Updated UW Confined Space Program


EH&S published an updated UW Confined Space Program Manual that reflects revisions to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries confined space regulations (2018 update) and aligns with standards established by federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Construction and general industry regulations are now combined into WAC 296-809 so rules are consistent across all industries. 

The Confined Space Program updates include:

  • An established process for identifying permit-required confined space(s) (PRCS):
    • Identify all confined spaces that meet the statutory definition.
    • Evaluate those spaces for actual and potential physical and atmospheric hazards.
  • Confined spaces must be evaluated by a Competent Person.
  • Attics and crawl spaces are to be evaluated as confined spaces.
  • All PRCS entries and entry procedures must be documented on the new PRCS Entry Form.
  • The Entry Supervisor must be qualified and trained. Examples of their roles and responsibilities:
    • Determine if acceptable entry conditions are present at a permit-required confined space where entry is planned.
    • Authorize entry and overseeing entry operations.
    • Terminate entry as required by the manual.
  • Alternative Methods of entry to PRCS without a permit is allowed (but still must be documented) when inspection and monitoring data support that:
    • You have eliminated all hazards; or
    • Physical hazards have been eliminated and forced air ventilation controls the actual/potential hazardous atmosphere in the space.
  • Rescue services must be evaluated and communicate when they are not available.

Appendices were added to the updated manual with extensive information covering:

  • Ventilation practices and effective positioning of ventilation equipment in confined spaces
  • Equipment for fall protection and rescue in confined spaces

In addition, EH&S created new or updated the following forms to meet new requirements:

EH&S instructor-led training courses starting in October 2021 will reflect the updated content.

The Confined Space Program applies to all University employees, researchers, students, and contractors who may be required to enter UW owned or leased confined spaces. Departments/units/organizations must review existing spaces, evaluation records, labeling of spaces, and entry procedures to meet the current requirements.

For more information on confined spaces contact EH&S Occupational Safety and Health at 206.543.7388 or ehsdept@uw.edu.