What Does Confined Space Mean?
A confined space in the workplace is one that is large enough to permit access by an employee but has limited room for movement. For an area to qualify as a confined space under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, it must also have limited means of entry and exit. In addition, the space must be one that is not intended to be continually occupied. These types of spaces are typically used to perform maintenance or other occasional or limited-duration tasks.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Confined Space
Confined spaces include such areas as crawlspaces beneath houses, storage tanks, boiler rooms, and trenches. Confined spaces may be considered a workplace hazard.
In an emergency situation, a confined space may be difficult for employees to exit or for rescue workers to enter to provide aid. The potential for poor ventilation, limited room to maneuver to avoid physical hazards, and the possibility of entrapment also make confined spaces in the workplace particularly dangerous. Under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, if a confined space is characterized by one of several enumerated hazards, it is categorized as a permit-required confined space. Work inside permit-required confined spaces must conform to additional safety procedures.