Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are present throughout the MIT Campus.  A confined space, can fit a person inside it, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.  Confined spaces generally consist of, but are not limited to, underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines.

Entry into confined spaces may present a variety of hazards to MIT employees. In addition, there are many instances where employees who work in confined spaces face increased risk of exposure to serious hazards. In some cases, confinement itself poses entrapment hazards. In other cases, confined space work keeps employees closer to hazards, such as asphyxiating atmospheres or the moving parts of machinery. OSHA uses the term "Permit-Required Confined Space" (Permit Space) to describe those spaces which meet the definition of "confined space" and pose health or safety hazards.

A comprehensive Working in Confined Spaces SOP has been developed to protect MIT employees and provide guidance to contractors who may be required to enter confined spaces during the course of their work. Below are some useful tools, including written procedures for safe entry and management of confined spaces.

                Appendix  A:      Confined Space Entry Form (scroll to bottom to download this form)

                Appendix  B:      Confined Space Annual Program Review

                Appendix  C:      List of MIT Campus Confined Spaces

Confined Space Services

The Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office is responsible for providing appropriate technical support to the DLCs covered by the Working in Confined Spaces SOP. The following services are available from EHS:

  • Technical assistance to determine if a space meets the OSHA definition of "Confined Space".
  • Training in entry procedures for confined space superintendents, entrants, and attendants.
  • Field audits of confined space entry methods and procedures
  • Assistance with the local implementation of MIT’s  Working in Confined Spaces SOP.