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 http://www.osha.gov.

October 22, 1993

Robert R. Bee, CIH
Industrial Hygiene Manager
Walt Disney World Co.
Post Office Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-1000

Dear Mr. Bee:

This is in further response to your letter of May 18, requesting a written interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.146 - Permit Required Confined Space Standard (PRCS) as it applies to certain Walt Disney World Co. operations. Please accept our apology for the delay in the response.

Question No.1 has four sub-questions all seeking specification for the performance term "has limited or restricted means for entry or exit" which we believe can be answered by the following concept:

The path by which the entrant must travel out of a space to reach an area of safety must not present a physical barrier which would impede self-rescue.

Question No.2 had four additional sub-questions seeking specification for the "Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy" component on the definition of confined space.

The preamble of the (PRCS) at page 4478 reflects OSHA's position: "OSHA believes that the final rule's definition properly places the focus on the design of the space, which is the key to whether a human can occupy the space under normal operating conditions." If, when the space was originally designed or subsequently redesigned, the designer took into consideration that humans would be entering the space and provided for the human occupancy (such as: provided ventilation, lighting, sufficient room to accomplish the anticipated task, etc.), then the space would be designed for employee occupancy.

Question No.3 relates to a specific example the Communicore Fountain pump room.

We are not in a position to certify whether a space is a confined space within the meaning of the standard. However, to give you general guidance on how the standard works, we can tell you that, based on the information provided, the Communicore Fountain pump room does not appear to be a confined space as it seems to lack all three elements necessary to meet the definition of confined space. The two fixed industrial ladders at the separate points of entry/exit would be considered as "limited or restricted means for entry and exit". However, it is apparently designed for continuous human occupancy since: it has two points of entry and exit separate and remote from one another; has a provision for fresh air in connection with the pump room's air conditioning equipment; and the space was designed to house equipment requiring regularly scheduled maintenance.

We stress that in the absence of an on-site inspection by one of our Compliance Safety and Health Officers, we are not in a position to definitively state whether we would consider this room to be a confined space.

Thank you for your patience. Should you have further questions concerning this response, please contact Mr. Arthur Buchanan or Don Kallstrom in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance (202) 219-8031.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs