Environmental Health and Safety

Confined Space

photo of confined space









A Confined Space Program has been developed to establish a safe operating procedure for all employees and contractors entering confined spaces on university property. 

Is it a confined space?

A confined space must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The space has limited or restricted means of entry or egress
  • The space is large enough for an employee to enter and perform work assignments
  • The space is not designed for continuous human occupancy

Is a permit required?

Permit-required confined spaces pose serious risks to entrants, such as physical injury from hazards of engulfment, entrapment, and hazardous atmospheric conditions (i.e. being overcome by toxic gases and/or oxygen deficient atmospheres).

If any one of the following conditions exist, the confined space is permit-required:

  • The space contains, or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • The space contains a material that may engulf the entrant
  • The space has an internal configuration such that the entrant could become trapped of asphyxiated
  • The space contains other recognized serious safety or health hazards

Examples of confined spaces

Elevator pits, cooling towers, boilers, underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits, vessels, trash compactors, crawl spaces, and access areas above fixed ceilings are all examples of confined spaces.