What is a Confined Space?

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What is a Confined Space

What is a Confined Space?

Confined Space refers to any place, including any vessel, tank, container, pit, bund, chamber, cellar or any other similar space which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, creates conditions that give rise to a likelihood of an accident, harm or injury of such a nature as to require emergency action due to

the presence or reasonably foreseeable presence of:

–    flammable or explosive atmospheres
–    harmful gas, fume or vapour
–    free-flowing solid or an increased level of liquid
–    excess of oxygen
–    excessively high temperature

the lack or reasonably foreseeable lack of oxygen that

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What are the key characteristics which define a confined space?

The key characteristics of a confined space are:

  • space must be substantially enclosed
  • there must be a risk of at least one of the hazards listed above occurring within the space
  • the risk of serious injury from the hazard must be created by virtue of the enclosed nature of the space
  • the potential injury must be serious and be such as to require emergency action to rescue the person involved.

What are the legal requirements in regard to confined space entry?

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2001 cover all work in relation to confined spaces.

Regulation 5 states that:

  • A person shall not carry out work in Confined Spaces if it is reasonably practical that it could be avoided
  • If the work must be carried out Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment must be carried out prior to the work commencing
  • A person shall not enter a confined space unless there is a system of work in place that has been planned, organised, performed and maintained so as to render that work safe and without risk to health
  • Anyone entering a confined space must be provided with appropriate information, training and instruction appropriate to the particular characteristics of the proposed work activities

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What are legal requirements in relation to Emergency Arrangements for confined spaces?

Regulation 6 of the Confined Space Regulations 2001 states that:

  • A person shall not enter a confined space unless there is a suitable emergency arrangement have been made which are appropriate to the confined space in question

The emergency arrangements shall include:

  • All Practical Measures Necessary To Ensure The Health And Safety Of  Those Taking Part In The Rescue
  • The Provision Of A Suitable And Reliable Means Of Raising The Alarm In The Event Of An Emergency
  • Having All Necessary Rescue Equipment Nearby And In A Well Maintained, Good Condition
  • The Provision Of Information, Instruction And Training To All Involved In Rescue Procedures
  • The Provision Of Equipment And Training For Resuscitation Procedures If There Is A Foreseeable Risk That They Will Be Needed.

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