Open navigation

A man cleaning inside a wine tank

Confined spaces are those that are large enough to enter and perform work inside; have a limited or restricted means of entry or exit; and yet are not designed for continuous human occupancy. They’re found in industrial settings, commercial facilities, hospitals, universities, and even on farms – and include various types of tanks, cargo holds on ships, silos, utility vaults, boilers, sewer and water manholes, elevator shafts, dumpsters, tunnels, and more.

Death and injuries result from entrapment and drowning due to asphyxiation and toxic chemical exposure. In many of these incidents, it is not just the person entering the confined space who dies, but also the “rescuer” who may be unaware of the hazard.


NFPA research indicates that fire departments conducted an average of 580 confined space rescues per year during 2014-2016.  


Our related standards
  • NFPA 350, Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work
  • NFPA 1986, Standard on Respiratory Protection Equipment for Tactical and Technical Operations
  • NFPA 1989, Standard on Breathing Air Quality for Emergency Services Respiratory Protection
  • NFPA 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels
  • NFPA 1006, Standard for Technical Rescue Personnel Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1006, Standard for Technical Rescue Personnel Professional Qualifications, Spanish Edition
  • NFPA 1670, Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents
Additional fact sheets


Marine chemists certification

NFPA Certificated Marine Chemists are holders of a valid Certificate in accordance with the Rules for the Certification and Recertification of Marine Chemists, establishing they are qualified to determine whether entry and work within confined spaces on marine vessels and within shipyards may be undertaken safely in accordance with NFPA 306. NFPA Marine Chemists are distinguished as the only independent specialists incorporated by name in both U. S. Department of Labor (OSHA) requirements for shipyard employment and U. S. Coast Guard hot work regulations.


Also available: Maritime Confined Space Safe Practices Seminar
The 3-day training seminar is based on OSHA’s maritime confined space standard, 29 CFR 1915, Subpart B and NFPA 306.

More information