Confined Spaces

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

This toolbox talk was created by NIOSH and CPWR and covers the hazards associated with confined spaces. The design allows workers to view a graphic while the facilitator presents the information. After the talk, the sheet can be posted on the jobsite with the graphic side out to reinforce the key points.
2013

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoMany construction sites have enclosed areas where work is done. These areas can create hazards such as lack of oxygen, explosive or toxic gases, electrical shock and materials falling from above. Many of these hazards can kill or injure workers. Many would-be rescuers have died entering a confined space.

Here is an Example

Phillip went into a manhole to close a gate valve and immediately collapsed. The foreman called firefighters to the scene who entered the space wearing self-contained breathing apparatus to bring Phillip’s body out. Further investigation suggested that the manhole had not been tested or ventilated before Phillip entered and contained lots of methane gas.

  1. How could this accident have been prevented?
  2. What other hazard did that space pose?
  3. Have you ever had an injury from a confined space or know anyone who did? If so, what happened?

Preventing Injuries from Confined Spaces

  • Treat all confined spaces as hazardous.
  • Don’t enter a space until the air has been tested for oxygen, flammable vapors and toxic chemicals.
  • Ensure that structures are safe from collapse prior to entering confined spaces.
  • Use personal protective equipment that is appropriate for the hazards.
  • Make sure a safe and dependable method of communication is available between the person entering the space and the work partner.
  • Exit the space immediately if an unsafe condition develops.
  • Provide for rescue and practice realistic drills.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries from being in a confined space?

1.____________________________________________________________

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2.____________________________________________________________

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OSHA REGULATION: 1910.146

Graphic of two workers -  one working in a confined space.

  • Treat all confined spaces as hazardous.
  • Don't enter a space until the air has been tested for oxygen, flammable vapors and toxic chemicals.
  • Exit the space immediately if an unsafe condition develops.