There are several answers to the question “what is a confined space”, defined by HSE as:
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 (e.g. lack of oxygen).
It is important that employers understand what is a confined space and that they understand there responsibilities for people accessing and undertaking work in a Confined space.
In the UK, current legislation covering the employers responsibility for Health & Safety at work is defined within the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which states that employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees and others.
The attached link directs you to the HSE web page for: The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997
In summery the confined spaces regulations contain the employers key duties:
As an employer you are ultimately responsible for the management of health and safety at work on your premises and at any location you are undertaking work at.
You are required to ensure that all employees and self-employed people to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all work activities for the purpose of deciding what measures are necessary for safety, prevention and rescue. For work in confined spaces this means identifying the hazards present, assessing the risks and determining what precautions to take.
A confined spaces rescue team is not always required unless assigned within the confined spaces risk assessment. A confined space rescue team comprises of a minimum of three team members. One of the crew members will head the rescue team and act as top man whilst the two remaining crew members will be the persons to enter the confined space and perform the rescue should the need arise. A three man rescue team is the standard rescue team however depending on the area size to be covered and the number of personal that will be working in the confined space a larger rescue team may be required. The size of the rescue team the risks and the skills needed should be identified in the risk assessment.
In addition to working in a confined space the team will will need to communicate, manoeuvre and potentially administer first aide in low light and hazardous conditions such as water, heat, power and loose earth.
Here at Firesafe 999 we take your safety seriously, we are happy to offer you a free fire safety assessment, one of our friendly team will visit your offices and provide you with free and independent recommendations to ensure you are compliant with current legislation.
We are equally happy to engage and provide the necessary fire, health and safety skills needed in your business in the form of consultancy or training service provider.