A confined space is defined as a place
All three criteria have to be met before a space is defined as a confined space.
Hazards in confined spaces can be categorized as either physical hazards or atmospheric hazards.
Physical hazards often present a greater danger inside an enclosed space than they do outside. Examples include:
Dangerous atmospheres have killed those working in confined spaces as well as those attempting rescue. Atmospheric hazards include:
(For more info, download the chapter on Confined Spaces from IHSA's Construction Health and Safety Manual.)
Before each time that a worker enters a confined space, a competent worker must perform a written hazard assessment. The hazard assessment must take into account
- the hazards that may exist in the confined space
- the hazards that may develop while work is performed inside the confined space
- general safety hazards in the confined space.
Confined Space Program
Before letting a worker enter a confined space, the employer must develop a written confined space program meeting the requirements of the Construction Regulation (Part II.1, Confined Spaces, sections 221.1 to 221.19). The employer must maintain the program.
The confined space program can apply to one or more confined spaces. Program elements must include
- a method of recognizing each confined space
- a method for assessing the hazards to which workers may be exposed
- a method for developing plans for controlling the hazards
- a method for training workers
- an entry permit system setting out measures and procedures to be followed when working in a confined space.
Confined Spaces Regulation
As of September 30, 2006, sections 60-63 of the Construction Regulation dealing with work in confined spaces was revoked and replaced with Part II.1: Confined Spaces (sections 221.1 - 221.19). This section has been harmonized with the Confined Space Regulation 632/05. Major changes included:
- new definitions
- requirement that employers have a written program for confined space entry, including how to recognize a confined space, hazard assessment, hazard controls, worker training, and an entry permit system
- requirement that constructors have a written coordination document when workers from more than one employer work in the same confined space.
View the entire confined spaces regulation in the legislation section of the website.
Download the Ministry of Labour's Confined Spaces Guideline, which provides guidance on the requirements of the Confined Space Regulation 632/05.
- Confined spaces – Definition
- Confined spaces – Dangerous atmospheres
- Confined spaces – Physical hazards
Health and Safety Manual
- Confined Spaces (Construction Health and Safety Manual – M029)
- Are you qualified to handle propane? (Health & Safety Magazine, Vol 11, Issue 4)
- Designated substances (Health & Safety Magazine, Vol 11, Issue 4)
- Application Of Waterproof Coatings In Rooms And Confined Spaces (Hazard Alert)
- Confined Spaces - Air Testing (Safety Tip)