry is allowed only if the applicable requirements of this chapter are met

• Of the identified hazards and your experience with each permit-required confined space

• Of any precautions or procedures you require for the protection of employees in or near spaces where the contractor will be working

- Coordinate entry operations with the contractor, when either employees or employers from the different companies will be working in or near permit-required confined spaces.

- Discuss entry operations with the contractor when they are complete. Include the following in your discussion:

• The program followed during confined space entry
• Any hazards confronted or created.

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