What is a confined space?

A confined space is defined by the HSE as

an area which is substantially enclosed and one in which serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the confined space or near to space, such as a lack of oxygen.

It is important to note that a confined space is not necessarily entirely enclosed.

What legislation covers work in confined spaces?

In addition to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, work in confined spaces is further regulated by The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These place a duty on employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all work activities for the purpose of deciding what measures are necessary for safety.

What are the employer’s requirements?

The Confined Spaces Regulations require employers to take sufficient measures to :

  • Avoid entry to confined spaces where possible.
  • Implement a safe system of work if entry to a confined space is unavoidable.
  • Ensure adequate emergency arrangements are in place before the work starts.

The nature of a confined space and it risks vary greatly depending on the type of space, substances present.

Examples of areas which could be, or could become confined spaces are;
  • Work in tanks or silo’s,
  • Press pits,
  • Excavations
Confined space task examples, (not limited to);
  • Cleaning,
  • Maintenance
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Agriculture
  • Demolition

Each environment requires an in-depth risk assessment based on its unique characteristics. Once complete, its important to ensure all those working in confined spaces understand the appropriate procedures by training staff and management.

With our Confined Space Awareness Training you can be confident that your team will be equipped with the knowledge they need, to keep safe and comply with relevant regulations.

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