Courses Available Online, Virtually and Classroom
Fully Certified NEBOSH, IOSH, IEMA Accredited
7-Day Customer Service
William Gaunt

4 Hidden Dangers of Confined Spaces: With Preventative Measures

May 2024


Confined spaces can be a difficult environment to work in for many. These seemingly innocuous areas can harbour hidden dangers and navigating them without proper knowledge and training can lead to catastrophic consequences. As is the case with most health and safety concerns, the primary first step is training and education. This is especially true for confined spaces and we developed the Astutis Confined Spaces Safety course to equip individuals with the skills and awareness needed to navigate these challenging environments safely.


What is a Confined Space?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines confined spaces as:

“A confined space is one which is both enclosed or largely enclosed and has a reasonably foreseeable specified risk to workers of fire, explosion, loss of consciousness, asphyxiation.”

This can be any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, pipe, sewer, or any other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable risk. When dealing with confined spaces, you should first ask whether it’s even necessary to be doing the task, and if it’s absolutely necessary, you must conduct a risk assessment of a particular space and plan how you will control those risks.


Who Should Take Confined Spaces Training?

Potential industries where employees might encounter confined spaces include:

  • Construction: Deep trenches, especially those with poor ventilation or that are prone to collapse, can be considered confined spaces. Construction workers may enter these to lay foundations, etc.
  • Utilities: Entering manholes to install or repair utility lines, e.g. pipes and electrical. 
  • Manufacturing: Workers may need to enter large tanks or vats for cleaning, maintenance, or inspection. These spaces, used for storing chemicals, raw materials, or finished products, can have limited access and potentially hazardous atmospheres.
  • Maintenance: Employees may need to enter crawl spaces, such as attics or basements, to perform inspections, repairs, or system installations.
  • Waste Management: In this industry, workers often enter sewers and underground spaces for inspections, maintenance, and repairs. 

These industries should prioritise high-quality training for their employees as the likelihood of encountering them is very high.


What are the Main Risks Associated with Confined Spaces?

There are several risks associated with confined spaces, including:

  • Fire or Explosion: Flammable liquids and gases, sources of ignition, electrical equipment.
  • Loss of Consciousness: Heat stroke and other causes of increased body temperature. 
  • Asphyxiation: Toxic gas, fumes or entrapment.
  • Drowning: Ingress or presence of liquids e.g. sewers that haven’t been adequately isolated.

Other causes of these risks are identified in the Astutis Confined Spaces Safety course. If a space is substantially or totally enclosed and there is a risk of one or more of the above happening or will be introduced from the work being done, that means the space is a confined space and is subject to regulations.


How to Identify and Manage Confined Space Risks?

Identification of Risks

All types of workplaces and industries present a risk from confined spaces, from complex plants to simple storage vessels. You can identify what you don’t know, so it’s important for those entering and managing confined spaces to be appropriately trained.

The primary way to identify confined space risks is through a thorough risk assessment. You are required to carry out a risk assessment where you will evaluate the:

  • General condition of the confined space.
  • Hazards that could reveal themselves from the work.
  • Hazards outside the space.
  • Emergency rescue procedures.

Once you’ve identified the risks, you’ll need to implement some control measures.

Management of Risks

Some possible control measures for the four main risks of confined spaces include:

  • Atmospheric Monitoring: Use calibrated gas detectors to monitor oxygen levels and detect toxic or flammable gases before and during entry.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Supply appropriate PPE such as respirators, helmets, gloves, and protective clothing.
  • Ventilation: Use mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate airflow and remove hazardous atmospheres.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Develop and practice emergency rescue plans. Train personnel in rescue operations and first aid.


Confined Spaces Course Syllabus

For the benefit of our customers, the course was designed to last one working day to minimise operational disruption and avoid information overload. The course provides a clear understanding of safe working systems and practical applications aligned with the Confined Spaces Safety Regulation 1997, along with risk assessments and management procedures.


Understanding the Risks

Confined spaces, by definition, are not designed for continuous human occupancy. Hazardous atmospheres, limited entry and exit points, and the potential for engulfment are just a few of the dangers that are possible.

The course evaluates each of these risks, unravelling the complexities and providing participants with a comprehensive understanding of the potential hazards.


Compliance and Legalities

Beyond the moral imperative of keeping workers safe, there are legal obligations that employers must meet regarding confined spaces. Regulatory bodies like the HSE have stringent guidelines to ensure the safety of workers entering and working in confined spaces. Non-compliance puts lives at risk and can result in severe legal consequences for organisations.

Astutis Confined Spaces Safety course goes beyond the theoretical and dives into the practical aspects of legal compliance. Participants learn why safety matters and how to implement it effectively, ensuring that individuals and organisations stay on the right side of the law.


Hands-On Learning for Real-world Application

One of the standout features of the Astutis Confined Spaces Safety course is its emphasis on practical, hands-on learning. The curriculum includes confined space scenarios, allowing participants to apply theoretical knowledge in a controlled environment. From emergency response procedures to effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the course ensures that participants are familiar with the concepts and can confidently apply them when it matters most. Not only that, learners will know how to conduct a thorough and legally compliant risk assessment.


Open Book Assessment

At the end of the course, there is a short open-book assessment in which learners test their knowledge to ensure they have retained the necessary knowledge to carry out work in confined spaces.


Confined Spaces Training for Businesses

When dealing with the risks associated with confined spaces, organisations' first and foremost priority should be investing in quality training to guard against them.

Training your staff on the risks and control measures associated with confined spaces will also ensure you are meeting your legal obligations, protecting the organisation from potential legal action.

The Astutis Confined Spaces Safety course below guides learners through the risks and control measures associated with confined spaces, ensuring that every task is conducted with diligence representative of the severe consequences.



Section Curve
Case Studies

Real Life Stories

Find out how learners look back on their training with Astutis. Our case studies give our learners, both individual and corporate, a platform to share their Astutis experience. Discover how training with Astutis has helped past learners and delegates make the world a safer place, one course at a time.
More Image
Bottom Curve
What People Say

Hear What Our Learners Have To Say

We're always there for our customers. 98% of our learners rated their overall experience as good or outstanding. We will always pride ourselves on our customer service. But don’t take our word for it, here is what our customers have to say
  • "All aspects of the course are well presented and imformative. Found navigation and retentenion of info excellent."

  • "Cost was covered by goverment funding due to my job loss.Money well spent."

  • "Outstanding service and communication from the very first contact to the last. . ."

  • "Comprehensive and full of detail, presented in an engaging way."

  • "Highly recommend Astutis! The platform works very well, and the staff are a pleasure to deal with, extremely attentive and highly supportive!"

  • "Excellent platform and supportive staff."

  • "Excellent communications, friendly staff, user friendly website."

  • "Course was excellent and delivered at a steady pace that made it easy to absorb information. The tutor Andy was very clear and concise and provided thorough preparation for the exam."

  • "The proficiency of the admin team was great, and the ease of access and all communication was great. I will do a course with them again."

  • "The course was comprehensive and included a great variety of subjects."