Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are a particularly deadly hazard and unfortunately common in many types of workplaces. They include spaces such as silos, underground vaults, tunnels and manholes. So to protect workers, you must first identify all of the confined spaces in your workplace. Then you should develop a permit system for entry into confined spaces. One component of that system is the use of attendants to monitor the work inside a confined space. And because would-be rescuers of workers in trouble in a confined space can often succumb themselves, it’s critical that you have a confined space emergency plan. (For training materials on confined spaces, such as safety talks and videos, visit Safety Smart.)

Guidance and Insight

Recent Tragedy Reaffirms the Dangers of Confined Spaces to Would-Be Rescuers

Three workers died after entering a manhole in Florida, two of them when coming to the rescue of the first. Learn how such tragedies can be prevented.

Ontario Case Is an Example of Multiple Failures of an OHS Program

In some safety incidents, it seems like everything that could go wrong, did. A case from Ontario illustrates the fatal results of multiple safety failures.

SPOT THE SAFETY VIOLATION: Confined Spaces in Plain Sight

These grain silos pose a serious safety hazard to the workers on this farm. Do you know what it is? Learn how to address confined space hazards.

Infographic: Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are one of the most dangerous workplace hazards. This infographic depicts some key facts about these spaces.
Person working in confined space

CONFINED SPACES: How to Comply with the Requirements for Attendants

We explain the requirements for so-called “confined space attendants” under the OHS laws and how to ensure your attendants meet these requirements.

Tools

Handout on Confined Spaces & Dangerous Atmospheres

Give this handout to workers as a supplement to a safety or toolbox talk on the dangers of hazardous atmospheres in confined spaces.

Model Confined Space Entry Policy

Adapt this model policy for your company’s operations and OHS program and the specific requirements in your jurisdiction’s OHS laws on confined spaces.

Trench/Excavation Inspection Checklist

Require a supervisor or other “competent person” to use this checklist to inspect all trenches and excavations BEFORE workers begin work inside of them.

Confined Space Hazard Assessment Form

Use this form to assess the hazards in any confined space in your workplace before workers enter it.

Confined Space Attendant Training Checklist

Use this tool to ensure that workers assigned as confined space attendants are properly trained.

Cases

evacuation

Court Nixes Airline Evacuation Procedure Change as Unsafe

Transport Canada agreed to reduce flight attendant staffing requirements provided that the airline seeking the exemption could demonstrate that the reduced crew could carry out the necessary evacuation within 15 seconds.

Worker’s Fatal Fall from Ladder Costs Contractor $60,000

Workers were dismantling and removing trench boxes from a 20-foot deep excavation site at a construction project. Two workers were removing pins that connected...

Company Acquitted of OHS Charges Related to Worker’s Confined Space Death

A worker employed at a grain terminal entered a grain receiving pit, where he was engulfed in grain and died of suffocation. The company...

Worker Dies after Exposure to Hydrogen Sulfide in Confined Space

A worker in a confined space was exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas. Hydrogen sulfide, also referred to as sour gas, is highly toxic and...

Construction Company Charged with Eight Safety Violations

After an investigation by the WSCC into events that occurred July 2, 2011 in Iqaluit, a construction company was charged with eight violations of...