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What are the requirements for working in confined spaces and how do I ensure compliance?

February 06, 20233 min read

The requirements for working in confined spaces in British Columbia, according to WorkSafeBC, include conducting a hazard assessment, developing and implementing a confined space program, providing adequate training to workers, and ensuring proper equipment and procedures are in place.

To ensure compliance, employers must identify and assess confined spaces in the workplace, such as tanks, sewers, and underground vaults, to determine the hazards and develop control measures to eliminate or minimize the risks. The confined space program must include procedures for entry and exit, air monitoring, communication, and emergency rescue.

Employers must also ensure workers are adequately trained on the hazards associated with confined spaces, including how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper entry and exit procedures. They must provide workers with the necessary PPE, such as respirators and gas detectors, and ensure that it is in good condition and properly maintained.

Evaluate the hazards associated with each confined space - Once you have identified the confined spaces in your workplace, you need to evaluate the hazards associated with each space. This evaluation should include an assessment of the physical, chemical, and biological hazards that may be present, as well as any potential hazards associated with the work that will be performed in the space.

Develop a written confined space entry program - Based on the hazards identified in the evaluation, you need to develop a written confined space entry program that outlines the procedures for entering, working in, and exiting confined spaces safely. The program should also include procedures for controlling hazards, monitoring the atmosphere, and providing rescue services if necessary.

Train workers on the confined space entry program - All workers who will be working in confined spaces must be trained on the confined space entry program. This training should include information on the hazards associated with confined spaces, the procedures for entering and working in confined spaces safely, and the procedures for responding to emergencies.

Develop and implement procedures for controlling hazards - Procedures must be in place to control hazards associated with the confined space. This may include ventilation, lockout/tagout, and testing and monitoring the atmosphere.

Develop and implement a rescue plan - A rescue plan must be in place in case an emergency occurs while workers are in a confined space. The rescue plan should include procedures for summoning emergency services, procedures for rescue, and procedures for providing first aid.

Additionally, employers must regularly monitor and review the confined space entry program to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date. The review should include an evaluation of the effectiveness of hazard controls, worker training, incident investigations and rescue procedures.

It is important to note that this is just a general guide, and there may be additional requirements specific to your workplace. For more detailed information on confined spaces and developing a confined space entry program, you can refer to the
WorkSafeBC website or consult a qualified safety professional.

You can find more information about confined spaces and related regulations on the WorkSafeBC website.

Specifically, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation | Part 9.8 outlines the requirements for working in confined spaces. WorkSafeBC also provides various resources, including guidelines, tools, and templates, to help employers comply with these regulations and develop effective confined space programs.

To learn more about Confined Spaces, click here.

WorkSafeBCWCBConfined SpacesSafety PolicySafety ComplianceHazardsWorkplace HazardsWorkplace SafetyOHSOHS ProgramsSafety Program

Erwin Caguiat

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