Confined Space Program

What is a confined space?

A confined space is defined as a space that has limited or restricted means of entry or egress, is large enough for an employee to enter and perform work, and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. There are two types of confined space classifications: permit required and non-permit required. Each space is evaluated for potential hazards and classified accordingly.

To comply with the regulations set forth by 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit Required Confined Spaces, EH&S and Facilities Management maintain a Confined Spaces Program. The program establishes safe operating procedures to protect workers from the hazards associated with entry into confined spaces.

How can I identify a confined space?

Signs must be placed in all areas where a confined space has been identified. The list of known confined spaces on campus as well as the posting of confined space signage will help ensure safety communication to workers.


Signs in permit required confined space areas will read, “Danger, confined space, enter by permit only.”



Signs must also be placed near known non-permit confined spaces to warn workers of potential hazards. Signs in these areas will read, “Notice, non-permit required confined space.”


Can anyone go into a confined space?

No. Workers must be authorized to enter confined spaces. They must be trained to recognize hazards they may face, the signs and symptoms of hazard exposure, understand the hazard exposure consequences, and comprehend how to properly use required equipment for ventilation, communication, lighting, rescue, personal protective equipment, personal monitoring systems, and emergency scenarios needed for safe entry and exit into permit-required spaces.

For more information, please contact: 

Fabiola Fernandez
Assistant Director
Environmental Health and Safety 
Phone: 202-885-2541