Confined Spaces can be dangerous and deadly if proper precautions aren't followed prior to entry into the space. MSU has several notable Confined Space and Permit Required Confined Space locations that should be approached with caution. 

MSU Safety & Risk Management (SRM) provides oversight to the MSU Confined Space Program. Prior to entering a Permit Required Confined Space, a supervisor must complete a PRCS Entry Permit. 

SRM offers training opportunities for MSU employees; from Confined Space Awareness up to and including Permit Required Confined Space Entry - Supervisor, Attendant and Entrant. Trainings provide information on Confined Space Identification, Recognition, Air Quality Monitors, Air Sampling Methods, Filling Out a Permit Required Confined Space Entry Permit, as well as duties and responsibilities of Entry Supervisors, Attendants and Entrants.

Who Do I Contact If There's An Emergency Regarding A Confined Space?

Call 911 or on Campus 994-2121

What is a Confined Space?

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), a Confined Space has all three of the following characteristics:

  1. Must be large enough and so configured that an employee can enter it and perform the assigned work.
  2. Must have limited or restricted means for entry or exit.
  3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy.

How does a Confined Space differ from a Permit Required Confined Space?

A Permit Required Confined Space will contain all of the above, plus one or more of the following:

  • Contains a material having the potential of engulfing the person entering the space.
  • Walls within the space converge inwardly, or there's a downward sloping floor that tapers to a small cross-section.
  • The space possesses a potentially hazardous atmosphere (ex: poor air quality or chemical exposures due to skin contact or ingestion).
  • The space contains any other safety or health hazard (ex: fire hazard, noise, radiation, shifting or collapsing of bulk material, energized electrical circuits, insects or animals, barrier failure resulting in a flood or release of free-flowing solid).
Julia Martin Tunnels

Confined Spaces include, but are not limited to underground vaults, tanks, storage bins,manholes, pits, silos, process vessels and pipelines. Ditches and trenches may also be a Confined Space when access or egress is limited.

60% of Confined Space Injuries Are Sustained By the Confined Space Rescuer, Rather Than By the Person(s) Who First Enter.

Confined Space Warning Signs

MSU SRM will assist MSU employees in identifying and providing signage for Confined Spaces in their work area.

Permit Required Confined Space

Do Not enter without completing an entry permit

Confined Space

Notify supervisor prior to entrance and after exit

Here are the statistics...

  • One would assume the most common cause of confined space emergencies would be atmospheric hazards (oxygen deficiency, flammable atmospheres, toxic gases), which account for 33% of all fatalities, however, Physical Hazards ('struck by', 'caught in', 'collapses' and 'falls') account for 61% of all fatalities.
  • In 40% of fatal atmospheric accidents, the hazard was not present at the time of the initial entry. Hazardous gases can settle at different heights based on weight - while working, sample air continuously - conditions can change quickly.
  • 89% of fatalities occurred with jobs authorized by supervisors.
Confined Space at the BART Farm
Permit Required Confined Space Vault


  • Plan the job BEFORE entering the space - know what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
  • Work quickly and efficiently.
  • Assemble tools and equipment prior to entering a confined space - avoid going in and out of the space.
  • There should be authorized 'attendant' onsite as well as an authorized 'entrant' - if an emergency situation arises in the confined space, the attendant is the person responsible for summoning emergency service and performing whatever rescue operation he or she has been trained and equipped to perform.