Confined Spaces Present Unique Hazards for Industrial and Construction Workers

OSHA Has Specific Safety Requirements to Protect Workers Exposed to Confined Spaces

CONFINED SPACES at general industry locations and construction sites pose unique hazards for workers and special challenges for the companies that employ them.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a “confined space” means a space that meets the following criteria:

  1. Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits); and
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

When conditions meet OSHA’s definition for “confine space,” employers must meet several federal requirements and engage in specified activities to adequately train workers, protect them from danger, and, if an accident happens, ensure their timely rescue. (See OSHA’s confined space standards here.)

If an OSHA-defined and permit-required confined space is present, employers must have a well-trained rescue team in house, fully prepared to quickly respond to an accident or emergency, or employers must have formal relationships with third-party rescue or emergency services.

The following articles are useful in the discussion about and preparation for confined-space rescue operations:

• “Confined Space Rescue” in Safety+Health magazine. (

• “Is 911 your Confined Space Rescue Plan?” — an OSHA Fact Sheet (

Safety Solutions & Supply offers confined-space/high-angle rescue training in an eight-hour refresher class and a 24-hour new responder class format that adheres to the standards outlined in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146, as well as other applicable OSHA standards. This program includes selection of equipment, protection vs. prevention, inspections and much more. Our industrial program goes far beyond merely teaching standards. The confined-space /high-angle rescue training places students in real-world situations and has them responding to multiple technical rescue operations.

Students must develop the fundamentals skills they will use to respond, in realistic environments under real-life conditions, we believe this is the only way students will be able to gain some of the essential experience that they will need to handle in a real-life situation.

Safety Solutions & Supply also offers trained technicians and equipment to support a company’s confined-space entry team. Confined-space (hole watch) attendants are the critical link in protecting workers who perform confined-space tasks. Safety Solutions & Supply takes this responsibility very seriously. Our team of technicians are our employees — selected, trained and qualified by our company. Our proven team of technicians is available for support 24/7 and is well experienced in turnaround and industrial support activities.

Worker protection is the mission of Safety Solutions & Supply. When workers are exposed to confined-space hazards, simple issues can rapidly escalate into life-threatening emergencies in a matter of minutes. Our confined-space rescue teams are there to provide company managers peace of mind and confidence that their workers are protected.

For more information about the Safety Solutions & Supply team, services, and training programs, visit us online at or call 1-866-537-2262.