Identifying Confined Spaces
What is a confined space?
It can be any space which is substantially, or fully enclosed, where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous atmospheric conditions, substances or dangerous conditions (e.g. drowning or free-flowing solids), these are known as ‘foreseeable specified risks’ and identified in the Confined Space Regulations 1997.
Confined space entries can be located in various working environments and should your in-house teams, contractors or other workers undertake build and infrastructure projects, routine inspection checks, or maintenance tasks in these environments, they may be working in a confined space area as part of their normal duties without realising the significant risks associated with these areas if not correctly assessed.
To help you identify and classify your on-site confined spaces and the provision required to meet compliance, contact us on 01482 398521 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Confined Space Types
Some confined spaces are fairly easy to identify such as:
- Enclosed drains
- Chemical reaction vessels
- Gas storage tanks
- Grain silos
- Slurry tanks
Others can be harder to identify such as:
- Vessel cargo holds
- Slurry Pits
- Bunded Areas
- Service tunnels & ducting
Undertaking your daily duties in confined spaces, in a safe and controlled manner requires a thorough understanding of the dangers and hazards these environments present, coupled with an efficient safe system of work and a robust rescue plan in the event of an incident occurring.
Confined space working – issues to consider
If your organisation undertakes work in a confined space, you should consider the following issues:
- Confined space identification and categorisation
- Sufficient planning and preparation
- Risk Assessment of the confined space
- Identifying associated risks and hazards
- Understanding all work tasks to be undertaken within confined space (introducing further hazards)
- Confined space rescue plan
- Emergency rescue capabilities, specialist equipment and medical intervention
- Training & Competency of workers planning, managing, and entering the confined space against the National Occupational Standards
- Roles and responsibilities (including supervision)
- PPE/RPE requirements and associated equipment for safe system of work
- Legislation compliance – Confined Space Regulations 1997