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.

January 13, 1994

Alton M. McKissick
Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon
162 Third Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

Dear Mr. McKissick:

This is in response to your letter of December 16, 1993 to James Foster asking for clarification on three matters pertaining to confined space entry.

1. As stated in 29 CFR 1910.146(b) under definitions, a non-permit confined space is a confined space that does not contain or, with respect to atmospheric hazards, have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm.

2. All OSHA standards are candidates to serve as a basis for issuing appropriate citations for any violations which occur in non-permit confined spaces.

3. Although there is no prohibition against keeping a log of confined space entries, the standard requires a confined space entry permit. A log may never be substituted for the required permit.

We hope this will resolve your concerns about permit-required confined spaces. If you have additional questions, please contact [the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850].


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs




December 16, 1993




Mr. James F. Foster
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Information and Consumer Affairs
Room N3647
Washington, D.C. 20210


Dear Mr. Foster:

I need clarification on three questions concerning confined space entry. They are as follows:

1. What is a "non-permit confined space" referred to in 29 CFR 1910.146?

2. Are there OSHA regulations specific for non-permitted confined spaces? If so, I would appreciate receiving a copy.

3. When may a log be substituted for a confined space entry permit (when is a log appropriate for confined space entry)?

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please contact me at (615) 254-1500.


Alton M. McKissick, CIH