Space - Air Monitoring
Air monitoring is a
critical part of any confined space work environment. A permit-required
confined space is a confined space that presents or has the
potential for hazards related to atmospheric conditions, engulfment,
configuration, or any other recognized serious hazard.
When do you monitor the air?
Air monitoring is necessary whenever
employees are to enter a confined space, and periodically
while employees are in the confined space.
Who monitors the air?
The person in charge must know
the proper use and calibration of the monitoring equipment,
and supervise its use. Also, authorized entrants, those who
will go into the confined space and do the work, must know
how to use the testing and monitoring equipment.
Either the person in charge or
another designated employee is responsible for initial testing
and periodic testing as necessary.
Testing the air
Air should be tested:
to evaluate the permit
space before entry is authorized, and
as necessary to ensure that the atmosphere remains acceptable
during the work.
Test and monitor the air using
the following guidelines:
Test for oxygen first
because most gas meters are oxygen dependent and will not
provide reliable readings in oxygen deficient atmospheres.
Test for flammable
gases and vapors second because the threat of fire or explosion
is both more immediate and life threatening (in most cases).
Finally, test for toxic air contaminants.
Any employee who enters the space, or that employee's authorized
representative, shall be provided with an opportunity to observe
the periodic testing required by the rule.