Confined Spaces

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 12.12(28)
Reviewed and Updated: March 2022
Contact: Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)


Each year hundreds of people are injured or die as a result of entering into confined spaces that contain unknown hazards. To prevent unnecessary injuries or the loss of life, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated the Permit-Required Confined Spaces Standard (29 CFR 1910.146), effective April 15, 1993. The standard requires that all confined spaces be identified and that a written program outline the required procedures for entry into those spaces.

The Iowa State University Confined Spaces Program has been designed to provide a framework to assist university departments in their development of procedures to comply with this standard (29 CFR 1910.146).

Policy Statement

Each university department is responsible for evaluating areas under its administrative control and determining whether confined spaces are present. A list of identified confined spaces shall be provided to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). Departments with confined spaces in their areas are responsible for the adoption and implementation of the Iowa State University Confined Spaces Program including:

  • Identification of methods to prevent unauthorized entry
  • Classification of confined spaces by identifying hazards present
  • Development of department-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) that detail how entry will be authorized (Permit System) and the steps necessary for safe entry
  • Designation of authorized personnel, trained at the Confined Space Entrant level