Confined Space Program

The 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?

Confined spaces meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The space has limited or restricted means of entry or egress
  2. The space is large enough for an employee to enter and perform work assignments
  3. 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

Permit-required confined spaces at American University include:

  • Manholes
  • Air handling units
  • Elevator pits
  • Cooling towers
  • Smoke stacks and chimneys
  • Boilers
  • Sump pits
  • Steam pits and tunnels
  • Transformer vaults
  • Tanks
  • Trash compactors
  • Crawl spaces
  • Access areas above fixed ceilings

For a detailed list of known confined spaces at American University, please refer to the Confined Space Program.