Safe6. Stay Safe. Stay Alive.

Confined / Restricted Spaces

Confined or restricted spaces can be dangerous because of a lack of oxygen, toxic atmospheres, hazardous substances, mould, fungus, sewage, live wiring or liquefaction.  Exposure to these hazards can result in serious injury, illness or fatality.

NOTE –A Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) is required and a Task Analysis (TA) for confined space or restricted space work.

Confined Space and Restricted Space work are defined as:

  • A Confined Space is an area not intended for human occupancy, may have limited access and egress, with potential for containing toxic or oxygen deficient atmospheres.  Examples include storage tanks, manholes, silos, pipes, sewers and shafts, and other places that are potentially oxygen deficient.
  • A Restricted Space is a defined area that may be very narrow, small and have awkward entry and exit points, is not large enough to comfortably fit a person and potentially may have asbestos dust, liquefaction, mould, fungus or sewerage present, but is not oxygen deficient.  Examples can include under floors or ceiling spaces.

Consider the following as your first option:

  • Is it possible to do your work without going into the confined or restricted space?

If you must enter a confined or restricted space follow these Rules to Live By:

  • Plan Your Entry & Exit – Decide who is best to enter the space.  Decide who will be the standby person and will not enter the space.
    Always work with a mate.
    Consider how you will get out if something goes wrong.
    Consider the equipment required for the work.  It must be available, ready for use and right for the job.
  • Identify Hazards & Put Controls in Place
  • Training / Supervision – People going into a confined space MUST be formally trained to do so (Refer to the reference below)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Wear appropriate PPE
  • Communication – Decide how, and how often, you will communicate with each other from the space.  Check your standby person understands they DO NOT enter the space at any time.
  • Emergency Procedures – Before entering the space decide what you are going to do in an emergency.   Consider the possibility of having to get your workmate out i.e. using lifelines, tripods, winches, cutting tools.  If emergency procedures fail call 111.

Further Helpful Information:

Safe Working in a Confined Space

Disaster Recovery – Confined Spaces

Learn how and where to improve your skills


AS/NZS 2865:2009 Safe Working in a Confined Space