What is a confined space?

Generally speaking, a confined space is 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,
  • can represent a risk for health and safety of anyone who enters, due too one or more of the following factors:
- Its design, construction, location or atmosphere,
- the materials or substances in it,
- work activities being carried out in it, or the
- mechanical, process and safety hazards present.

Confined spaces can be below or above ground. Confined spaces can be found in almost any workplace. A confined space, despite its name, is not necessarily small. Examples of confined spaces include silos, vats, hoppers, ESPs, reaction vessels, utility vaults, tanks, sewers, pipes, access shafts, truck or rail tank cars, aircraft wings. Ditches and trenches may also be a confined space when access or egress is limited.


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