California records an average of six deaths in confined spaces annually, 60% of which are would-be rescuers. Stanford employees may risk their health and lives by entering permit-required confined spaces with hazardous atmospheric conditions and/or physical safety hazards, including in sewers, vaults, storm drains, tanks, boilers, crawl spaces, acid pits, pipelines, bins, tubs, ducts, and vessels entered for repairs, inspection, and maintenance. See the Permit-Required Confined Spaces subtopic for more information.
Permit-required confined spaces (permit spaces) have at least one of the following characteristics:
- Contain, or have the potential to contain, a hazardous atmosphere
- Contain a material that has a potential for engulfing an entrant
- Have an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls, or by a floor that slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross section
- Contain any other recognized serious safety or health hazard
Note that if any of the above characteristics is present, the space shall be classified as a permit-required confined space.
The Confined Space Program shall conform to Cal/OSHA requirements, which requires a written program. Where the word “shall” is used in this manual, requirements are mandatory by regulation.
These and other pertinent definitions pertaining to the Confined Space Program can be found in the Cal/OSHA Confined Spaces Regulations.