Klass Looch Associates

Employer OHS Champion since 1986 

 

OHS Act. General Safety Regulation. Work in confined spaces.

(1) An employer or user of machinery shall take steps to ensure that a confined space is entered by an employee or other person only after the air therein has been tested and evaluated by a person who is competent to pronounce on the safety thereof, and who has certified in writing that the confined space is safe and will remain safe while any person is in the confined space, taking into account the nature and duration of the work to be performed therein.

(2) Where the provisions of subregulation (1) cannot be complied with, the employer or user of machinery, as the case may be, shall take steps to ensure that any confined space in which there exists or is likely to exist a hazardous gas, vapour, dust or fumes, or which has or is likely to have, an oxygen content of less than 20 percent by volume, is entered by an employee or other person only when -(a) subject to the provisions of subregulation (3), the confined space is purged and ventilated to provide a safe atmosphere therein and measures necessary to maintain a safe atmosphere therein have been taken; and

(b) the confined space has been isolated from all pipes, ducts and other communicating openings by means of effective blanking other than the shutting or locking of a valve or a cock, or, if this is not practicable, only when all valves and cocks which are a potential source of danger have been locked and securely fastened by means of chains and padlocks.

(3) Where the provisions of subregulation (2)(a) cannot be complied with, the employer or use of machinery shall take steps to ensure that the confined space in question is entered only when the employee or person entering is using breathing apparatus of a type approved by the chief inspector and, further, that -(a) the provisions of subregulation (2)(b) are complied with;

(b) any employee or person entering the confined space is using a safety harness or other similar equipment to which a rope is securely attached which reaches beyond the access to the confined space, and the free end of which is attended to by a person referred to in paragraph (c);

(c) at least one other person trained in resuscitation is and remains in attendance immediately outside the entrance of the confined space in order to assist or remove any person or persons from the confined space, if necessary, and

(d) effective apparatus for breathing and resuscitation of a type approved by the chief inspector is available immediately outside the confined space.

(4) An employer or user of machinery shall take steps to ensure that all persons vacate a confined space on completion of any work therein.

(5) Where the hazardous gas, vapour, dust or fumes contemplated in subregulation (2) are of an explosive or flammable nature, an employer or user of machinery shall further take steps to ensure that such a confined space is entered only if -(a) the concentration of gas, vapour, dust or fumes does not exceed 25 percent of the lower explosive limit of the gas, vapour, dust or fumes concerned where the work to be performed is of such a nature that it does not create a source of ignition, or

(b) such concentration does not exceed 10 percent of the lower explosive limit of the gas, vapour, dust or fumes where other work is performed.

(6) The provisions of this regulation shall mutatis mutandis also apply, in so far as they can be so applied, to any work which is performed in any place or space on the outside of and bordering on or in the immediate vicinity of, any confined space, and in which place or space, owing to its proximity to the confined space, any hazardous article, oxygen-deficient atmosphere or dangerous concentration of gas, vapour, dust or fumes may occur or be present.

"confined space" means an enclosed, restricted or limited space in which because of its construction, location or contents, or any work activity carried on therein, a hazardous substance may accumulate or an oxygen deficient atmosphere may occur, and includes any chamber, tunnel, pipe, pit, sewer, container, valve, pump, sump or similar construction, equipment, machinery or object in which a dangerous liquid or a dangerous concentration of gas, vapour, dust or fumes may be present.