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.

August 4, 1993

Mr. Paul C. Wallick
Pate Engineers, Inc.
13403 Northwest Freeway
Houston, Texas 77040-6071

Dear Mr. Wallick:

Thank you for your letter of July 1 requesting information about the applicability of the OSHA Standard on Permit-Required Confined Spaces for General Industry to projects which were in progress when this standard went into effect on April 15, 1993.

Notice of the promulgation of the final rule on this standard was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 1993. This allowed ample time for ongoing projects to comply.

In the Notice of Proposed Rule Making which was published in June 5, 1989 (54 FR 24080) OSHA determined based on its review of accident data, that asphyxiation is the leading cause of death in confined spaces. This standard will have an impact on those facilities that have not yet developed permit-required confined spaces programs, despite the long history of this serious hazard.

We hope that this will clarify your concerns and help you to maintain a safe workplace. Thank you for your interest in complying with this standard.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

July 1, 1993

Mr. Roger A. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Program
U.S. Department of Labor - O.S.H.A.
Room N-3468
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Reference: O.S.H.A. - Confined Space Entry Rule

Dear Mr. Clark:

This letter is in reference to O.S.H.A.'s standard for confined spaces, "Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.146", which went into effect April 15, 1993, and contains the requirements for practices and procedures to protect employees in general industry from the hazards of entry into permit-required confined spaces. We have spoken with Mr. Chap Pierce in the O.S.H.A. Office of Safety Standard regarding the "grandfathering" of existing projects under this regulation and were instructed to pose our question in writing to you for a written response. Therefore we ask and would appreciate a response to the following:

Is the above referenced Confined Space Entry Rule applicable to all on-going projects even though said projects started prior to April 15, 1993?

We appreciate your written response as soon as possible.

Very truly yours,


Paul C. Wallick, P.E.
Project Engineer