Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Confined Spaces Responsibilities


EHS will monitor the overall effectiveness of the program, provide centralized recordkeeping, review confined spaces upon request, assist with atmospheric testing and equipment selection as needed, provide employee training, provide feedback to departments for improvement, and provide technical assistance, where requested.

Completed Assessment Forms should be forwarded to EHS quarterly for review and recordkeeping. Feedback will be provided to the department if there are corrections or improvements that need to be made.


Each department must be aware of university guidelines relating to confined spaces. The department must ensure that confined spaces in the work area are identified (i.e. marked with appropriate "Danger - Permit-Required Confined Space, Do Not Enter" signage) and evaluated (if they will be entered), and that departmental employees who work in or around confined spaces receive appropriate training as indicated in this program. Departments that have permit-required confined spaces, but have determined that employee will not enter, must take effective measures to prevent personnel from entering the space.

Entry Supervisor

Entry supervisors shall assure that the procedures described in this program are followed, and ensure that employees entering confined spaces are properly trained and equipped to perform their duties safely. The entry supervisor shall complete the Assessment Form as specified in this program, ensure entry conditions are satisfactory and terminate the entry upon completion of work.

The designated confined space Entry Supervisors shall:

  • Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure,
  • Verify, by completing the appropriate fields on the Assessment Form, that all tests specified on the form have been conducted and that all procedures and equipment specified on the form are in place before signing the form and permitting entry to begin,
  • Coordinate "permit-required" confined space entries with EHS and ensure rescue services are available,
  • Verify that means for summoning rescue services are operable,
  • Removes unauthorized individuals who enter, or who attempt to enter, the space during entry operations,
  • Ensures that entry conditions remain consistent with the terms identified on the Assessment Form and that acceptable entry conditions are maintained, and
  • Terminate the entry and cancel the form when work is completed.
  • Forward all completed Assessment Forms to EHS quarterly for review and recordkeeping.

Note: An entry supervisor also may serve as an attendant, or as an authorized entrant, as long as that person is trained and equipped to do so. The duties of entry supervisor may be passed from one individual to another during the course of an entry.

Authorized Entrant

Personnel entering confined spaces must only do so after receiving appropriate training.

Authorized entrants must:

  • Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure,
  • Properly use any equipment associated with the the entry, such as testing and monitoring equipment, ventilation equipment, communications equipment, personal protective equipment, lighting, barriers and shields, ladders, rescue and emergency equipment, and other equipment necessary for safe entry into, exit from, and rescue from permit spaces,
  • Communicate with the attendant as necessary to enable the attendant to monitor entrant status and to enable the attendant to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space, and
  • Alert the attendant whenever warning signs or symptoms of exposure to a dangerous situation are recognized, a prohibited condition is recognized, and exit the space if indicated.
  • Exit the space as quickly as possible whenever:
    • An order to evacuate is given by the attendant or entry supervisor;
    • There is any warning sign or symptom of exposure to a dangerous situation;
    • The entrant detects a prohibited condition; or
    • An evacuation alarm is activated.

Designated Attendant

Personnel designated as "Attendant" by the Entry Supervisor must:

  • Know the hazards that may be faced during entry, including information on the mode, signs or symptoms, and consequences of the exposure,
  • Know the possible behavioral effects of hazard exposure in authorized entrants,
  • Continuously maintain an accurate count of authorized entrants in the space and ensure that the means used to identify authorized entrants accurately identifies who is in the space.
  • Remain outside the space during entry operations until relieved by another attendant.
  • Communicate with authorized entrants as necessary to monitor entrant status and to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space.
  • Monitor activities inside and outside the space to determine if it is safe for entrants to remain in the space and order the authorized entrants to evacuate the space immediately under any of the following conditions:
    • The attendant detects a prohibited condition;
    • The attendant detects behavioral effects of hazard exposure in the authorized entrants;
    • The attendant detects a situation outside the space that could endanger the authorized entrant; or,
    • The attendant can not effectively and safely perform the requirements of this section.
  • Summon rescue and other emergency services as soon as the attendant determines that authorized entrants may need assistance to escape from permit space hazards.

  • Warn unauthorized persons to stay away from the confined space, advise the unauthorized persons that they must exit immediately if they have entered the space, and inform the authorized entrants and the entry supervisor if unauthorized persons have entered the space.

  • Perform non-entry rescues as specified herein.
  • Perform no other duties that might interfere with the attendant's primary duty to monitor and protect the authorized entrants.


Contractors performing work in university owned confined spaces must coordinate their work with the contracting university department or EHS, as appropriate. Virginia Tech remains the Host Employer for non-capital projects; however, the General Contractor typically serves as the property owner/manager for capital projects (i.e. Host Employer). Contractors and subcontractors must comply with all local, state and federal safety requirements for confined space entry, including having a Confined Space Program when work involves confined space entry. Refer to the Safety Requirements for Contractors and Subcontractors Program for more information.