Preparing to work in a confined space

If there is a way to do the work that needs to be done without entering a confined space, it is better to do so. If it is however unavoidable to work in a confined space, there are some things you can do to prepare for it.


If you are not familiar with working in a confined space it is a good idea to consult someone who is. A risk assessment needs to be done before work is commenced in order to ensure that any possible hazards are evaluated and controlled. 



When doing the risk assessment the following needs to be kept in mind

  • | The contents of the confined space
  • | Oxygen levels in the confined space (too high or too low?)
  • | Possible traces of previous contents
  • | Residues present
  • | The construction and design of the confined space
  • | Possible contamination
  • | Sources of ignition which may occur as a result of work being done
  • | Flammable substances used or created when work will be done
  • | Adequate isolation with regards to the outside of the enclosed space
  • | Unplanned operation of plant if enclosed space is in or in close proximity to a plant
  • | Work or other activities in the surrounding area
  • | Atmosphere testing
  • | Access and exit of enclosed space


It is also important to ensure that the people doing the work is competent, have adequate training and will help manage the risks. Proper planning, risk assessment and safe execution of the work in the confined space is of utmost importance to ensure that the job gets done without injury or fatality

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