Hazards for employees working in confined spaces and precautions you can take
Work in confined spaces can be dangerous. You need to be aware of the risks and know how to prevent them.
Use the links below to find information on common hazards for employees working in confined spaces and how to assess these. You will also find information about precautions you can take and your legal duties.
Work in confined spaces can create a risk of death or serious injury. This could be from exposure to hazardous substances or dangerous conditions such as lack of oxygen or a build up of water.
People are killed and seriously injured working in confined spaces. This includes people trying to conduct rescues without the proper training or equipment. Where possible, avoid the need to work in confined spaces by using remote access methods.
Hazards when working in confined spaces include
There is a risk with gas, fumes or vapours filling the space as these can be flammable or poisonous.
Before conducting any work in potentially confined spaces, you should read and understand the Health and Safety Executive's regulations and guidance. If you are uncertain, seek professional help.
You may need to appoint competent people to help manage the risks and ensure that employees are adequately trained and instructed.
Where entry to a confined space is unavoidable, a thorough risk assessment should be carried out to devise a safe system of work. You should consider the
You should also consider the working environment, including
Working materials also need to be considered. This includes
Where the work being carried out is considered to be complex, you should provide more detail to those involved in the form of a method statement. This includes how the job is to be carried out and the how the risks are managed.
Whilst not a legal requirement, a method statement describes, in a logical way, exactly how a job is to be carried out to ensure safety for all involved. You should also consider the application of a permit to work system.
Use our method statement form
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team