February 28, 2002

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Attn: Mr. Manuel Gutierrez, P.E.
Managing Director
Three Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016-5990

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION - CONFINED SPACES

Dear Mr. Gutierrez:

The ANSI accredited Z117 Committee, Safety Requirements for Confined Spaces, is pleased to acknowledge the efforts of ASME to help safeguard safety, health, and the environment through its standards, publications, and activities. We have seen reports and examples of ASME activities and have been impressed by the quality and commitment of the organization's dedication to these important issues.

Perhaps you are already aware, but if not, please allow me to provide a brief introduction of the committee. The Z117 Committee has been in existence for over a decade and its scope is to provide minimum safety requirements to be followed while entering, exiting and working in confined spaces at normal atmospheric pressure. There currently is one standard in existence, Z117.1-1995, and a complimentary copy of this document is enclosed for your review and information.

The Z117 Committee recently met in Baton Rouge and a significant part of our discussion focused on the issue of incorporating safety and confined space entry into the design phase of equipment considered to be a confined space, (boiler and pressure vessel). The committee was specifically discussing whether design standards incorporating safety considerations for confined space entry already exist. The Z117 Committee has reviewed many ASME standards, but still remain unclear as to how these documents impact the incorporation of safety into the design of confined spaces, (e.g.: boiler and pressure vessels). The Z117 Committee would appreciate your guidance regarding the following issues:

  • ASME perspective of whether the design specifications of its standards address primarily the integrity of confined spaces, (e.g. boiler and pressure vessels spaces) or the safety and health of people making confined space entry.
  • To what degree does ASME standards address the incorporation of safety and confined space entry during the design of boiler and pressure vessels or other confined spaces.
  • Can you recommend which ASME standards should be reviewed by the Z117 Committee regarding the incorporation of safety and confined space entry during the design phase of boiler and pressure vessels.

We understand your time is precious, however, we would greatly appreciate your assistance in this matter, as this is an issue of significance to this committee. Finally, perhaps ASME would consider joining the Z117 Committee as your expertise and viewpoint could be of great assistance. If you could respond to my attention at the address listed above, it would be most appreciated.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely Yours,

Timothy R. Fisher, CSP, PE, CPEA
Secretary, Z117

TRF/TF/Z117/CORRS1
Encl. Z117.1-1995