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The International
International English I 1st Edition

This pocketbook gives guidance aimed at reducing the risk of injury to per.;i:m:a
entering or working in Confined Spaces.

It is intended to form part of a safety training programme and to be used as a

ready reference guide. It is not intended as a fully comprehensive manual on
and safety nor as a substitute for formal training.

The information contained in this pocketbook is intended to comply with ano re:!e::;
guidance, common practice and legislation current at the time of publication. --.
pocketbook is written and published in the UK, however most of the inf<>nna..cr a
relevant worldwide, as wherever in the world accidents occur, the causes a:e ~
common and the precautions to prevent them remain the same. The users ,:s;
always familiarise themselves with the relevant health and safety legislation~
to the work site depending on which country they are working in.

It must be borne in mind that certain jobs and certain work sites entail risk. ~
following the procedures and recommendations laid down in this pocketbook~
reduce the risk of injury, it will seldom be possible to eradicate risk compleml;.

This book contains general recommendations only. The user will require to~
himself that these recommendations are suitable for his particular circ~

All statements, technical information, diagrams and recommendations cont;,:::,e:.

this book are believed to be correct but no guarantee is given as to their~
or completeness. In particular, but without prejudice to the foregoing geoerail:j; ~
guarantee is given regarding information which has been sourced from third pa,:-.;m.
To the fullest extent permissible by law, North Sea Lifting Limited shall have no
whatsoever for any loss, claim or damage arising as a result of anything c:onG!r£C
in or omitted from this book.

@ North Sea Lifting Limited 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmittec ~

any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording without the wribr
permission of the copyright holder, application for which should be addressed to~
Company. Such written permission must also be obtained before any part ol
publication is stored in a retrieval system of any nature.


Introduction .................................................................•.................................... 5

1.0 The Regulations 6 - 14

2.0 Definitions I What is a Confined Space? ............•.••............................... 15 - 16

3.0 Typical Hazards 17

4.0 Specified Risks and Relevant Controls................................................. 18 - 22

5.0 Safe Systems of Work ...........•...•............................................................ 23 - 34

6.0 Emergency Arrangements ..........................•.......................................... 35 - 36

7 .o Dangerous Gases 37 - 39

8.0 First Aid .......................................................................•................•.•........ 40 - 42

9.0 Summary 43

Appendix 1 - Sample 'Permit to Work' form 44

No need to fear
confined spaces •••
••• if you do the proper
checks before entering!

The Confined Spaces Regulations were made under the Health and Safety at Work
Act. The full title of the regulation is: Statutory Instruments 1997 No. 1713 - Health
and Safety Regulations - The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997

The Regulations apply to all premises, people and work situations in the UK, which
are subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The main exceptions to this are working underground in a mine and shipping and
diving operations, with these industries having their own specific legislation.

Offshore installations also have their own specific procedures, rules and permit
systems controlling confined space or vessel entry operations. You will normally
have to attend a company-specific induction I training course in order to be able to
undertake work in these locations.

This pocketbook contains general guidance drawn from the Confined Spaces
Regulations, and as such offers an overview of "best practice" when working in these
environments. It is important that you are familiar with the specific arrangements in
operation at your specific workplace whether onshore, or offshore.


Risk assess the activity, plan it properly and make sure

you have a rescue plan should things go wrong!

Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety
are safer and healthier. Collaboration with your employees helps you to manage
health and safety in a practical way by:

a. helping you spot workplace risks

b. making sure health and safety controls are practical

c. increasing the level of commitment to working in a safe and healthy way

Regulation 2 - Disapplication of Regulations

This Regulation specifies where and to whom the regulations shall NOT apply. i.e.

1. the master or crew of a sea-going ship or to the employer of such persons

in respect of the normal ship-board activities carried out solely by a ship's
crew under the direction of the master; or

2. any place below ground in a mine; or

3. any diving operation to and in relation to which the Diving Operations at

Work Regulations 1981 apply by virtue of regulation 3 of those Regulations.

=-=-- .
§= -~:.-;.-=.

The safest way forward is to assume that the regulations

ALWAYSapply to YOU whatever job you have and
wherever you are working.

8 I O NSL 2015 I nsl.asooworld.com

Regulation 3 - Duties

Every employer shall:

1. ensure compliance with the provisions of these Regulations in respect of

any work carried out by his employees; and

2. ensure compliance, so far as is reasonably practicable, with the provisions

of these Regulations in respect of any work carried out by persons other
than his employees insofar as the provisions relate to matters which are
within his control.


Every self-employed person shall:

1. comply with the provisions of these Regulations in respect of his own work;

2. ensure compliance, so far as is reasonably practicable, with the provisions

of these Regulations in respect of any work carried out by other persons
insofar as the provisions relate to matters which are within his control.





The htomatior"31
Confi~ SpacePocketbook I9
The Management Regulations apply across all industries and all work

The principle duty, regulation 3, requires a duty holder to identify the measures
they need to take to manage risk by means of a suitable and sufficient assessment
of all risks to workers and any others who may be affected by their work activities
(insignificant risks can be ignored). Employers with five or more employees are
required to record the significant findings of the assessment.

The risk assessment should identify whether a space is a confined space under
these Regulations. Some spaces will become confined spaces because of the work
to be carried out in them or because of changes in their use or changes to the level
of enclosure.

Factors to be assessed:

General condition of the confined space

Previous contents



Oxygen deficiency and oxygen enrichment

Physical dimensions

Hazards arising from the work

Cleaning chemicals

Sources of ignition

Increasing temperature

Hazards from outside the space

Ingress of substances

Emergency rescue

10 I ONSl.20151 nst.ascowood.oom
Regulation 4 - Work In Confined Spaces

No person at work shall enter a confined space to carry out work for any purpose
unless it is not reasonably practicable to achieve that purpose without such entry.

In every situation, the dutyholder must consider what measures can be taken to
enable the work to be carried out properly without the need to enter the confined
space. The measures might involve modifying the confined space itself to avoid the
need for entry, or to enable the work to be undertaken from outside the space. In
many cases it will involve modifying working practices.

Without prejudice to paragraph (1) above, so far as is reasonably practicable, no

person at work shall enter or carry out any work in or (other than as a result of an
emergency) leave a confined space otherwise than in accordance with a system of
work which, in relation to any relevant specified risks, renders that work sale and
without risks to health.

Where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid entering a confined space to undertake

work, the dutyholder is responsible for ensuring that a safe system of work is used.

To be effective, a safe system of work should be in writing and set out th e work to be
done and the precautions to be taken. When written down it is a fonnal record that all
foreseeable hazards and risks have been considered in advance, and the necessary
precautions have been taken and are in place before the work is allowed to begin. 1he
safe procedure consists of all appropriate precations taken in the correct sequence.
In practice, a safe system of work will only ever be as good as its implementation.
The precautions required in a safe system of work will depend on the nature of the
confined space and the results of the risk assessment. For example, the risks involved
and precautions needed for cleaning car interiors with solvents will be relatively
straightforward by comparison with those involved when undertaking welding work
inside a chemical reactor vessel, or work in a sewer.

The main elements to consider when designing a safe system of work, and which
may form the basis of a "permit-to-work", are:

1. Supervision

2. Competence for confined spaces working

3. Communications

4. Testing I monitoring the atmosphere, retesting, monitoring & detecting equipment,

oxygen, content, competent testers, testing from the outside, emergencies

5. Gas purging

6. Ventilation

7. Removal of residues

8. Isolation from gases, liquids and other flowing materials

9. Isolation from mechanical and electrical equipment

1 0. Selection and use of suitable equipment

11. PPE and RPE

12. Portable gas cylinders and internal combustion engines

13. Gas supplied by pipes and hoses

14. Access and egress

15. Fire prevention

16. Lighting

17. Static electricity

18. Smoking

19. Emergencies and rescue

20. Limited working time

12 I Cl NSL 2(115 j nsf.ascoworld.com

Regulation 5 • Emergency Arrangements

Without prejudice to regulation 4 of these Regulations, no person at work shall enter

or carry out work in a confined space unless there have been prepared in respect of
that confined space suitable and sufficient arrangements for the rescue of persons
in the event of an emergency, whether or not arising out of a specified risk.

Prior to entering a confined space ...

•••you must have a rescue plan In place!

Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1) above, the arrangements referred
to in that paragraph shall not be suitable and sufficient unless:

a. they reduce, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risks to the health and safety
of any person required to put the arrangements for rescue into operation; and

b. they require, where the need for resuscitation of any person is a likely consequence
of a relevant specified risk, the provision and maintenance of such equipment
as is necessary to enable resuscitation procedures to be carried out.

Whenever there arises any circumstance to which the arrangements referred to in

paragraph (1) above relate, those arrangements, or the relevant part or parts of those
arrangements, shall immediately be put into operation.

Tho lntern_i!ooal Confined Space !

Pocketbook 13
Therefore suitable arrangements for emergency rescue will depend on the nature of
the confined space, the risks identified and the likely nature of an emergency rescue.
You should not rely on the public emergency services. You should consider accidents
arising from a specified risk, and any other accident in which a person needs to be
recovered from a confined space, for example incapacitation following a fall.

To be suitable and sufficient, U.e arrangements for rescue and resuscitation

should cover: Rescue and resuscitation equipment; raising the alarm and rescue;
safeguarding the rescuers; fire safety; control of plant; first aid; public emergency
services; and training.

Regulation 6 - Exemption Certificates

The UK Health and Safety Executive may, by a certificate in writing, exempt certain
persons from the application of any of the requirements or prohibitions imposed by
these Regulations but these would be very rare circumstances. You will be so unlikely
to be the subject of these circumstances that we will not dwell on this regulation.

Regulation 7 - Defense in Proceedings

This Regulation deals with the legalities in the aftermath of a contravention of the
regulations. Basically, as far as you are concerned, there are NO defenses for
contravening the regulations nor ignoring industry guidance and safe operating
procedures. For that reason, we will not confuse this guidance by expanding this
particular text.

Regulation 8 - Extension Outside Great Britain

The wording of this particular regulation is very confusing unless you have access
to the complete Health and Safety at Work act to which it refers but generally and in
the interest of safety, wherever you ARE worl<ing in the world, assume the regulations
still apply but beware that LOCAL legislation and safety rules may be even more
stringent. In this case, they will always take primacy.

Regulation 9 - Repeat and Revocations

1. Section 30 of the Factories Act 1961 (1) is hereby repealed.

2. The instruments set out in column 1 of the Schedule to these Regulations are
hereby revoked to the extent shown in column 3 of the said Schedule (1) 1961
c. 34; section 30 was amended by S.I. 1983/978.

Basically, to avoid duplication of information I guidance, previous legislation and I

or regulations are superseded therefore discontinued.

14 J ONSL201s J nsi.ast:CM'Orid.oom

Regulation 1 provides us with the official definition of what is meant by a confined

space, i.e.

"A confined space means any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench,
pipe, sewer, flue, well, or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature,
there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk."

Industry also defines a confined space as an enclosed or partially enclosed space that
is not primarily designed or intended for human occupancy, has a restricted entrance
or exit by way of location, size or means and can represent a risk for the health
and safety of anyone who enters, due to its design, construction, atmosphere, the
materials or substances in it, work activities being carried out in it, or the mechanical,
process and safety hazards present.

Is the space enclosed either

totally or largely?

Is there a risk of serious injury
due to explosion I fire, loss of
consciousness due to fumes,
noxious gases or vapours. lack
of oxygen or high temperature,
or drowing due to fluids or free
flowing solids?

Is the work to be undertaken,

likely to produce such a risk?

Confined spaces can be below or above deck. Confined spaces can be found in
almost any workplace. A confined space, despite its name, is not necessarily small.
Examples of confined spaces on the rig include voids, mud tanks, holds, ballast
tanks and bulk tanks.

The lnternabellal Confined Space Poc:kEd>oOk 11 s

One of the problems of working in confined spaces is that often there is a failure
to recognize an area AS a confined space. They come in all shapes and sizes but
under these Regulations a 'confined space' must have both of the following defining

1. It must be a space which is substantially (though not always entirely) enclosed;


2. One or more of the specified risks must be present or reasonably foreseeable.

As you can see from the examples given, not all confined spaces are immediately
obvious, nor are they necessarily fully enclosed.

Some spaces that are not normally considered to be confined spaces can become
so, due to a change in the conditions within the space. For example, a room that is
being spray painted would become a confined space, as during the operation there
is a foreseeable risk of toxic vapours contaminating the atmosphere of the room
and special measures will have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of those
working within that space.

In addition to the examples of confined spaces given in the previous definition, some
further examples may include:

Ducts, vessels, culverts, tunnels, boreholes, bored piles, manholes, shafts,

excavations, sumps, cofferdams, freight containers, ship cargo holds, ballast tanks,
voids and interiors of machines, plant or vehicles.

To identify a confined space, you must then decide if there is a foreseeable risk of
serious injury from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby.

161 0 NSl. 2015 I nSl.ascoworld.com


Typical hazards in confined spaces are mainly related to poor air quality.

There may be an insufficient amount of oxygen for the wor1<er to breathe. The
atmosphere might contain a poisonous substance that could make the wor1<er ill
or even cause the wor1<er to lose consciousness, e.g. stale salt water can generate
sulfide gases and natural ventilation alone will often not be sufficient to maintain
breathable quality air. Other hazards to be considered are:

1. Chemical exposures due to skin contact or ingestion as well as inhalation of

'bad' air.

2. Fire hazard. There may be an explosive I flammable atmosphere due to

flammable liquids and gases and combustible dusts which if ignited would lead
to fire or explosion.

3. Process-related hazards such as residual chemicals, release of contents of a

supply line.

4. Excessive noise which could damage hearing.

5. Safety hazards such as moving parts of equipment, structural hazards,

entanglement, slips and falls.

6. Radiation.

7. Temperature extremes including atmospheric and surface.

8. Shifting or collapsing of bulk material.

9. Barrier failure resulting in a flood or release of free-flowing solids.

10. Uncontrolled energy including electrical shock.

11. Poor visibility due to lack of light and I or dust.

12. Biological hazards.

Hazard - something with the potential to cause harm

Risk - the likelyhood & severity of the harm being realised

The lntemauc:naf
Confined Space Pocketbook j 17

The Regulations identify five key areas of risk, arising directly from working in confined
spaces. These are called "specified risks".

The five key areas are as follows:

1. Injury due to fire or explosion

2. Loss of consciousness due to excessive heat

3. Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation due to gas, fume, vapour or the lack of


4. Drowning due to increased liquid levels

5. Asphyxiation or entrapment due to free flowing solids

Injury due to fire or explosion


The main causes of a fire or an explosion in a confined space are flammable or

explosive materials, debris, residues or an explosive atmosphere. Any increase in
oxygen levels will help to create or exacerbate these conditions.

Controls: In order to control the risk of fire or explosion several basic measures can
be taken, these include:

Isolation using tamper-proof electrical and mechanical isolation equipment) to

prevent further build-up of flammable or explosive atmospheres.

Ventilation, testing and cleaning of the confined space.

Maintaining effective ventilation during work

Continual monitoring of the atmosphere

Working to an approved safe operating procedure.

is I ONSL2015 j r\Sl.aSCO\IIIOl1d.com
Loss of consciousness due to excessive heat:

Heat build-up within the space should be considered as a major hazard.

Dangerous rises in the body's core temperature can occur from a variety of sources,

1. Performing strenuous work while wearing cumbersome PPE

2. Welding in a confined space

3. Environmental sources such as the weather or due to heat radiation from adjacent
plant and machinery

4. Lack of adequate ventilation


Certain basic precautions should be taken to avoid the personnel within the workspace
overheating, these include:

Wear clothing and PPE appropriate to the conditions. PPE requirements can be
minimised by thorough preparation of the space.

Maintain adequate ventilation either within the space or directly to the worker via
cooling airlines.

Taking regular comfort breaks out-with the confined space and ensuring adequate
fluid intake (and salt tablets if applicable).

Entry Control Officers should maintain regular communications with the internal
work-party and monitor for signs of heat exhaustion.

The lntetn.atonalConfined Spac• PocketbOOk 119

Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation due to gas, fume, vapour or the lack
of oxygen:

As mentioned earlier, stale salt water can generate sulfide gases which are toxic in
high concentration and can cause you to lose consciousness

Controls: Isolation using tamper-proof electrical and I or mechanical isolation

equipment) to prevent further build-up of flammable or explosive atmospheres.

Maintaining effective ventilation during work

Continual monitoring of the atmosphere

Working to an approved safe operating procedure.

Drowning due to increased liquid levels:

Water, drilling fluids, toxic or acidic liquids can flow into a confined space leading to
serious injury or even drowning.

Controls: An assessment of environmental conditions that could cause flooding of

the space, for example heavy rain or ingress of fluid through cracks in the vessel.

Effective isolations by shutting off or even disconnections of all fluid inlets into the
confined space

Where fluid build-up may be expected, for example in a trench, pit or cofferdam,
maintaining an effective pumping system to prevent the build up of fluids in the
confined space during work.

Continual monitoring of the fluid levels

Wortcing to an approved safe operating procedure.

Tho lnternallQl"lalConfined Space Pocketbook ! 21

To create a Safe System of Work, you have to look at all the factors which could affect
the safety of the worker. Typically, for confined space entry, you would consider the
following criteria more or less in this order:


Purging & Ventilation


Gas test the


Personal Protective

Additional safety

Personnel competence



Performing the work Failure to isolate pipework properly

can result in the gassing or
Entry control officer
asphyxiation of the confined space
Rescue plan entry team!
Emergency equipment

let's look at each point in a little more detail:


1. Isolation from gases, liquids and other flowing materials. Confined spaces should
be securely isolated from ingress of substances that could pose a risk to those
working within the space. An effective method is to disconnect the confined
space completely from every item of plant either by removing a section of pipe or
duct or by inserting blanks. If blanks are used, the spectacle type with one lens
solid and the other a ring makes checking easier. When disconnection cannot
be done in this way, one alternative is a suitable, reliable valve that is locked
shut - providing there is no possibility of it alowing anything to pass through
when Jocked or of being unlocked when people are inside the confined space.

24 I C NSL 20151 nstascowond.ccm

2. Isolation from mechanical & electrical hazards within the confined space

Failure to isolate machinery properly can result in the

confined space entry team becoming compromised!

Some confined spaces contain electrical and mechanical equipment with power
supplied from outside the space. Unless the risk assessment specifically enables
the system of work to allower power to remain on, either for the purposes of the task
being undertaken or as vital services (i.e. lighting, vital communication, firefighting,
pumping where flooding is a risk, or cables distributing power to other areas), the
power should be disconnected, separated from the equipment, and a check made
to ensure isolation has been effective.

Isolation could include locking off the switch and formally securing the key in
accordance with a permit-to-work, until it is no longer necessary to control access.
Lock and tag systems can be useful here, where each operator has their own lock
and key giving self-assurance of the inactivated mechanism or system. Check there
is no stored energy of any kind left in the system that could activate the equipment

Isolation of
of liquids mechanical
and electrical
and gases

The International Confined SpactJ PocketboOk j 25

i>urging and ventilation

Gas purging

Where risk assessment has identified the presence or possible presence of flammable
or toxic gases or vapours, there may be a need to purge the gas or vapour from the
confined space. This can be done with air or an inert gas where toxic contaminants
are present, but with insert gas only where there are flammable contaminants. You can
only use inert gas for purging flammable mixture within the confined space. Where
purging has been carried out, the atmosphere must be tested to check that purging
has been effective, and that it is safe to breathe, before allowing people to enter.

When removing a flammable or explosive hazard by purging with insert gas, for
instance, using nitrogen displacement, if the work cannot be carried out from a safe
position outside the confined space, you must put in place a permit-to-work system
that identifies the standard or protection of all exposed people (works, those providing
emergency help, and others in the vicinity of the space). This would include use of
full breathing apparatus.

Take account of the possibility of exposure both to employees and non-employees

from vented gases as a result of purging. During purging, take precautions to protect
those outside the confined space from toxic, flammable irritating gases and vapours,

26 I ONSl.20151 .....-1<1.oom
Purging and ventilation


Some confined spaces require mechanical ventilation to provide sufficient fresh air
lo replace the oxygen that is being used up by people working in the space, and
lo dilute and remove gas, fume or vapour produced by the work. This can be done
by using a blower fan and trunking and/or an exhaust fan or ejector and trunking
(provided that there is an adequate supply of fresh air to replace the used air). Fresh air
should be drawn from a point where it is not contaminated either by used air or other
pollutants. Never introduce additional oxygen into a confined space to 'sweeten' the
air as this can lead to oxygen enrichment in the atmosphere that can render certain
substances (e.g. grease) liable to spontaneous combustion and will greatly increase
the combustability of other materials. Oxygen above the normal concentration in the
air may also have a toxic effect if inhaled.

When considering the ventilation method, take account of the layout of the space, the
positioning of openings, etc and the properties of the pollutants, so that circulation of
air for ventilation is effective. Natural ventilation may suffice if there are sufficient top
and bottom openings in a vessel. For example, if a small tank containing heavy vapour
has a single top manhole, it may be sufficient to exhaust from the bottom of the tank
with a ventilation duct while allowing 'make-up' air to enter through the manhole. For
complicated spaces where several pockets of gas or vapour might collect, a more
complex ventilation system will be needed to ensure thorough ventilation. Forced
ventilation or ventilation providing a combination of exhaust and supply of fresh air
may be more effective.

Extract ventilation should be routed away from possible sources of re-entry, and to a
place that will not create additional risks. In all cases an airline or trunking should be
introduced at, or extend to, the bottom of the vessel to ensure removal of heavy gas
or vapour and effective circulation of air; such airline or trunking should not hinder
access to or egress from the confined space.

The ln1e.nmlonalConfined Sp.ace Pocketbook I 27


Cleaning or the removal of residues is often the purpose of confined space wor1<.

In some cases, residues will need to be removed to allow other wor1< to be undertaken
safely. Appropriate measures should be taken where risks from the residues are
identified. For example, dangerous substances (such as hazardous gas, fume or
vapour) can be released when residues are disturbed or, particularly, when heat
is applied to them. The measures might include the use of powered ventilation
equipment, specially protected electrical equipment and atmospheric monitoring. The
cleaning or removal process might need to be repeated to ensure that all residues
have been removed, and may need to deal with residues trapped in sludge, scale or
other deposits, in liquid traps, in joints in vessels, in pipe bends, or in other places
where removal is difficult.

Where there is a danger of this occurring, respiratory protective equipment (APE) will
be required in addition to your norrnal PPE.

28 I 0NSL201s I ns1.ascowood.oom
Gas-testing the atmosphere

Prior to entry, the atmosphere within a confined space should be tested to check
the oxygen concentration or for the presence of hazardous gas, fume or vapour.
Testing should be carried out where knowledge of the confined space (e.g. from
infonnation about its previous contents or chemicals used in a previous activity in
the space) indicates that the atmosphere might be contaminated or to any extent
unsafe to breathe, or where any doubt exists as to the condition of the atmosphere.
Testing should also be carried out if the atmosphere was known to be contaminated
previously, was ventilated as a consequence, and needed to be tested to check the


The findings of the risk assessment should indicate whether testing should be
carried out on each occasion that the confined space is re-entered, even where
the atmosphere initially was found to be safe to breathe. Regular monitoring may
be necessary to ensure that there is no change in the atmosphere while the work is
being carried out, particularly where there is a known potential for adverse changes
during the work.

Thelf'ltecnatlonal Confined Space Pockelhook I 29

Personal protective equipment

The normal personal protective equipment would be coveralls I boiler suit, hardhat,
steel toecap boots, safety glasses or goggles, gloves and usually a basic industrial
facemask to protect against dust or other particles in the air.

~ !
..······ . e
.. . . ..
. ·:.

-· ..

8 .,
PPE and RPE should be a last resort, except for rescue work (including the work of
the emergency services), because its use can make movement more difficult, it can
add to the effects of hot temperature and can be heavy.

Your risk assessment may identify the need for PPR and RPE, in which case it
should be suitable and should be provided and used by those entering and working
in confined spaces. Such equipment is in addition to engineering controls and safe
systems of work.

30 I O NSI. 2015 I nsJ.""""""1d.com

Additional Safety equipment

PPE may include a safety harness, tripod (if vertical entry) and tagline.

Competence levels of the personnel

Suitable personnel should be selected for work in confined spaces, for example,
personnel with claustrophobia or asthma may have difficulty in a confined space,
and medical advice on an individual's suitability may be required.

Workers must have adequate training and experience

in the particular work involved to be competent to
work safely in a confined space. Training standards
must be appropriate to the task, and to the individual's
roles and responsibilities, so that work can be
carried out safely, you should check that they are
competent to follow the established safe system

of work and have been provided with adequate
information and instruction about the work to I
be done.

The lntemationclConfined Sp.ace Pocketbook I 31


The levels of supervision required

will be based on the findings of the
risk assessment and will range from
a competent person occasionally
checking the confined space party
through to maintaining a constant
presence at the worksite.

The supervisor Is responsible for

ensuring that the safe system of
work and permit requirements
are operated correctly, that all
appropriate safety precautions are
adhered to and that anyone in the
vicinity of the confined space is
informed of the work being done.


An adequate communication system

must be in place and should enable
communicati on:

a. Between those inside the confined space

b. Between those inside the confined space and those outside; and

c. To summon help in case of an emergency

Various forms of communication are acceptable provided they are effective and may
include; radios, telephones, ropes, direct speech and hand signals.

Whatever method is used, make sure that everyone fully understands the system in
use - particularly emergency signals.

Communications must be
"unambiguous and instant"
between all those involved
in the works, including those
inside the space, the watchman
I sentry outside the space and
the emergency rescue team.

32 I O NSL 2015 I nsl.ascow<rtJ.com

Performing the work

Open the confined space to atmosphere, vent it and check for oxygen deficiency
and explosive I toxic gases. Do a risk assessment and get the relevant Supervisor to
raise an appropriate permit to work, which must be signed by all responsible persons.

A permit-to-work system is a formal written system and is usually required where there
is a reasonably foreseeable risk of serious injury in entering or working in the confined
space. The permit-to-work procedure is an extension of the safe system of work, not
a replacement for it. The use of a permit-to-work system does not, by itself, make the
job safe. It supports the safe system, providing a ready means of recording findings
and authorisations required to proceed with the entry. It also contains information
that may be required during an emergency and which, when the job is completed,
can also provide historical information on original entry conditions. A permit-to-work
should be cancelled once the operations to which it applies have finished.

Entry Control Officer

Never work in a confined space without an Entry Control Officer watching out for
your welfare. The Entry Control Officer must be in permanent visual or radio contact
with the man in the confined space. The space you're going to be working in must
be properly isolated (electrically and mechanically) and locked off for the duration of
the job, and remember that the work you will be doing may present its own hazards. •
For example, welding and cutting will introduce hazardous gases and fumes, as will
materials like paints or cleaning chemicals, so make sure that the atmosphere in the
space is continuously monitored, that there is proper ventilation of the space, and
wear the appropriate PPE.

The rt.tematJonalConfined Space Pocketboo,o;j 33

Rescue plan

You should assess the requirements for emergency rescue arrangements. Possible
emergencies should be anticipated and appropriate rescue arrangements made.
The likely risks, and therefore the equipment and measures needed for a rescue by
nearby employees, must be identified and the equipment made available for use.

The arrangements for emergency rescue, required must be suitable and sufficient. If
necessary, equipment to enable resuscitation procedures to be carried out should be
provided. The arrangements should be in place before any person enters or works
in a confined space.

A major cause of death and injury in confined spaces incidents is due to ill-conceived
attempts to save others who have collapsed or ceased to respond. You should not
enter a confined space if a fellow worker gets into trouble in a confined space, don't
rush in to help - you could become a casualty too.

Set the proper rescue plan in motion.

By their very nature, confined spaces are usually difficult to get in and out of and this
will make it awkward to recover any injured or unconscious person, so think things
through. That means having trained people and the right equipment immediately
available (such as a self-contained breathing set).

It is essential that you consider the access dimensions in the event that
a person may have to enter the confined space in a hurry wearing the full
BA set complete with air bottle.

If you do have to enter a confined space in an

emergency wearing a BA set ...

_ .•make sure you get a good seal on the mask!

34 I ONSL201s I n,1.--,.com

All emergency and rescue equipment must be maintained to the highest standards as
failure to work efficiently in an emergency could cost lives. The personnel in charge
of this equipment must be fully trained in its use.

Inspection and Testing of Equipment used in Connection with

Confined Space Entry

The inspection and testing of RPE will comprise a visual inspection of all parts of
the respirator or breathing apparatus, looking particularly at the integrity of any
straps, face-pieces, filters and valves or other attachments including hoods. masks
and visors. Any defects discovered on inspection, and which would undennine safe
operation, should be remedied before further use.

The inspection and testing of resuscitation

equipment should be undetaken in accordance
with the manufacturer's instructions and
should include all accessories amd ancillary
equipment. Automatic external defibrillators
(AEDs) should also be tested in accordance
with the manufacturer's instructions and
should include regular battery checks. Many
pieces of resuscitation equipment (including
defibrillator pads) are single-use and care
should be taken during inspection to
ensure that packaging is not damaged
and that the product is within its expiry

The inspection and testing of other

special equipment, including
protective clothing, will consist of
thorough visual inspection of all
parts for deterioration and damage,
and testing where appropriate.
Inspection and testing should be
carried out regularly. In the case of
protective clothing that is used
only occasionally or where
the conditions of use are
unlikely to damage it, the
interval between inspections
may be greater.

The lnte<national Confined Space I

Pocketbook 35

Carbon Dioxide (C02) - can be generated from a variety of sources, including

as a by-product of human respiration. It is both asphyxiating and toxic with an
occupational exposure limit of 5000 parts per million which is relatively high. It is
non-explosive and has a specific gravity heavier than air therefore it will be found in
the lower part of a confined space. You cannot see or smell CO,.

While the air may be breathable at standing height ...

... heavier toxic gases could be lingering at lower levels!

Camon Monoxide (CO) - Carbon monoxide is produced from the partial oxidation of
carbon-containing compounds. It forms when there is not enough oxygen to produce
carbon dioxide (CO,) such as when operating a stove or an internal combustion
engine in an enclosed space.

Carbon monoxide is both flammable and toxic, and causes harm in concentrations

as low as 30 parts per million. Carbon monoxide is explosive in concentrations from
12.4- 74% of the atmosphere. It is slightly heavier than air, therefore it will be found
in the middle to lower areas of a confined space. You cannot see or smell carbon

The lntcrnatbi~ Confined Spac:e Pod<etbook I 37

Hydrogen Sulphide - H,S is a very dangerous gas as it is both flammable and
extremely toxic, and causes harm in concentrations as low as 10 parts per million.
H,S is explosive in concentrations from 4.3 - 46% of the atmosphere. It is heavier
than air, therefore it will be found in the lower part of a confined space. You cannot
see H,S but is has a distinct smell of rotten eggs .

At first, you ... as it takes effect, ... the effects

smell rotten you can no longer can be fatal!
eggs .•• smell it ...

• t

Methane (CH,) - is a natural gas. It is asphyxiating and flammable and its presence
can cause oxygen deficiency. Methane is explosive in concentrations from 5 - 15%
of the atmosphere. It is lighter than air, therefore it will be found in the higher areas
of a confined space. You cannot see or smell methane (the domestic gas used in
our houses has the smell added for safety reasons).

381 ONSL2015 I rol"""'"""'1oom

Oxygen (02)- the air we breath is composed of 20.93% oxygen, 0.03% carbon dioxide
and 79.04 % nitrogen. The process of respiration consumes oxygen and produces
carbon dioxide, e.g. the air we breathe out has 16.7% oxygen and 3.6% carbon
dioxide therefore if you were to sit in a small, sealed space for a prolonged period of
time, you would gradually use up the oxygen and replace it with carbon dioxide. The
act of breathing would eventually kill you due to the depletion in essential oxygen
levels and the asphyxiating and toxic effects of carbon dioxide build up. This is one
reason why proper and continual ventilation is so important.

When oxygen levels get as low as 5% - 6% ...

... death can result within 4 minutes!


Too much oxygen, i.e. an oxygen enriched atmosphere is

also dangerous as it drastically increases combustibility
of materials, even leading to explosions.

The lntormhonnl Confined Space Pcx;kctl:xx:lk I 39


As part of your emergency back-up plan, it is advantageous to have a trained first-

aider on standby to treat any casualties should an unforeseen problem arise. If
personnel in a confined space coJlapse or pass out, without endangering yourself,
evacuate them immediately. Assess their condition as best you can and be aware
that if they haven't been physicaJly struck or otherwise injured, they have probably
succumbed to a toxic atmosphere and I or lack of oxygen. Be prepared to resuscitate

If the casualty is not responding, ensure their airway is open by tilting

the head and lifting the chin.

Keeping the airway open, check to see if the casualty is breathing normally. Take
no more than 1 O seconds to do this.

If they are not breathing normaJJy, ask someone to call for an ambulance and
bring a defibrilJator (AED) if available. If you are on your own, use your mobile
phone to calJ if possible. Only leave the casualty if there is no other way of
obtaining help.

Begin Cardiopulmon
ary Resuscitation (CPRJ,

40 [ C NSL 2015 [ rer.ascowcod.ccn

CPR Step 1 - Give 30 chest compressio

Place the heel of the one hand in the centre of the casualty's chest and the
heel of the other on top. Interlock your fingers.

Press down on the sternum, 5 to 6 ems (2 to 2¥.! inches), 30 times. After

each compression release the pressure but don't remove your hands.

Do this about 100 to 120 times per minute (around 2 per second).

The 1r,:ernar~ Confined Space Pocketbook I 41

CPR Step 2 - Give 2 rescue breaths (continue compressions if you can't do
rescue breaths)

Open their airway.

Pinch their nose closed, breathe in,

cover their mouth with yours and
breathe steadily into their mouth. 2
rescue breaths should only take 5

Make sure their chest rises and falls.

CPR Step 3 - Repeat 30 compressio

ns and then 2 rescue breaths until:

professional help takes over

they cough, move and breathe normally

you become exhausted

Note: First Aid infonnation was correct at the lime of publication.

42 I ONSL2015 I nslascowo,1d.com
CPR Step 2 - Give 2 rescue breaths (continue compressions if you can't do
rescue breaths)

Open their airway.

Pinch their nose closed, breathe in,

cover their mouth with yours and
breathe steadily into their mouth. 2
rescue breaths should only take 5

Make sure their chest rises and falls.

CPR Step 3 - Repeat 30 compressio

ns and then 2 rescue breaths until:

professional help takes over

they cough, move and breathe normally

you become exhausted

Note: First Aid information was correct at the time of publication.

421 I
ONSL201s ostascowakl.com

Basic rules regarding entering and working in confined spaces;


However, if you MUST enter:

1. Carry out a risk assessment

2. Select suitably trained personnel to do the work

3. Issue I use the appropriate and correct PPE including BA if required

4. Establish proper communications

5. Proceed in accordance with a Safe System of Work

6. Isolate the confined space using lockout/ tagout

7. Empty and I or de-energise the confined space

8. Purge I clean out the confined space

9. Open all doors and vents and hatches to ventilate the confined space (power
ventilate if required)

10. Test the atmosphere for oxygen levels and toxic gases, fumes or vapour.

11. Check that a rescuer in full gear can get in through the access hatch

12. Post an Entry Control Officer

13. Have the relevant emergency I rescue equipment at hand

14. Continually monitor the atmosphere in the confined space

The lntematlOl'lal Confined Space Po:;kcttxxx I 43

ConHned Spaces & Vessel Entry

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NSL Awareness
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The International

This handbook is designed to give a comprehensive overview of safe working

practices involving confined spaces. This book is intended to be a supplement to
formal training and not a replacement for it.