NJM Blog

The Six Steps to Working Safely in Confined Spaces

Termite inspector in residential crawl space inspects a pier for termites.

Sometimes, it may be necessary for a worker to enter a confined space: any area with limited means of entry or exit that is not normally fit for human habitation. Examples include large tanks, utility tunnels, elevator shafts, cooling towers, sewers, sump pits, ventilation systems, and crawl spaces.

Confined spaces can present many hazards, such as:

  • Bad air quality due to poor ventilation or contaminants

  • Material that could engulf an entrant

  • Converging walls and sloped floors that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant

  • Unguarded machinery

  • Exposed live wires

  • Heat stress

Keeping employees safe and healthy is of the highest importance. Before beginning work in a confined space, take these steps outlined by OSHA:

  • Prepare a written Confined Space Entry Permit. These permits should suit the special conditions of your worksite while meeting OSHA regulations.

  • Assure appropriate air quality or identify and obtain respiratory protection.

  • Appoint an outside look–out person.

  • Establish a means for emergency worker removal.

  • Ensure that emergency medical response is accessible in 4 minutes or less.

  • Train workers on safe entry into a confined space.

NJM was established more than 100 years ago and has remained committed to providing reliable, cost–effective, and safety–focused insurance. All NJM business policyholders receive access to loss prevention resources to help reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Connect with an agent today to get a quote for NJM Business Insurance.


“Confined Spaces.” CDC Web Archive. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. cdc.gov
“Confined Spaces.” United States Department of Labor. osha.gov
NJM Safety Program Guide, available to NJM Business Insurance policyholders from a Loss Prevention Specialist

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.