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Confined Space

Legislation & Your Responsibilities

For any work to be undertaken within a confined space environment it is essential all work is properly planned and managed before and during the tasks. To manage this effectively personnel need to have an understanding of the Confined Space Regulations 1997 to ensure compliance. This level of training would be covered in ‘Manage Work in Confined Spaces’ against the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and is a great start to demonstrate competency within your business.

Confined space entry

One of the first questions asked should be ‘do we actually need to enter the confined space to do the given task, and in doing so places personnel at increased risk?’  

Risk assessments to meet legislative requirements

  • Who is deemed ‘competent’ within your organisation to plan and manage the work?
  • Who is assessing the risks and hazards associated with the confined space, and are they trained to effectively carry out this role?
  • Are the measures to mitigate risk challenged throughout the process (the majority of incidents within confined spaces are from a lack of identification or mitigation of risks and hazards)
  • Would your current Risk Assessment and operating procedures be classed as ‘suitable and sufficient’ against the requirements of the Confined Space Regulations 1997?

Key considerations

  • Are the personnel responsible to Plan, Manage, and Work in the confined space trained and competent (refer to National Occupational Standards)
  • Does the Safe System of Work consider all elements of the task, including entry recording, permit controls, PPE/RPE requirements, atmospheric testing & recording, communications, minimising personnel in the risk area etc?
  • Has an ‘achievable’ Rescue Plan been documented and communicated to the working team? This should include extraction of casualties/injured party to ground floor area in ‘fresh air’
  • Are any ‘Rescuers’ appropriately trained, competent and equipped (including medical intervention)

confined space regulations set the standards for safe working practices in confined spaces

Rescue plans

  • Have you got rescue plans?
  • Are they suitable and sufficient?
  • Are they achievable
  • Have they been tested?
  • Do they require specialist training or equipment to be implemented?