What is a Non-Permit Confined Space?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a confined space as any space that is:
- large enough for an employee to enter and perform work.
- has limited or restricted means for entry or exit.
- is not designed for continuous occupancy.
Without any other hazards present, any space that meets these requirements would be classified as a non-permit required confined space. See the flow chart below for help determining if your workplace has a non-permit required confined space:
OSHA also provides a guidance tool to help you determine if a space is covered by the permit-required confined space regulations.
Non-permit required confined spaces do not contain additional hazards such as the potential of a hazardous atmosphere or the potential for workers to become engulfed or trapped by materials. These spaces require a comprehensive safety plan and employers should then follow the requirements in OSHA standard 1910.146.
Non-permit required confined spaces can be continually accessed by workers, but are still associated with inherent difficulties stemming from the tight spaces. Signage is not required by OSHA, but workers should still exercise a great deal of caution.
Alerting workers to the confined space and any policies related to their work should be posted before workers enter the space. Even though OSHA does not require signage as per standard 1910.146 for non-permit required confined spaces, other standards could apply depending on the work environment. Industry best practices recommend the posting of confined space signs for these cases.
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