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Industrial worker wearing breathing aperatus descending into a storage tank.
Get in easily. Get out safely.

The know-how to navigate job sites with confined spaces.

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From potentially toxic atmospheres, to physically hazardous conditions such as extreme temperatures, unstable materials, or the potential for falls, confined spaces often present unseen challenges.

  • Confined spaces are areas that meet all of the following criteria:

    • Large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs
    • Limited or restricted means for entry or exit
    • Not designed for continuous occupancy

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Confined spaces. Unique challenges.

No two confined spaces are exactly alike. Type, size and hazards vary greatly, along with different standards, regulations and company policies that can apply to each working environment.

  • Worker in protective respiratory gear, coveralls and hard hat looking up from confined space

    Common types of confined spaces

    Safely handling entries and exits starts with identifying your work spaces:

    • Storage tanks
    • Culverts
    • Tunnels
    • Elevator shafts
    • Ductwork
    • Trench box
    • Utility vaults
  • Workers in protective gear using a confined space entry davit.

    Where they are found

    Working safely in confined spaces is universal, but different industries present their own challenges:

    • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
    • Chemical manufacturing
    • Food and beverage manufacturing
    • Oil and gas
    • Waste water treatment
  • Worker descending into a confined space storage tank wearing protective gear and breathing aparatus.

    Hazards workers face

    Each year, an average of 96 deaths occur within confined spaces in the United States alone:

    Physical Hazards (61% of deaths):

    • Heat
    • Impact
    • Falls
    • Engulfment


    Atmospheric Hazards (34% of deaths):

    • Oxygen deficiency
    • Toxic chemicals
    • Combustible dust

    (Source: rocorescue.com)

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Developing a Confined Space Plan

Be ready before getting to work, so your team can safely handle all entries and exits.

  • Four panels showing illustrations of workers preparing for and entering a confined space.

    Infographic: Four steps of a plan

    Before working in a confined space, always start with:

    • A site evaluation
    • Identification of proper safety equipment and other required tools
    • A trained rescue team that has developed a pre-planning program
    • Certified training that involves practice and hands-on experience for all parties who will work in and around a confined space

    Plan, Access, Work Inside, and Rescue & Retrieval: Learn what they mean and how to address each step.

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Confined Space Products and Training

Trust your team and your tools. Workers must have adequate preparation and experience in the work involved to function safely in confined spaces.

  • Composite image of confined space worker safety equipment.

    Equipment You Can Trust

    Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and your access and rescue equipment can mean the difference between getting in and out safely or not.

    Confined Space entry/retrieval equipment

  • Confined space training professional Tim Metzger speaking to class about davit

    Training for Work and Rescue

    Training can help ensure confined space entrants, attendants, supervisors, and rescuers are aware of hazards they may face and know how to carry out their job safely. 3M can support you with our instructor-led Confined Space courses.

    Elevate your knowledge by entering to win a Confined Space Industrial Rescuer course.

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Confined Space Videos

Many health and safety challenges are associated with confined spaces. We’re here to help with a comprehensive collection of videos

  • Product Set-Up Video Series

    You’ve selected the right equipment. See how to use it before stepping on the job.

  • Confined Space Educational Video Series

    Growing library for all roles and responsibilities in and around a confined space

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