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Confined Spaces

A number of people are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year in the UK. This happens in a wide range of industries, from those involving complex plant to simple storage vessels. Those killed include not only people working in the confined space but those who try to rescue them without proper training and equipment.

A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen). It can be any place including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk.

The University has a number of spaces which are deemed to the ‘Confined Spaces’. These areas must only entered by competent trained persons in accordance with a suitable risk assessment and operating procedures. Where such locations have been identified they must be appropriately signed for access requirements. Where necessary, a specialist contractor will be engaged as directed by the risk assessment to enter the area and carry out any works.