What is a confined space?

Because of the dangers of working in dangerous environments, such as confined spaces and hazardous atmospheres, it can be very dangerous. Workers must use risk management methods to avoid the potential health hazards of working in confined areas. This article will provide a detailed look at the requirements to work in confined spaces. 

What is a confined space?

Constrained spaces are areas with limited for people or air. These spaces can be fully or partially enclosed. They may include one or more details such as:

  • The space was not designed for humans.
  • The space is intended to maintain normal atmospheric pressure during occupation.
  • This space presents a safety or health risk.

A confined space is not meant for humans. It can pose a safety or health risk to humans who enter it. A confined space could have dangerous levels of airborne contaminants or unsafe oxygen levels.

Tanks, pits and ducts can be confined spaces. There is less room for air circulation in these spaces, which can increase the risk of dangerous oxygen levels. There are other potential safety hazards to working in confined spaces:

  • Entry or exit restrictions
  • Harmful airborne contaminants
  • Unsafe oxygen level
  • Explosion and fire
  • Engulfment
  • Biological dangers
  • Mechanical hazards
  • Electrical hazards

The environment and the type of confined space will determine which hazards are present. An underground sewer, for example, may pose different hazards than working in a vat or chimney.

What are the Confined Space Entry Permit Requirements

Regulation 67 of WHS Act states that a person operating a business or undertaking (PCBU), must not permit workers to enter a confined area without an entry permit. An entry permit allows for a formal inspection of the confined area. This permits workers to make sure that safety precautions are taken.

The Confined Spaces Code of Practice requires that the permit be issued to anyone who has had relevant training or has sufficient experience. This permit is required in situations where workers are unable to avoid entering a confined space.

Required Permits for Entry into Confined Space

These details and information must be included in an entry permit for confined spaces:

  • Identification of the restricted space to which the permit is applicable
  • Names of all workers allowed to enter the space
  • The time the permit is valid
  • Here is a list of risk management measures

The permit must clearly identify the areas where work will be done. One permit can be used to access multiple spaces, or one space with multiple access points. Also, the permit must list all risk control measures workers will need to follow and implement. Safety monitoring, atmosphere purging, ventilation, signage, cleaning and signage are all possible control measures. Personal protective equipment may also be required for workers. It is important to display the permit in a prominent place. The permit should be prominently displayed. It should also contain a record of who entered and left the restricted space.

How to prepare for work in a restricted space

Workers must take precautions when entering restricted spaces. Workers can use a risk assessment to help identify potential hazards and to plan for safer working environments. These components are necessary to minimize the risk of working in confined spaces.

  • Isolation
  • Purge the atmosphere
  • Ventilation
  • Protective equipment for the respiratory system
  • Communication
  • Safety monitoring
  • Procedures for entry and exit
  • Signs and barricades
  • Instruction and training

First, workers must explore isolation methods. This could include isolating liquids, gases, and vapours. To reduce health hazards from hazardous atmospheres, atmospheric purging is often used. Other options include increasing ventilation and requiring workers wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

To detect any changes in the atmosphere such as an increase or sudden loss of oxygen, safety monitoring is essential. Monitoring on an ongoing basis ensures workers are able to reach areas with safe oxygen levels and reduces the chance of adverse health effects.

Also, exit and entry procedures should be clearly explained. This could include requiring workers sign in and out each time they enter or exit the restricted space. This permit could also include details about emergency procedures and rescue equipment.

Signage and barricades are required for all confined spaces. To inform people about the existence of a confined area or work being done, signage is required. Barricades keep unauthorised persons out of the confined space.

How long does a Confined Space Ticket last?

A permit for confined space (permit) can only be valid for one shift or uninterrupted work period. A new permit must be issued if the team ceases work for the day.

On the permit, the period for which the permit will remain in effect is noted. The permit must be renewed each shift, or after any change in work procedures.

Is Confined Space Training Enduring?

Specific control measures are required for working in confined spaces, such as breathing apparatus and safety equipment. The entry permit details the steps workers need to follow. It also includes any engineering control methods or monitoring requirements. Training is required to learn how to identify the best risk control methods.

Confined spaces training is essential if you want stay current with all the safety regulations in confined spaces. OHS.com.au is the best choice for all of your training needs. We provide reliable WHS safety training on a wide range of topics, even confined spaces.

Get confined space training now!

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