Skip to main content
CFAES Safety and Compliance home

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Confined Space Program

The Confined Space Program contains requirements for practices and procedures to protect employees from the hazards of entry into a confined space. The written program adheres to the requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Section 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Standard Number 1910.146. An important component of the Confined Space Program is the requirement for entry permits, which can be obtained through OSU Environmental Health &Safety.

This program contains the procedures and practices for safe entry into locations at the Ohio State Univerisity classified as "Non-Permit" and "Permit-Required" confined spaces. The program applies to all OSU employees whose job duties require them to enter or monitor confined spaces. Any affected individual must have confined space training and will be provided monitoring equipment before confined space entry.

According to OSHA, confined spaces are defined as follows:

Confined Space:
– Space large enough and so configured that a person can bodily enter and perform assigned task.
– A space that has limited or restricted means of entry or exit.
– It is not intended for continuous human occupancy.

Permit Required Confined Space (A confined space plus one or more of the following):
– Contains or has potential to contain a hazardous material (atmosphere).
– Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing or entrapment.
– Has internal configuration with inwardly converging walls or floor which slopes downward to  a smaller cross section.
– Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.

Agricultural settings can have offer their own uique confined spaces. An agricultural confined space can be identified as any space found in an agricultural workplace that:
– was not designated or intended as a regular workstation
– has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
– associated with potential physical and/or toxic hazards to workers who intentionally or unintentionally enter the space.

Agricultural confined spaces can include grain and feed storage structures, forage storage structures, manure storage structures, agricultural transport vehicles, agricultural equipment, food processing and storage equipment, liquid storage tanks, on-farm excavations, and drainage culverts.  If any of these confined spaces have one or more of the "permit required" confined space criteria, a Confined Space Entry Permit is required.

The Confined Space Entry Permit is the most important tool for assuring safety during entry in confined spaces with potentially hazardous atmospheres. The entry permit process guides our EHS team, supervisors, and workers through a systematic evaluation of the space to be entered. The permit should be used to establish appropriate plan of action for the conditions, before each entry into the confined space. This will also include a plan for emergency rescue / retrieval and emergency responder contacts in the event of an emergency.

If you need a Confined Space Entry Permit, please contact Kent McGuire at or 292-0588 or Cassi Sewell at or (330)263-3663. Additionally, Confined Space Entry Permits can be requested by using the EHS Service Request Form.

Confined Space Written Program
OSU Confined Space Entry Permit & Hazard Analysis
OSU Confined Space Reclassification Form
OSHA Confined Space Decision Tree
OSHA Confined Space Entry on the Farm
Ohio BWC Confined Space Entry
Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Confined Spaces
CFAES Agricultural Confined Space Training (pdf)
Staying Safe: Understanding Manure Storage Gases


If you have any questions regarding CFAES confined spaces, please contact Kent McGuire at or 292-0588. You may also contact the OSU Environmental Health and Safety Office online at or by phone at (614) 292-1284.


Reviewed / Updated: 11/6/21 K. McGuire