OSU EHS Safety Training -Handouts Confined Space Entry:
Permit Required

OSHA's Definition

All employees who might be required to work in confined spaces should be aware of the differences in how OSHA defines confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. According to OSHA:
"Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered to be "confined" because their configurations hinder the activities of any employees who must enter into, work in, and exit from them. In many instances, employees who work in confined spaces also face increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment, and hazardous atmospheric conditions. Confinement itself may pose entrapment hazards, and work in confined spaces may keep employees closer to hazards, such as an asphyxiating atmosphere, than they would be otherwise. For example, confinement, limited access, and restricted airflow can result in hazardous conditions that would not arise in an open workplace."

The term "permit-required confined space" refers to those spaces that meet the definition of a "confined space" and may pose health or safety hazards, thereby requiring a permit for entry.

A confined space:

  • Has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
  • Is large enough for an employee to enter and perform assigned work, and
  • Is not designed for continuous occupancy by the employee.

These spaces may include, but are not limited to, underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, sewers, and silos.

A permit-required confined space is one that meets the definition of a confined space and has one or more of these characteristics:

  1. Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere,
  2. Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing the entrant,
  3. Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross section, and/or
  4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards."

Additional information regarding OSU's policies and procedures for working in permit-required confined spaces may be found in our Confined Space Entry Program.

[Confined Space Entry Links] [Handouts]