Confined spaces are defined as “any space of an enclosed nature where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions”.
Dangerous conditions could be restricted openings which make escape in an emergency difficult, unstable ground conditions, water leaking into an area.
Hazardous substances can be fume or vapour present in the space or generated by the work activity carried out, e.g. gases generated by biological activities in the space, corrosion of steelwork consuming the oxygen within the space, paint and solvent fumes released when renovating the inside of any vessel or space.
Confined spaces are recognised as any place which is substantially enclosed with limited access and egress for example:
- Wells or similar places.
- Areas that are enclosed or partially enclosed which mean limited or restricted entry or exit for such things as provision of first aid, rescue etc.
- Areas that are not meant for long term human residence but are big enough for a worker to carry out their duties.
- Areas with limited openings such as storage tanks, silos, enclosed drains and sewers.
- Open-topped chambers such as composting containers, ductwork.
- Closed, unventilated or poorly ventilated rooms e.g. beer cellars, attics or under floor storage.
In the unlikely event of something going wrong, whilst employees are working in a confined space, procedures should be in place to cope with an emergency.
An emergency plan should include ways of raising the alarm and how any rescue procedures are carried out.
A plan should include:
- Sufficient planning of safe access to and egress from the confined space.
- Emergency communication procedures between persons in the confined space and persons outwith.
- Availability of emergency equipment and training on this equipment as appropriate.
- How those who have become incapacitated are to be rescued and by whom.
The main requirements of managing confined space works are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
- Providing staff and any persons potentially affected by the works with suitable information, instruction and training.
- An assessment on workers suitability for the task.
- Suitable emergency arrangements and procedures with capable rescuers available.
- Provision of rescue equipment (e.g. harnesses, air quality testing equipment, fire extinguishers, oxygen, breathing apparatus, life-lines, etc).
- Safe system of work to carry out the task safely.
- A Permit to Work may also be required.
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is suitable for the job being completed.
Questions to Consider
- Have all personnel involved with the task been given suitable information, instruction and training?
- Is a Permit to Work required?
- Are all persons involved with the works suitable and competent to carry out the task?
- Is breathing apparatus suitable for the job?
- Are all persons aware of the emergency procedures?
- Are hazardous substances been taken into consideration?
- Is there an appropriate fire risk assessment in place?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.