Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Program Summary

Applies to:

This program applies to all departments that have confined spaces in their work area, or where employees must enter confined spaces to perform work. A confined space may have poor air quality due to lack of natural ventilation and/or a potentially toxic or hazardous atmosphere. Personnel entering confined spaces at Virginia Tech must be trained and authorized. An Assessment Form must be completed by the supervisor prior to entry into any confined space.


Employers are required to evaluate the workplace to determine if there are any permit-required confined spaces. Departments should work with EHS to identify, evaluate, and classify confined spaces in their work areas and develop written assessments and entry protocols. Employees must be informed of such spaces in the work area by posting danger signs, or by any other equally effective means (i.e. training). Departments are responsible for providing and applying appropriate signs in accordance with OSHA regulations. Ex. "DANGER: Confined Space - DO NOT ENTER"

Where departments decide that employees will not enter permit spaces, effective measures must be taken to prevent inadvertent and unauthorized entry. Unauthorized entry into a confined space is strictly prohibited due to the potential for death, incapacitation, injury or acute illness. Employees who work in the vicinity of, but who will not enter, confined spaces must complete EHS Confined Space Awareness level training (available online).

Departments with personnel who need to enter confined spaces must have a Competent Person to oversee entry activities, including assessing the conditions of the space prior to entry, performing air monitoring and ensuring appropriate hazard controls have been implemented and are effective. Personnel entering the confined space, or serving as an attendant must also attend Confined Space Entrant/Attendant/Supervisor level training.

If the space has been determined to be permit-required, then entry must be coordinated with EHS.