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10. Entry Permit | Confined Spaces Guideline

  • Issued: September 2006
  • Revised: July 2011
  • Content last reviewed: July 2011

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Section 10 - Confined Spaces Regulation (O. Reg. 632/05)

  • 10. (1)  The employer shall ensure that a separate entry permit is issued each time work is to be performed in a confined space, before any worker enters the confined space.
  • (2) An entry permit shall be adequate and shall include at least the following:
    • 1.  The location of the confined space.
    • 2.  A description of the work to be performed there.
    • 3.  A description of the hazards and the corresponding control measures.
    • 4.  The time period for which the entry permit applies.
    • 5.  The name of the attendant described in section 15.
    • 6.  A record of each worker’s entries and exits.
    • 7.  A list of the equipment required for entry and rescue, and verification that the equipment is in good working order.
    • 8.  Results obtained in atmospheric testing under section 18.
    • 9.  If the work to be performed in the confined space includes hot work, adequate provisions for the hot work and corresponding control measures.
  • (3)  Before each shift, a competent person shall verify that the entry permit complies with the relevant plan.
  • (4)  The employer shall ensure that the entry permit, during the time period for which it applies, is readily available to every person who enters the confined space and to every person who performs related work with respect to the confined space.

The purpose of the entry permit is to communicate to workers the hazards that have been identified and the controls that are in place, before any worker enters the confined space or performs related work with respect to the confined space.

Certain safeguards that normally protect the worker may have to be removed or altered when repair or maintenance work is performed. When this occurs, the hazards involved need to be identified and a safe work system developed to eliminate or control these hazards. A permit is a document that, among other things, identifies the work to be done, the hazard(s) involved, and the precautions taken.

Entry is the action by which a person passes through an opening into a confined space. It is considered to have occurred as soon as any part of the entrant's body breaks the plane of an opening into the confined space, and includes ensuring work activities in that space.

When do I need an entry permit?

A separate entry permit is to be issued each time work is to be performed in a confined space and before any worker enters the confined space.

What if there are multiple entries for a limited duration, for the one job? Do we have to have a permit for each entry?

The permit requirements and duration for which the permit is valid are based on the hazard assessment conducted and the plan developed. The permit may be linked to each entry-task whose duration and criteria are specified in the plan and on the permit.

On a multiple worker entry where there is more than one employer, can there be only one entry permit/attendant if identified that way in the coordination document?

Yes, on a multiple worker entry where there is more than one employer, there can be one entry permit/attendant if identified that way in the coordination document.

Does an entry permit need to be signed?

Although there is no requirement for a signature, the permit must be verified by a competent person before each shift. As a good due diligence practice, it would be reasonable to have this verification documented by signature, and the entry permit would be a logical place to document this.

Does an entry permit have to be posted at the entrance of the confined space?

No. However, the permit must be readily available to every person involved in the confined space activity and this would include knowledge of the permit's location.

What is a record of entry and exit?

The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that there is information about those who enter the space and leave the space. It is not meant to require a sign-in and out for every minor exit required to work in the space, such as leaving momentarily to obtain a nearby tool. The method of recording shall be as set out in the employer's program.

May I have one entry permit to cover workers entering two or more confined spaces, which are similar in construction and present the same hazards?

Each confined space must have its own, separate entry permit. For municipalities dealing with manhole entries, the employer must assess if each manhole entry is a separate confined space or if in fact each manhole is simply a separate entrance to the same confined space. This will depend on the hazard assessment and relevant plan.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.