Confined space training may be needed for you and your staff if anyone in your company needs to work in a variety of settings; this type of training can increase the overall safety of your workers in different types of environments, and it can reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. If you've never been through or had anyone on your staff actually go through confined space training, note a few questions you might have about this type of course, when it's needed, and why it can be beneficial.

What is a confined space?

The term "confined space" may make you assume that this refers to small spaces that are a tight squeeze, such as wells, bores, or large pipes. This is not exactly accurate, as a confined space can refer to any space that doesn't have quick egress, and where there is a threat of loss of oxygen or the risk of explosion. This can include sewers, mines, tunnels, water tanks, oil tanks, ducts and the like. A home or building that has been fumigated could also be considered a confined space due to its lack of oxygen.

If there is a risk of engulfment, meaning that workers could be buried or swallowed up by the space, this may also qualify as a confined space. This training may then be needed by workers digging trenches or doing other excavation, even if they use heavy-duty equipment and are not doing this digging by hand.

If you're not sure if a work environment would be considered a confined space, the city or county department that issues permits for work on a jobsite would be able to make that determination. You might also consider having confined space training for your staff for any of those environments, legally required or not, to increase their overall safety.

Why do managers need to take confined space training?

As a manager or supervisor, you may not be the one to actually enter a confined space, but you may be required to take this training anyway. Managers and supervisors are typically responsible for ensuring all aspects of this training are followed by workers when on the jobsite, so they should also be trained in proper procedures for confined spaces; supervisors may also be required to fill out certain paperwork in order to note what safety precautions are in place for workers in those hazardous conditions. This might be needed in order to get permits for that jobsite, and confined space training can explain this paperwork and how it's handled correctly.