Confined spaces require special attention as there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions

For this reason, always follow the guidance given in the Confined Spaces Regulations and the associated Code of Practice [L101].  Examples of typical confined spaces are given in the general guidance on this website.

A Risk Assessment that takes into account the hazards likely to be encountered in the confined space must be undertaken. This must consider the need for testing the atmosphere; a safe means of getting into and out of the space, as well as suitable emergency rescue arrangements.

Remember, the main hazards associated with confined spaces are fumes from plant or process entering the space, which could result in:

  • asphyxiation due to a lack of oxygen
  • poisoning by toxic substances or fumes
  • explosions due to gases, fumes, dusts
  • fire due to flammable liquids, oxygen enrichment, etc
  • electrocution from unstable equipment
  • drowning
  • difficulties of rescuing injured personnel

Use the information from the Risk Assessment to sort out the most effective procedures to control the work. These may include the use of a permit-to-work system, obtaining the correct equipment and providing information, instruction and training to those doing the work. 

The Supervisor must make sure that all of the necessary equipment, including suitable rescue and first aid equipment, is available, in accordance with the planned procedures, before any person enters a confined space.

The Supervisor must also make sure that the permit-to-work system and the planned procedures are followed and that only authorised persons are permitted to enter the confined space.

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