OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

May 10, 1993

Ms. Diane E. Davis
Regulatory Specialist
Buckeye International Inc.
2700 Wagner Place
Maryland Heights, Missouri 63043-3471

Dear Ms. Davis:

Thank you for your letter of February 18, sent to Mr. James Foster of the Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, requesting clarification of paragraphs (c)(5) and (c)(7) of the Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS) standard for a specific PRCS in your workplace. Please accept our apologies for the delay in this response.

To restate the workplace condition posed in your letter:

There is a permit space open-top mixer in which cleaning chemicals are manufactured. Fresh air can be forced into the precleaned mixer to control any atmospheric hazards and the off-on switch can be locked out to eliminate the hazard created by the mixing blades.

For the condition described above, the procedures set forth in paragraph (c)(5)(ii) would be the appropriate procedures to be followed, but only after all the conditions required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) have been met.

The reclassification from permit-required to non-permit allowed by paragraph (c)(7) is only for those PRCS which pose no actual or potential atmospheric hazards. Control of atmospheric hazard through forced air ventilation does not constitute elimination of the hazards. Paragraph (c)(5) covers permit space entry where the employer can demonstrate that forced ventilation alone will control all hazards in the space.

If you have further question concerning this workplace condition or other questions on the Permit-Required Confined Space Standard, please contact the OSHA Regional Office in Kansas City at [(816) 426-5861].


Raymond Donnelly, Director
Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance

[Corrected 11/5/02]