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.
Where possible, avoid entry to confined spaces. Establish if the work is really necessary or if it can be done in another way that avoids the need to enter.
If entry to a confined space is unavoidable then you must follow a safe system of work. Have emergency procedures in place before work starts. The results of your
risk assessment will help you identify the risks and necessary precautions.
Make sure you have all the relevant information, knowledge and experience to carry out the work.
There needs to be a site specific
method statement in place for all employees to adhere to before the work is carried out.
You may need to have a permit to work system in place.
You will need to ensure there is suitable ventilation within the workplace. You may have to introduce temporary ventilation before you start.
If the area has restricted or no natural air supply you may have to use
breathing apparatus to provide an air supply to the user.
You may need to isolate local utilities to allow your employees to work safely such as
Ensure all your employees have suitable PPE to undertake the work.
Care should be taken to ensure that the PPE used does not introduce other hazards. These can include overheating or restricting communication or movement.
Ensure your employees have proper
Put emergency arrangements in place before any work starts. You must put suitable and sufficient measures in place to make sure employees can be rescued safely if required. You should also consider
They must be appropriate to the hazard presented by the activity.
Those who are identified as rescuers need to be
Training is critical in all work with confined spaces. Ensure that all employees are given suitable and appropriate training to carry out the workplace task. This will include emergency procedures and if required training in the
use of breathing apparatus.
You can find out more about working in confined spaces on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
Visit the HSE site for more guidance on working in confined spaces
Visit the HSE site for guidance on managing confined spaces on farms
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team