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Home > Employee Relations > Safety Manual > Confined Space Entry

Part IV: General Rules
Confined Space Entry

OSHA citation 1910.146

A confined space is any enclosed area with a limited means of entry or access which might be entered by a worker and which contains known or potential hazards. Examples are sanitary sewer manholes, underground electrical vaults, coal bunkers and steam drums. Indiana University has a Confined Space Entry Program, which conforms to OSHA regulations.

Confined spaces may be dangerous to workers because of many different conditions. These may include oxygen deficient atmospheres, spaces which might entrap the worker by their design, flammable/explosive atmospheres, toxic gas atmospheres, confined spaces which might fill with particulate matter or liquids that could surround and capture the worker (engulfment), and confined spaces which might be inadvertently energized by machinery or the flow of a hazardous material.

Confined Space Operating Procedure states:

Managers and supervisory personnel shall:

  1. Be responsible for all training and instruction to employees who are required to enter confined spaces.
  2. Authorize employees to enter confined space only if they have received proper training.
  3. Ensure the health and safety of employees engaged in confined space work.
  4. Monitor the worksite to ensure that all rules, precautions and work practices are observed at all times.

Employees shall:

  1. Observe all rules and precautions for confined space entry.
  2. Enter confined spaces only after authorization, knowledge and approval by a manager or supervisor.

Under no circumstances shall employees:

  1. Enter an untested confined space.
  2. Enter a confined space known to contain a dangerous atmosphere.
  3. Enter a confined space where an engulfment hazard is known to exist.
  4. Enter a confined space without authorization.

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Page updated: July 2006
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