April 2022 Safety Topic: Confined Spaces

April 21, 2022

There are workplaces on the CUIMC campus that contain spaces defined as “Confined Spaces” because they have limited or restricted means for entry and exit and are not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include utility vaults, water tanks, sewers, pipes, and boilers. 

A “Permit-Required Confined Space” is a confined space that has one or more of these characteristics: 

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere such as a vapor or gas; 
  • Contains a material with the potential to surround someone who enters the space; 
  • Has a layout that might cause someone to be trapped;  
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.

There is an OSHA standard for Confined Spaces (29 CFR 1910.146) that contains the requirements for practices and procedures to protect employees from the hazards of entering confined spaces.

The Department of Facilities Management has a written program for confined spaces that complies with all applicable standards and is designed to do the following:

  • Control hazards; 
  • Provide equipment for safe entry; 
  • Detect hazardous conditions that may arise while within the space.

All confined spaces on campus are tracked on an inventory and labeled. Permit-Required Confined Spaces are also marked and expressly state that a permit is required before entry.  

For more information or questions about Confined Spaces, please speak with your Supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety & Regulatory Compliance team.