Safety Alert for Confined Space Entry to Sewerage Systems
A number of fatal accidents involving confined space entry to sewerage systems have prompted the Health and Safety Authority (H.S.A.) to issue this safety alert to highlight the need for stringent health and safety procedures when entering such confined spaces.
Hazards occur when an enclosed or poorly ventilated space is associated with a deficiency of oxygen or the presence of toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide or methane. These conditions create an environment in a confined space that is immediately dangerous to life and health.
The Health and Safety Authority has published a detailed Code of Practice for Working in Confined Spaces which supports the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2001. The Authority urges all companies engaged in providing services requiring entry to sewerage systems to review their current Safety Procedures and Practices and Emergency Arrangements in line with this Code of Practice.
Regulation 5 of the Safety Health & Welfare at Work (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2001 states that:
- A person shall not carry out work in Confined Spaces if it is reasonably practical that it could be avoided.
- If the work cannot be carried out without entry, Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment must be carried out prior to the work commencing.
- A person shall not enter a confined space unless there is a system of work in place that has been planned, organised, performed and maintained so as to render that work safe and without risk to health.
- Anyone entering a confined space must be provided with appropriate information, training and instruction appropriate to the particular characteristics of the proposed work activities.
Regulation 6 of the Safety Health & Welfare at Work (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2001 states that:
- A person shall not enter a confined space to carry out a work activity unless suitable arrangements for rescue in event of an emergency have been devised and implemented prior to the work commencing.
Further information on confined spaces
- Code of Practice for working in confined spaces
- H.S.A. web page on Confined Spaces
Previous Confined Space Alerts