Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered to be “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter into, work in or exit from them. Many workers face increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions in confined spaces.

Confinement in certain work spaces may pose entrapment hazards or keep employees dangerously close to hazards such as machinery components.  Confinement, limited access and restricted airflow can result in hazardous conditions that would not normally arise in an open workplace.

The terms “permit-required confined space” and “permit space” refer to spaces that meet OSHA’s definition of a “confined space” and contain health or safety hazards.  For this reason, OSHA requires workers to have a permit to enter these spaces.   The permit must be posted at all entrances or otherwise made available to entrants before they enter a permit space and must verify that pre-entry preparations outlined in the OSHA standard have been completed.

Before initial work assignments begin, employers must provide proper training for all workers who are required to work in permit spaces.  Employers must ensure that workers have acquired the understanding, knowledge and skills necessary to work safely in permit spaces.

To help employers understand their responsibilities when directing employees to work in confined spaces, OSHA has published a booklet entitled Permit-Required Confined Spaces.

To support employers’ training initiatives, the OSHA Training Center is offering the following courses in Northern California: