What’s classified as a Confined Space?

23 May 2023

Every farm has them. Small, large, or crowded areas with a risk of fatality if entered. Such areas must be labeled as ‘Confined Spaces’.

Confined Space is any space found in an agricultural workplace that was not designed or intended as a regular workstation. Elements of this include:

• Limited or restricted means of entry or exit.

• Any physical and/or toxic hazards to workers who intentionally or unintentionally enter the space.

READ MORE: King Island Telstra Mobile Network Upgrade

Commonly seen confined spaces on farms are grain bins, silos, septic tanks, fertilizer tanks, and fermentation tanks. If entering a confined space you have the potential of succumbing to one of these hazards:

• Entrapment or engulfment in grains

• Entanglement in moving machinery

• Asphyxiation due to exposure to toxic environments or suffocation due to not enough oxygen in the environment

• Respiratory distress due to exposure to dust and micro toxins

• Drowning

READ MORE: Next leader of national horticulture industry announced

All nasty things that could go wrong from easily made mistakes or falls. Ensure your workers are well-trained, have a confined space permit and are educated on the dangers before entering.

To learn more about confined spaces, visit our page at Safe Ag Systems.

How to protect workers from Confined Spaces?

When you have determined if and what the confined spaces are on your farm, you should consider completing a Risk Assessment so that your team can identify the associated hazards. As an employer, you have a duty to control any risks associated with work in confined spaces so far as reasonably practicable.

A few things to consider:

• Could the work be done another way without entering the confined space?

• Do workers require a permit to enter?

• Have you established entry and exit procedures?

• Has your emergency procedure been communicated to other employees, and do they understand?

• Have you organized signage and warnings for any confined space for those that are not trained?

• Do you have the appropriate PPE?

READ MORE: ABSF Annual Update to reveal new sustainability goals for the beef industry

Where possible, cover and lock entry to permit-required spaces so people cannot enter, intentionally or unintentionally, without permission.

Rushing into a confined space without thinking about the potential consequences could be deadly. Providing a safe and healthy workplace and ensuring everyone goes home at the end of the day must be every farmer’s first priority.

To learn more about confined spaces, visit our page at Safe Ag Systems.

We provide a united voice

As the largest advocacy group in Tasmania and the only one that focuses exclusively on farming and the rural sector, the future of Tasmanian agriculture is our focus.

Join the TFGA today for a greater future.

Contact our Membership Manager

Kellie Morris