Staying Safe in a Confined Space

Confined Space

Did you know that between permit-required and non-permit-required, there are nearly 6 million confined spaces in the country? Just thinking about that number is enough to give anyone claustrophobia!

Because there are so many of these confined spaces around, we thought we should share the three most important safety elements in those spaces: training, testing, and rescue preparedness.


Before you ever set foot in a confined space, you need to learn what constitutes a confined space, what kinds of dangers are lurking within, and the precautions you need to take to prevent accidents and injuries. And all of that requires training. Remember that paying attention during your training can mean the difference between life and death, so be sure to take plenty of notes.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or so the old saying goes, and that’s especially true in confined spaces. There can be toxic vapors or a lack of oxygen in a confined space, so all spaces should be tested by someone who knows what they’re doing before anyone enters.

Rescue Preparedness

Would you rush into a tiger cage to help someone if you had no tiger training whatsoever? Of course not. (Well, hopefully not.) You need to have qualified rescue personnel standing by in case of emergency. Truth be told, a lot of injuries and fatalities in confined spaces involve would-be rescuers who rush in without proper training or equipment. Don’t be one of those people.

Confined spaces will always have an element of danger, so it’s best to mitigate risk as much as possible. Be smart, be ready, and be alert, and confined spaces shouldn’t give you any problems.

OSHA 29 CFR 1926.21 (b) (6) (i) All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required. The Employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.
OSHA 29 CFR 1926.21 (b) (6) (ii) Confined space means any space having a limited means of egress, which is subject to the accumulation of toxic, or flammable contaminants or has an oxygen deficient atmosphere. Confined or enclosed spaces include but are not limited to – storage tanks, process vessels, bins, boilers, ventilation or exhaust ducts, sewers, underground utility vaults, tunnels, pipelines; and open top spaces more than 4 feet in depth such as pits, tubs, vaults, and vessels.

NOTE: Annual training pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.146 Permit Required Spaces shall be conducted by an OSHA certified trainer and fully documented to include competency testing.

-Steve Petty, Director of Risk Management

StevePettyPhotoCroppedWP Steve Petty joined the Insured Solutions team as Director of Risk Management in 2010. The lessons he has learned from thirty-five years in risk management formed a foundation for what is today a unique Workers’ Compensation program, generating exemplary results for employers.

Contact Steve at, (229) 207-0664.

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