Home - 10 tips to reduce risk for workers in confined spaces

UpdatesJan 24, 2014

10 tips to reduce risk for workers in confined spaces

If you have workers who carry out any of their work tasks for you in confined spaces, there is an increased level of risk that this causes. For example, a confined space may be low in oxygen, contain a toxic atmosphere or pose a potential engulfment or entrapment risk.

By Joanna Weekes

If you have workers who carry out any of their work tasks for you in confined spaces, there is an increased level of risk that this causes. For example, a confined space may be low in oxygen, contain a toxic atmosphere or pose a potential engulfment or entrapment risk.

A confined space can be any enclosed structure that has limited access and may contain a potentially harmful atmosphere. Examples of confined spaces include tanks, pits, chimneys, silos, underground sewers, tunnels and wells (a mineshaft or the workings of a mine are not included in the definition of a confined space).

Always eliminate the need for working in a confined space if possible. Other hazards such as noise, chemicals, inadequate ventilation, heat, cold, etc. can pose much higher risks within confined spaces. Try to design your workplace so that maintenance and monitoring equipment is not situated in a confined space (this will minimise the need for entering a confined space).

If possible, it is always best to remove the need for a person to enter the confined space. But if this is not possible, control measures need to be put into place to minimise the risk to your workers.

Reducing the risk of working in confined spaces

Use the following tips to reduce the risk associated with working in confined spaces:

Any work performed in a confined space should be performed in accordance with the requirements of Safe Working in a Confined Space – Australian Standard AS2865-1995.

The Code of Practice, Confined Spaces, provides practical guidance for managing the risks of confined spaces and has a helpful flow chart to assist in identifying confined spaces.

And as usual, if you are ever in doubt of your ability to assess and manage the risks associated with confined spaces, engage a trained health and safety consultant.

Remember, all workers required to work in confined spaces must undergo training from a health and safety consultant about:

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