Confined Spaces
Valley City State University | Facilities Services
• Some VCSU employees are required to perform work
duties in areas restricted of size, limited entry/exit room
and other less than ideal conditions. Working in confined
spaces can be a major safety hazard if the employee is not
educated on the safety procedures of this working
• Facilities Services Supervisors and other related
supervisors should educate their employees of these safe
operating procedures.
• Areas on campus with these limitations:
• Large enough for and employee to bodily enter and perform the
necessary work.
• Has restricted means for entry/exit- includes the following
• Tanks, vessels, steam tunnels, hoppers, storage bins, vaults, silos
and pits.
• Are not intended for extended employee occupancy.
• There are also confined spaces that may contain hazardous
air quality or other similar characteristics. These spaces
should be treated with caution and Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) may be required.
• A confined space NOT containing ANY of the
characteristics listed under permit-required confined
spaces may be considered a non-permit confined space.
• Steam Tunnels/Vaults/Man Holes
• A confined space that contains any other recognized
serious safety or health hazard, including areas or
processes that must be locked out or tagged out per the
Valley City State University Lockout/Tag-out Program.
• Boiler
Definition (cont.)
• Employees who are to work in confined spaces should be
trained on the following:
• Procedures in the use and maintenance of the monitoring
• Use and application of respiratory equipment.
• Use and application of ventilation systems, fans or blowers.
• Use and application of fall protection.
• Lockout/Tag out procedures.
• The steam tunnel/vault system is a controlled access work
area. Only authorized personnel are allowed to enter the
steam tunnel system.
• The main tunnel system is designed for employees to
enter through building equipment room doors, walk
through the tunnel passes, and perform equipment
• Certain sections are only accessible through manholes.
• There is one entrance/exit point in all steam manholes with
a ventilation point.
Procedures- Steam
• Only steam travels through the tunnels/vaults/manholes
making the possibility for a hazardous atmosphere
• As defined by OSHA, the following hazards DO NOT
exist in VCSU steam tunnels/vaults/manholes:
• Entrapment Hazards (Means of egress are restricted or
limited, but not impossible)
• Engulfment Hazards
• Exposed energized electrical conductors, moving machinery
or lines that discharge hazardous materials
Procedures- Steam
• The most serious hazard is the potential for a steam line
• This hazard can be significantly reduced through
preventative maintenance.
• Use of an attendant, retrieval equipment, and air
monitoring devices are not practical and do not protect
employees (may actually hinder self-rescue) from the
most significant potential hazard, a steam line rupture.
• Use the “buddy system” is a requirement when actively
working on energized steam lines.
Procedures- Steam
• Steam Tunnel Entry Procedure
• Each employee shall notify their Supervisor(s) prior to entering the
steam tunnels. The Supervisor shall verify that the employee has
received the proper training to enter the steam tunnels. The
Supervisor will assess the required employee training on a periodic
• Prior to entering the steam tunnels, the Supervisor and employee will
discuss the scope and sequence of work.
• Assess all potential hazards
• Locations of energized steam lines, compresses air-lines, electrical
• Locations of exposed hot surfaces
• Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
• Hazards created by work activity and external hazards
• Means to control hazards
Procedures- Steam
• Steam Tunnel Entry Procedure (cont.)
• Identified the locations of entry and egress from potentially
dangerous work conditions.
• The “buddy system” will be used by employees when actively
working on energized system or when the employee has a
preference because of safety reasons.
• Employees working in the tunnel will carry a flashlight, carry a
cell phone, wear protective gloves or other types of Personal
Protective Equipment.
• Set up a fan at one end of the tunnel to provide better ventilation
in the area.
• When working in steam man holes, make sure that both doors are
Procedures- Steam
• Boiler Entry Procedure
Boilers must be shut down several days prior to cleaning to allow cooling.
Fireboxes of water-tube boilers should be cooled to essentially ambient
temperature prior to entry.
• They must be left open to the room with the draft open to assure adequate ventilation
before entry.
• Electrical load centers to all motor-driven auxiliary equipment (including fuel pumps and
flame failure devices) should be de-energized and locked out. Where fuses are provided
and accessible they must be removed while the boiler is out of service.
• Valves and/or piping to interconnected systems (such as steam, blow-off, and feed water)
should be fully closed and locked, and common piping connections (with no stop valves)
should be blanked off.
• The safety procedures must specify who is responsible for each phase of the isolation of
the boiler and its return to service. Where more than one person is involved, the person
with prior authority must determine that all safety measures are in effect before allowing
anyone to enter a boiler.
Someone must be designated and trained to stand at the entry to monitor and assist
those working in the confined space.
Procedures- Boiler
• Valley City State University will rely on rescue personnel
from the Valley City Fire Department, Valley City Police
Department and Valley City Ambulance Service in the
event of an emergency during a confined space entry.
• These emergency services are accessible by dialing 911
from any campus telephone.
Emergency Response &
Take a 5 minute stretch break before we
continue to the next module.

Lockout/Tag-out Procedures - Valley City State University