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Confined Space Initiative

Confined space incidents represent the potential catastrophic risk that is not apparent from claims data. Although not many incidents are reported, there is a significant potential for harm. The Confined Space Industry Initiative aims to prevent these types of incidents by taking a sector-based approach.

Goals

The goals of the 2018–2020 Confined Space Initiative are to: 

  • Improve awareness of confined spaces and compliance with confined space requirements by concentrating on industry sectors where there is a risk of confined space injury or death
  • Build the capacity and capability of industries, employers, and consultants to address hazards in confined spaces

Approaches

  • Field-focused confined space team will conduct inspections and provide the necessary educational and consultative support to help employers and workers achieve compliance
  • Site inspections will focus on the key outcomes from the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, paying particular attention to the critical controls that apply to all confined space entries:
    • Atmosphere testing
    • Ventilation
    • Standby
    • Rescue
  • Site inspections will be followed by a review of employers’ confined space entry programs and related systems to ensure that they support observed work practices and are in alignment with regulatory requirements
  • Align all WorkSafeBC communication and outreach efforts related to confined space awareness and planned inspection activities

2019 additional focus

When we developed the 2018–2020 initiative, we recognized that within the three-year time frame we would need to retain flexibility to add additional focus areas. In 2019, we will re-visit craft brewing employers and tank maintenance, repair, and service contractors who were inspected within the last few years to ensure their programs to address the risks of confined spaces remain in place. The team will also inspect new employers in these sectors.

Deliverables and timelines

Activities Details
Focused inspections
Q1–Q4 2019
  • Conduct comprehensive confined space inspections of employers in industry sectors identified as having workers who potentially enter confined spaces
Consultation and education
Q1–Q4 2019
  • Undertake consultative and educational activities as necessary to support employers, workers, and broader industry efforts to improve confined space awareness and compliance
Stakeholder engagement
Q1–Q4 2019
  • Communication to focus on industries as applicable

Updates and results

As part of our strategic initiative to develop measures to assess the effectiveness of prevention activities, we are providing updates of our High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives.

Note: To save space in bulleted lists, our update documents may refer to occupational health and safety as OHS. All references to the Act, refer to Part Three of the Workers Compensation Act. Penalties and warning letters reported in updates may have been initiated by inspections in a previous quarter.

Related resources