Confined spaces pose dangers because they are usually not designed to be areas where people work. Confined spaces often have poor ventilation which allows hazardous atmospheres to develop especially if the space is small. The hazards may change from one entry into the confined space to the next.
The risks of working in confined spaces include:
- loss of consciousness, impairment, injury or death due to immediate effects of airborne contaminants;
- fire or explosion from the ignition of flammable contaminants;
- difficulty in rescuing and treating and unconscious or injured person;
- asphyxiation resulting from oxygen deficiency or immersion in free-flowing material such as sand, water or other liquids.
The University has a primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks due to entry into confined spaces.
The Code of Practice Confined Spaces is a practical guide for achieving the standards of health and safety required under WHS legislation. In most cases, following the Code of Practice will achieve compliance with the health and safety duties of WHS legislation. However compliance may also be achieved by following other methods, such as technical or industry standards, provided these provide an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the Code.