This testimony concerned the activities of NIOSH as they relate to the prevention of fatalities in confined spaces. The NIOSH Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (FACE) program has investigated 44 incidents resulting in 70 fatalities in 5 years. FACE, a passive surveillance system, relies on reports from a limited number of reporting states and, therefore, represents only a limited percentage of the total concurrence of confined space deaths in the United States. These fatalities appeared to often involve a failure to post a warning on the confined space, a failure of the victim to recognize the space as a confined space hazard, a failure to monitor and ventilate the atmosphere before entry, and well intentioned but ill conceived rescue attempts. The highest risk for confined space fatalities were those spaces where the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere was not known or recognized. NIOSH recommended that workers be made aware of the dangers involved in entering a confined space through proper training and posting of the space, that confined spaces be classified in at least three classifications to determine appropriate work practices, that purging and ventilation be required, and that those spaces where the potential atmospheric hazard is oxygen deficiency be regulated as a separate class.