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Confined space guidelines in ANSI standard

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management

Published on December 14, 2005 with 3 Comments

Providing workplace safety guidelines to prevent confined space-related fatalities and injuries, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has made available the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z117.1-2003 Safety Requirements for Confined Spaces. Exposures to oxygen deficient environments, harmful substances, or explosive atmospheres are just some of the potential hazards facing workers dealing with confined spaces (an enclosed area with limited access which include vessels, silos, tanks or pits). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 there were 114 fatalities from exposure to noxious substances and 63 fatalities from oxygen deficiency.

For TFM‘s coverage of this topic, see “A Recipe for Safety” from the archives.

The Z117.1 standard covers confined space requirements in regards to identification and evaluation of a confined space, emergency response and rescue, permit and non-permit requirements, atmospheric testing, isolation and decontamination, lockout/tagout safeguarding procedures, personal protection equipment (PPE), and warning sign requirements.

Approved by ANSI in February 2003, the revised Z117.1-2003 voluntary consensus standard is performance-related, and it is not intended to replace existing standards or procedures. The Z117.1-2003 standard has been referenced by government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The ANSI Z117 Accredited Standards Committee, which ASSE serves as secretariat of, will meet within the next year to discuss future revisions of the standard. Click here for more information or to order the Z117.1-2003 standard.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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There are currently 3 Comments on Confined space guidelines in ANSI standard. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for the blog with usefull informations…

    By any chance, would you know equivalents to this document for European Union? Canada? Asia? or any other region?

    Thanks a lot

  2. I have sent your question to Jim Elledge, TFM’s facility management guru. He will try to get back to you shortly. Thanks for visiting FacilityBlog!

  3. Sebastien,

    Here is what I was able to locate on rules and regulations for confined spaces outside of the U.S.:

    Canada – The Workplace Safety and Health Act –
    Part 15 deals with confined spaces.

    In the United Kingdom, the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 is the resource to follow –

    Hong Kong – I found this report regarding confined spaces which you should find useful –

    Finally, I found this link which may help you in locating pertinent information in other countries from the International Labour Organization –

    I hope this helps!

    Jim Elledge

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