A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (for example, lack of oxygen).
A number of people are killed or seriously injured in the UK each year in confined spaces. These occur across a wide range of industries, from those involving complex plant through simple storage vessels.
The regulations contain the following key duties:
- avoid entry to confined spaces, e.g. by doing the work from the outside
- if entry to a confined space is unavoidable, follow a safe system of work
- put in place adequate emergency arrangements before the work star
- NI ACOP - Safe Work in Confined Spaces
- INDG 258 Safe Work in Confined Spaces (PDF format) - HSE (GB) website
Please note that this link is to the original legislation. Visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.