Looking up at worker entering confined space using a 3M™ Fall Protection system.

Confined space solutions

Get the know-how to navigate job sites with confined spaces.


From potentially toxic atmospheres, to physically hazardous conditions such as extreme temperatures, unstable materials, or the potential for falls, confined spaces often present unseen challenges.

Confined spaces. Unique challenges.

No two confined spaces are exactly alike. Type, size and hazards vary greatly, along with different standards, regulations and company policies that can apply to each working environment.

  • Front view of worker in confined space.
    Common types of confined spaces

    Safely handling entries and exits starts with identifying your work spaces:

    An icon of a square vent.
    An icon of a manhole cover.
    An icon of a pipe.


    Storage tanks
    Elevator shafts
    Trench boxes
    Utility vaults


  • Looking up at worker entering confined space using a 3M™ Fall Protection system.
    Where they are found

    Working safely in confined spaces is universal, but different industries present their own challenges:

    Manufacturing icon.
    Chemical manufacturing icon.
    Waste and water treatment icon.


    Pharmaceutical manufacturing
    Chemical manufacturing
    Food and beverage manufacturing
    Oil and gas
    Waste water treatment

  • Front view of two workers with one exiting a confined space.
    Hazards workers face

    Each year, an average of 100 deaths occur within confined spaces in Canada alone:

    Physical Hazards (50% of deaths):

    Impact icon.
    Fall icon.
    Engulfment icon.



    Atmospheric Hazards (60% of deaths):

    Combustible dust icon.
    Oxygen deficiency icon.
    Toxic chemical icon.


    Oxygen deficiency
    Toxic chemicals
    Combustible dust


    (Source: rocorescue.com)

Confined spaces resources


Confined space solutions

3M offers a wide range of products and training solutions for confined space entry. 

  • The 3M™ DBI-SALA® Advanced Series Hoist Systems are designed for manhole and confined space entry/retrieval applications. These units are constructed of lightweight materials including high-strength aluminum. 

  • The Ska-Pak AT is our most advanced supplied-air respirator with the added benefit of a patented, automatic, hands-free air transfer capability. Available with either a padded nylon or padded kevlar harness, or an integrated full-body harness for fall protection.

  • Hearing protector with built-in analog and digital programmable two-way communication radio, level-dependent hearing protection, Bluetooth® functionality and a jack to connect to external devices.


  • A purple square.

    Confined Space I

    Confined Spaces Level 1


    This one-day course addresses basic principles and concepts of confined space safety and the roles of the attendant and entrant in the process. 

  • A purple square.

    Confined Space II

    Confined Spaces Level 2



    This two-day course covers various aspects of an on-site confined space program. Participants will learn principles required to safely identify, assess, monitor, and/or enter the confined spaces they may encounter on their job site. 

  • A purple square.

    Rescue I

    Confined Spaces Rescue Level 1



    This one-day course addresses basic principles and concepts of confined space entry rescue for standard confined space locations. 

  • A purple square.

    Rescue II

    Confined Spaces Rescue Level 2



    This two-day course addresses principles and concepts of confined space entry rescue for standard and complex confined space locations.


  • How important is it to label or have signs outside of a confined space?
    Certain situations are required by law to have confined space signage. From a corporate perspective, if your corporate regimen requires workers to identify confined spaces that require internal permits (not necessarily ones that are legally required), it should be obvious where the confined space is. However, not all companies are knowledgeable enough to understand where this type of signage is required and where it should be applied, even if there is a legal requirement for it.
  • An SRL with retrieval (3 way) is designed to be used for fall protection while entering and exiting a confined space. The emergency winch option is only to be used for the extraction of a worker in an emergency situation. The emergency winch is not designed to be used on a regular basis as a means of entering a confined space. If access is not available and a winch is the best option, then an advanced or digital winch is the ideal choice.
  • A davit arm or tripod entry system each has the capability to attach two separate systems, provided that you have the required additional mounting brackets. However, the system is only designed to accommodate one worker at a time. This means that worker A will need to enter the space and be off the system before worker B can enter. The same is true in the case of rescue where you would need to extract the first worker followed by the second.
  • While it is always best to remain attached to a rescue system while in a confined space, practicality doesn’t always allow it. If a worker cannot perform the work while being attached, they can disconnect from the system. However, your rescue plan may have to be amended to accommodate this disconnection.
  • Yes. The attendant should be tied off using a fall protection system while near the entry.
  • While it is certainly preferred that a confined space rescue plan be a non-entry rescue, it is often not feasible. Each entry must be evaluated and then determined whether a non-entry rescue is possible or if a more detailed plan should be put into place. This evaluation needs to be done before entry in the confined space occurs.

Request a site visit

Every confined space is different. Let a confined space specialist from 3M help you tailor a solution that offers the safety, compliance, reliability and efficient cost-of-ownership you need. A great way to learn what you need is through an in-person site visit.

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