A confined space is one which is both enclosed, or largely enclosed, and which also has a reasonably foreseeable risk to workers of fire, explosion, loss of consciousness, asphyxiation or drowning.
Confined spaces can be above or below ground and can be found in a huge range of different workplaces. Manholes, sewers, vaults, access shafts, pipelines, silos, vats, water supply towers and ditches and trenches with limited access are all examples of confined spaces.
Around 15 people are killed in confined spaces in the UK each year, and the majority of people killed in confined spaces entered them as part of their work, usually to carry out routine inspections and repairs. Pre-existing medical conditions such as epilepsy or a heart condition can place a worker at greater risk.
It is good practice to have a confined space medical if you or your staff are likely to be working in this environment. This provides reassurance for your staff and for the people they come into contact with during the course of their work.
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