• Confined Space Entry Policy

    Environmental Health & Safety

    It is Worcester State University’s policy that employees and contract labor employees are not permitted to enter a “permit-required confined space”.

    All outside contractors performing work in a “permit-required confined space” must be pre-qualified and demonstrate compliance with all of the requirements of the OSHA “Permit-Required Confined Spaces” standard (29 CFR 1910.146).

    Worcester State employees are allowed to perform work in “non-permit confined spaces” and “permit-required confined spaces” that can be safely reclassified to “non-permit confined spaces” prior to and throughout the duration of an entry.

    Reclassification can be accomplished only after development and approval of a Pre-Task Safety Plan and using either the “alternate entry procedures” or “reclassification procedures” described in Section 7.0 – Reclassification of Permit Spaces.

    This program has been developed to:

    • Assist Worcester State personnel in identifying and evaluating all confined spaces and “permit-required confined spaces” within the Worcester State facility
    • Prevent unauthorized entry into “permit-required confined spaces” by Worcester State employees and contract workers
    • Provide guidance to Worcester State employees who may enter “non-permit confined spaces” or declassified “permit-required confined spaces”
    • Provide guidelines for Worcester State managers and supervisors overseeing entries into “permit-required confined spaces” by authorized and qualified outside contractor employees
    • This program also meets the requirements of the OSHA “Permit-Required Confined Spaces” Standard (29 CFR 1910.146)


    Confined Space

    A confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed space that has all of the following characteristics:

    • Large enough for a person to bodily enter and perform work
    • Limited or restricted opening(s) for entry and exit
    • Not intended for continuous human occupancy

    Examples of confined spaces at the Worcester State facility include the following:

    • Air Handlers
    • Exhaust Fans
    • Chillers
    • Water Tanks


    A hazard is a condition that presents a danger or a risk of physical harm to an individual. Confined space hazards include but are not limited to the following:

    • Oxygen deficient atmosphere
    • Flammable, explosive, or oxygen-enriched atmosphere
    • Toxic chemical liquids, gases, vapors, mists, dusts, or fumes that could be injurious upon inhalation or while in contact with the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes
    • Physical hazards from temperature extremes, excessive moisture, obstructions, noise, electricity, mechanical and moving parts, poor lighting, work at heights, or a sudden release of energy
    • Incompatible chemicals causing dangerous reactions within the confined space

    Non-Permit Confined Space

    A “non-permit confined space” does not contain, or with respect to atmospheric hazards, have the potential to contain an atmospheric hazard, or any other safety hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm.

    Permit-Required Confined Space

    A “permit-required confined space” is a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics:

    • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
    • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
    • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
    • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm

    Reclassified Confined Space

    A “permit-required confined space” may be reclassified to a “non-permit confined space” if the space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazards and if all hazards within the space are eliminated without entry into the space. The space may be reclassified as a “non-permit confined space” for as long as all the hazards remain eliminated and only for the duration of the scheduled entry.