Safety Blog

Confined Space Toolbox Talk

01 Jun 2020 - Flaaim

Confined spaces are dangerous, within the UK on average 15 people are killed each year, the reason for these deaths and accidents when working in confined spaces is ignorance, ignorance of the dangers associated with confined spaces

What is a confined space?

The regulations determine a confined space as the following - any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar place in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a risk of:

  1. Serious injury, to any person at work, arising from fire or explosion (oxygen enriched)
  2. Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation of any person from the following:
    • Increase of body temperature
    • Lack of oxygen
    • Gas
    • Fume
    • Vapour
  3. Drowning of any person at work arising from an increase in the level of liquid or a free flowing solid.

Before entering a confined space

  1. Don’t enter a confined space unless your supervisor has told you too
  2. Check for flammable or toxic gases and the oxygen content of the atmosphere
    • Are you familiar with the gas detector?
  3. Are you fit and well enough?
  4. Would any facial hair prevent a seal around the mask?
  5. Carry out the checks on your escape breathing apparatus (10min Type):
  6. Bag
    • Bag/webbing intact?
    • Pull cord attached to the lid?
  7. Air cylinder/unit within calibration?
  8. Signs of damage to cylinder/valve?
  9. Capacity - needle on gauge showing (Green) full?
  10. Hoses & Valves - any cuts or abrasions?
  11. Check all O-rings are in place?
  12. Mask:
    • Face sealing rubber any wear or cuts?
    • All straps/buckles secure, extended and undamaged?
    • Visor undamaged?
    • ‘Nose’ part undamaged
    • All air ports are free
  13. Hood Type
    • Check hood for signs of wear
    • Check condition of elasticated neckband.
  14. Check Harness and Tripod/winch before use if applicable.

Working in a Confined Space

  1. Ensure you have been inducted on the relevant Method Statement/Risk Assessment
  2. Have a valid Confined spaces permit and adhere to the permit
  3. Wear the appropriate PPE as required
  4. Only use intrinsically safe electrical equipment and torches
  5. Ensure plant that generate exhaust fumes are located away from the confined space
  6. ENSURE THERE IS A TOP MAN AT ALL TIMES
  7. Carry Gas Detector at all times
  8. Don’t switch off Gas detectors during breaks (They work on cumulative exposure, switching off would
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