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.

June 21, 1995

Mr. Jon P. Moldsted
Risk Control Consultant
Willis Corroon Corporation
1735 Technology Drive
Suite 500
San Jose, California 95110-1337

Dear Mr. Moldsted:

Thank you for your letter. You requested assistance in recommending the appropriate atmospheric monitoring equipment to the wine making industry for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) standard on permit-required confined spaces (1910.146).

The permit space standard (copy enclosed) was intentionally drafted to be performance oriented to the extent feasible. Accordingly, the standard provides employers with broad, performance based requirements, but leaves the details of developing a permit space program and setting the appropriate entry procedures to the individual needs and preferences of each employer. For the most part, the standard does not contain specifications or checklists, but does provide additional guidance in the standard's appendices. Because an employer is more familiar with conditions within permit spaces in its workplace than anyone else, the employer is best qualified to determine the exact pre-entry tests necessary to ensure that the permit spaces to be entered are safe for entry.

If you feel that neither the permit space standard nor any of its appendices provide sufficient guidance in the selection of atmospheric monitoring equipment for wineries, your clients might consider availing yourselves of the free on-site consultation services which can be requested by employers (see enclosed OSHA publication 3047). Since the responding consultant will have the advantage of being able to visit the actual workplace (winery) involved, that individual can assist the employer with all aspects of the permit space standard, including the developing of the program itself, conducting pre-entry evaluations, developing entry procedures and formulating rescue procedures, as well as providing recommendations concerning the selection of atmospheric monitoring and testing equipment.

Insurance carriers may be another resource which your clients might consider. These companies are often staffed to provide on-site advice and assistance to clients regarding safety and health matters.

We appreciate your interest in occupational safety and health. Please feel free to contact us if we can provide any further assistance regarding this matter.


Thomas H. Seymour, P.E.
Acting Director, Directorate of
Safety Standards Programs


June 9, 1995

Mr. Joseph Dear
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health
200 Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Mr. Dear:

I have been requested to assist a large association of Wineries throughout the United States in complying with the "Federal Permit - Required Confined Space Entry Regulations." Accordingly, I have contacted numerous authorities throughout the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to clarify a simple question concerning these rules as they apply to the wine making industry.

To date, the responses to my question from your organization have ranged from "we have no experience in this industry" to suggesting I contact "The Wine Institute" for this information. Needless to say, after several weeks of research this is very frustrating. Since your organization wrote and enforces the standard, and perhaps has the broadest expertise and experience in this field, would you please respond to the following question in writing so that it may be distributed throughout the association.

Specifically, in addition to oxygen and combustible gas/vapor monitoring, which of the intrinsic toxic gases/vapors do you recommend winery personnel monitor (i.e. hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc.)? The principle purpose of this question is to help winery personnel select the appropriate atmospheric monitoring equipment for "standard wine making operations" to help minimize confined space atmospheric hazards.

Thank you for your time and courtesies.

Very truly yours,

Jon P. Moldsted
Risk Control Consultant