What is a confined space?

A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit.

Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork and pipelines.

It can be a space where there is a risk of death or serious injury.

The law states you must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment and decide what measures are appropriate, these might include, looking at the task and working environment, the suitability of those that will carry out the task and the materials and tools they will use as well as arrangements for emergency rescue.

The Confined spaces regulations follow these key principles:

  • Avoid entry to confined spaces if possible.
  • If entry in unavoidable follow a safe system of work.
  • Put in place emergency arrangements before the work starts.

Full guidance is available on the HSE website and we are always available to assist.

Site inspections.

It’s a good idea to do site inspections for your building site.

I just use a very simple tickbox sheet, and go around and identify the hazards and the risks.

I would identify things like, has the scaffolding been checked? Are the fire extinguishers in date? Has everybody got their PPE on? And also check the paperwork in the site manual.

So come rain or shine, come out and do your site inspections.