Confined spaces

Confined spaces pose dangers because they are usually not designed to be areas where people work. Confined spaces often have poor ventilation which allows hazardous atmospheres to quickly develop, especially if the space is small.

The University of Wollongong has strict controls surrounding entering and working in confined spaces. Any person prior to entering a UOW controlled confined space must:

  • complete a UOW Confined Space Entry Permit form including a risk assessment for the activities occurring within the confined space, and
  • have the permit signed and approved by a UOW Permit Approver.

What is a confined space?

A confined space is defined as an enclosed or partially enclosed space that:

  • is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person, and
  • is, or is designed or intended to be, at normal atmospheric pressure while any person is in the space, and
  • is or is likely to be a risk to health and safety from:
    • an atmosphere that does not have a safe oxygen level, or
    • contaminants, including airborne gases, vapours and dusts, that may cause injury from fire or explosion, or
    • harmful concentrations of any airborne contaminants, or
    • engulfment.

Examples of confined spaces at the University include but are not limited to:

  • sewer pits
  • storm water manholes
  • chemical storage tanks
  • boilers
  • lift pits