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Topic: Health and safety management

permit to work - confined spaces
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Permit to work - confined spaces

Permit to work - confined spaces

Working in confined spaces is a high-risk activity that can lead to fatalities if not managed properly. A permit can help you manage these risks and reduce them to a safe level.

What’s a confined space?

Confined spaces are enclosed places of work where there are particular hazards, including a lack of oxygen, toxic gases or fumes, flooding, a flammable atmosphere, high temperatures, mechanical hazards or the potential for the admission of steam and other hazardous substances.

Why use a permit?

A permit to work is a means of formally authorising work to take place at a particular time and location, and in accordance with an agreed safe system of work. Whilst it isn’t a specific legal requirement to issue one for confined space work, it’s established practice. The HSE expects those in control of premises to use it as a means of keeping tabs on workers carrying out this type of high-risk work.

Confined space work is often outside the experience of the organisation appointing the contractor. Where this is the case you can refer to the form at the selection stage to check that your potential contractor is able to comply, e.g. by having the correct training and equipment. One that is dismissive, or struggles to provide the information asked for, is unlikely to be competent and could therefore cause a great deal of trouble, both to themselves and to your own organisation.

 

 

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