Working in confined spaces can be a tough and dangerous job. Following OSHA protocol and working diligently are important for your own health and safety while within a confined space. Many workplaces contain areas that are considered “confined spaces” because while they are not necessarily designed for people. They are only large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs in a short amount of time. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, duct work, pipelines, etc. OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere.
- Contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant.
- Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant.
- Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.