Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Confined Spaces Introduction


Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) developed the Confined Space Program to protect employees from hazards that may be encountered during entry into a confined space. This program is intended to assure that:

  • Workers who are required to enter confined spaces are properly trained and supervised.
  • Procedures are in place to prevent employee exposure to hazardous atmospheres or conditions related to confined spaces.

Key components of this program include:

  • Surveying workplaces to identify confined spaces.
  • Posting signs to assist with recognizing confined spaces on university properties.
  • Training individuals who will perform work associated with confined spaces.
  • Developing written entry practices and procedures.
  • Implementing a permit system to monitor entry into confined spaces with uncontrolled hazards.


This program applies to all departments that have employees who work in confined spaces. Examples of confined spaces at Virginia Tech include, but are not limited to:

  • Steam tunnels
  • Electrical vaults
  • Feed bins
  • Silos
  • Boilers and associated vessels
  • Storage tanks
  • Pits (elevator, manure, coal, etc.)
  • Trash compactors

Note: Spaces that do not meet the definition of a confined space, do not fall within the scope of this program. This program also does not apply to spaces that may meet the definition of a confined space, but have another OSHA standard that covers it, such as Excavations (1926 Subpart P), Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams and Compressed Air (1926 Subpart S), or Diving (1926 Subpart Y).

All spaces on campus are assumed to be permit-required until they are assessed and determined to be non-permit confined spaces. Use the Confined Space Assessment Form to identify existing and potential hazards, and establish appropriate means and methods to eliminate or control the hazards (if applicable) at the time of entry.


This program has been designed to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces, and 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA, Confined Spaces in Construction.