Confined space entry permit needed?


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Oct 30, 2023
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Will you guys help me determine whether I need to apply for a confined space entry permit? I'll be making repairs in an empty corn silo. I'm leaning towards no, since it'll be an empty space, but I'm not entirely certain. This work will take place in Georgia.
Georgia, United States
You know, I've never run across this situation, but I believe you might still need the permit, especially if the space isn't ventilated. Corn leaves behind a high carbon-nitrogen residue which could be a hazard, right?
I did some research online, and it's possible a permit might be required for this type of work. A permit may be required in any of these situations:
  • Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere.
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant.
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section.
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
So if it's easily accessible, you can enter and exit easily, there is no harmful material or debris, you might be fine to go without a permit. I found this info from these sites.

Confined Space Training Georgia
PDF on permits required for confined spaces
Laws/Permit info
More details on Permits - From Georgia Tech
Thanks for sharing those resources, @Jake. Because confined space entry standards are set by OSHA, @Fenix wouldn't need to worry about permitting unless he's employing workers to repair the silo as part of a commercial farming operation. If he's repairing his own silo on his own private farm, I think he can do whatever wants. OSHA standards exist to prevent companies from acting negligently and exposing their employees to unsafe working conditions. There are no laws against negligence if you'd only be putting your own health and safety at risk on your own private property. If Fenix is repairing his own silo, I think he just needs to focus on making sure he knows what he's doing (proper ventilation, safety equipment, etc.). I don't know anything about farming or silo repair, but this sounds like the kind of work I'd want to hire someone experienced to come out and do for me.
I believe you're wrong about the ventilation, Fenix, because it should have some sort of ventilation system. I don't know of any that don't. Some silos are specially designed to negate the need for a confined entry permit. If you don't know whether this silo qualifies, call your local agricultural extension, and they'll help you out. Those folks provide incredibly useful services to the community, usually free of charge.
Given the fact that there would likely be residual materials like dust and other things that can have impact on respiratory health, it is pertinent that a permit would be necessary.
It is very necessary to obtain a confined space entry permit because it will ensure that proper precautions are taken and it will also ensure that the workers are adequately trained and they are equipped for the task. If you fail to obtain a permit or you try to neglect the safety rules, it could result in accident.
Whether you need to apply for a confined space entry or not depends on whether the space meets the criteria for a permit-required confined space as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Even though the silo is empty, it can still be classified as a confined space. You need permit if there are potential atmospheric hazards, or the internal configuration has a risk of entrapment or asphyxiation.

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