Where an employer identifies a confined space within its premises what should it do?
Where an employer identifies a confined space, it must consider and implement any reasonably practicable measures to enable work to be carried out without the need for an employee to enter the confined space. If it is not reasonably practicable for the work to be carried out without the confined space being entered, the employer must determine what measures need to be taken to secure a safe system to work within the confined space. A detailed risk assessment will help identify the necessary precautions to be included in the safe system of work, for example checking that employees entering the space have appropriate experience and training and are of a suitable build; providing breathing equipment, a communication system, special tools and lighting; and ensuring the mechanical and electrical isolation of equipment before it is entered.
In addition the employer must not let anyone enter or carry out work in a confined space unless, in respect of that confined space, a suitable and sufficient arrangement for the rescue of persons in the event of an emergency has been prepared.