A person is considered to have entered into a confined space when their body passes through an opening into an area, meaning that just reaching your arm into a confined space is considered entry and would require training. Each province has a slightly different definition of a confined space, but there are 4 common characteristics associated with confined spaces. Limited access or egress, the space is a partially or fully enclosed area, the space is not meant for human occupancy, and there are potential atmospheric hazards in the space. Confined space pre-entry training and awareness is important, as 85% of confined space injuries are preventable and are regularly due to workers not realizing they have entered into a confined space.
Below are the six positions in each company that have specific roles and responsibilities when dealing with a confined space.
The management team
- Identify the confined spaces and hazards associated with them.
- Create a risk assessment and emergency response plan (ERP).
- Ensure workers have access to the ERP.
- Provide the proper hazard controls, such as PPE, to the workers and keep the training records.
- Ensure the entrants and attendants are trained and competent, and that they perform their duties.
- Verify that all pre-entry steps have taken place, including ensuring rescuer workers are available.
- Ensure the attendant is maintaining acceptable conditions within the space.
- End the entry when appropriate and complete the required paperwork.
- Stay right outside the entryway and maintain communication with the entrant.
- Control hazards and monitor the confined space conditions.
- Inform the entrant to exit in case of irregularities
- If an accident occurs, the attendant must initiate the emergency response plan (ERP)
Breathing Air Supply System Attendants
- Ensure that all respiratory equipment is in working order.
- Monitor the breathing airlines and ensure the air supply is uninterrupted.
- If there is an emergency, they often have a role in helping. Their role would be recorded in the ERP.
- Recognize hazards that they come across while in the confined space.
- Use and know the limitations of the PPE.
- Identify any signs or symptoms of illnesses or injuries caused by working in confined spaces.
- Exit the space if unacceptable conditions develop or if directed to exit by the Attendant or Entry Supervisor.
Emergency Response Team
- The emergency Response Team is in charge is facilitating the rescue of confined space entrants in situations where the entrants cannot exit the space on their own. When these teams arrive at the site, they will take charge of the situation and act according to their training, the situation at hand, and the Emergency Response Plan.