Confined Space Regulations define a confined space as any place in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk. This includes any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space.
The regulations state that a specified risk means a risk of serious injury to any person at work arising from a fire or explosion; the loss of consciousness of any person at work arising from an increase in body temperature; the loss of consciousness or asphyxiation of any person at work arising from gas, fume, vapour or the lack of oxygen; the drowning of any person at work arising from an increase in the level of liquid; or the asphyxiation of any person at work arising from a free flowing solid or the inability to reach a respirable environment due to entrapment by a free flowing solid.
It may not be a simple task to identify a confined space because it may not be enclosed on all sides, small and/or difficult to work in or difficult to get in or out of or it might be a place where people work infrequently.
When you need a risk assessment for your construction or building site, you must be aware that 'one size doesn't fit all' and you may be putting your employees health and safety at risk by having the wrong assessment.
A common reason for the failure of documents in the assessment process is that the assessments are too generic. But what exactly do the terms ‘site specific’ and ‘generic’ mean in the context of health and safety management?
Contractors will probably have databases or files loaded with risk assessments for their tasks and activities. These would be classed as generic risk assessments. They may be specific to the task or activity you are carrying out, but they are not specific to a particular site. There is nothing wrong with having files of generic risk assessment, in fact, it is good management practice. It's better to have a risk assessment template to work from, then start from scratch each time. After all, most of the hazards and consequential risks associated with for example, plumbing, will be the same wherever you're working. But that’s most of the hazards and risks, not all of them and that's the key.
Site specific risk assessments taking into account the actual site conditions and type of project, and address only the relevant hazards. Why? Well, particularly in the construction industry, sites are likely to change often. One week you may be fixing a toilet in an empty residential property, and the next you might be installing a heating system in an occupied commercial premises. Your generic risk assessments can easily become site specific, by having a competent person adapt them to the project under assessment. Your competent person will need to review the project and site conditions, remove any hazards that are not applicable, and include any site specific hazards that have not been addressed on the generic risk assessment.
Risk Assessment Solutions help management, contractors and sub contractors through the necessary paperwork and provide a plan that keeps your site certified, safe and legal.
Our expert trainers regularly visit nursing homes, care homes, warehouses, factories, museums, surgeries and offices to name a few to give management and staff training, customised to their place of work, on a range of fire related safety issues.
Our bespoke training sessions are designed and tailored to each location to ensure that every client gets the best service and all training takes place within each clients workplace to maximise understanding of procedures, and where possible we make a site visit in advance of the training to make sure everything is covered.
We train staff on specific fire procedures, fire evacuation, alarm training and more because we always deliver the courses 'on site' in order to allow the staff to fully understand how the training directly applies to their work place. For example we would take staff through an evacuation procedure from an actual room in their place of work and through their corridors to the actual fire exit and to the muster point thus eliminating any potential confusion in an real emergency.
This assessment should consider the appropriate measures necessary to prevent falls from height and, where necessary, additional protective measures to reduce the consequences of a fall should one occur.
Employees should always be reminded that they are not to carry out any work at height unless they have been instructed in the safe working practices and are competent to use any equipment provided.
Ladders and step ladders should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are in good working condition and a record of inspections should be maintained. Employers and those in control of work at height must first assess the risks.