By law, anyone who works in confined spaces must receive adequate training, instruction and information appropriate to the nature of their work. Confined space training is designed to give participants an understanding of safe systems of work for confined spaces, the nature of confined space and how it is designated as such, and the practical and legal implications of working in confined spaces.

A confined space is defined as one which is enclosed or largely enclosed and has a potential risk to workers of fire, explosion, asphyxiation, drowning or loss of consciousness (as defined by the HSE). Any worker who is carrying out operations within this sort of confined space must be appropriately trained and prepared so that the risk to themselves and others is minimised and they can carry out their work as safely as possible.

What is included in confined space training?

Confined space training is essential to instruct workers in the potential hazards of confined spaces, which may include reduced oxygen levels, noxious fumes and flooding. Training will also cover confined space rescue procedures and medium risk and high risk confined spaces. Procedures such as using escape breathing apparatus will be taught, as well as the importance of risk assessment to save lives.

Becoming familiar with emergency procedures is an important part of any medium risk or high risk role and learning safe work practices can help to keep everyone in the workplace safe. Where work involves entry into confined spaces, adequate knowledge and the correct equipment makes a big difference to outcomes and this protects everyone within the organisation.

Who needs confined space entry training?

Anyone who is involved in working in a confined space for a part of their working routine will need to undertake confined space entry training. This includes all standby personnel and permit issuers as well as any confined space entrant.

Confined space entry training is a vital safety consideration and is required for your workplace to ensure that your employees work safely. Training will include learning to use a gas detector and confined space rescue procedures, which are vital knowledge for all those working in medium risk or high risk jobs. Training will also cover the law surrounding working in confined spaces, including the confined space entry permit, so anyone who has responsibility for issuing permits is required to take a training course.

Confined space regulations

Wherever possible, of course, carrying out work in confined spaces should be avoided. However, when this is not possible, you are required to risk assess the particular space you are working in and work out how you will avoid the risks it carries. For instance, if there is a risk of noxious gases in a confined space in which you need to work, you must consider how to mitigate this risk by ventilating the area, wearing breathing apparatus or ensuring the gases are removed before entry.

Confined spaces must be assessed for risk every time they are used, since risk factors can change from day to day. Anyone working in confined spaces must have a work permit appropriate to this type of work and must be given the correct training and equipment to carry out their task safely. According to the Health and Safety Authority, confined space regulations set out safe work practices and are designed to keep your workforce safe and protected while they are carrying out essential tasks.

Confined Space Training in Ireland

ASM Confined Space Entry Training is suitable for all confined space entrants, standby personnel and permit issuers, and takes just one day. This comprehensive course will enable participants to understand the legal requirements of working in confined spaces, including developing a safe system of work, carrying out risk assessments and identifying potential hazards. Participants should be over 16, and should have PPE (personal protective equipment), including helmet, safety boots and hi-vis vest, as well as a good level of English to undertake this course.