What is a Confined Space?

A confined space differs in every situation or territory. It is usually recognized as an area that contains a limited or restricted means of entry or exit. This space could accommodate a person to enter and perform tasks but is not suitable or designed for continuous occupancy.

Confined Space Risks and Hazards

A confined space may pose a potential risk to an individual’s health and safety. These risks and hazards associated with confined spaces may include an atmosphere that doesn’t contain safe oxygen levels, contaminants such as airborne gases, dust, and vapors which could cause injury from fire or explosion. Identifying hazards involves finding all the things and situations that could potentially cause harm to people.

Confined space hazards can be grouped into the following categories, namely, oxygen-deficient atmospheres, flammable atmospheres, toxic atmospheres, and mechanical and physical hazards.

Every confined space must be evaluated for these types of hazards. The three types of atmospheric hazards are often the most difficult to identify since they might not be detected without a gas monitor’s assistance.

Confined spaces are commonly found in vats, tanks, pits, pipes, ducts, flues, chimneys, silos, containers, pressure vessels, underground sewers, wet or dry wells, shafts, trenches, tunnels, or other similar enclosed or partially enclosed structures when these examples meet the definition of a confined space in the model WHS Regulations.

A PCBU must ensure that the concentration of airborne contaminants does not exceed workplace exposure standards.

Air monitoring should be done if the airborne concentration of a substance or mixture exceeds the relevant exposure standard. Unsafe oxygen levels displaced by gases produced during biological processes such as methane in a sewer could also put workers at risk.

An accidental ignition caused by a sparking electrical tool or static on a person into a confined space with a flammable atmosphere may result in an explosion. Additionally, engulfment or immersion by material like plastics, liquids, grains, coal, fly ash, animal feeds, and sewage may occur in confined spaces and results in asphyxiation. 

Managing risks associated with Confined Space

With all these hazards and risks associated with confined spaces, organizations or departments must assess their workplaces to identify hazards. Equipment should be selected carefully to manage and provide protection against the threats identified during the risk assessment. 

Needing your staff to conduct height safety training?

Platinum Safety can offer you the option to either come and train at our safety training centre located at 2/6 Weld Street Prestons NSW 2170 or we can travel out to your location and conduct the training onsite at your workplace.

We specialize in confined space education and ensure you are safe and compliant before, during, and after employees work and enter confined spaces. Click here to learn more about our numerous training courses for confined space!

LEARN MORE