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A worker in a dark confined space

Confined Spaces. Get in easily. Get out safely.

The know-how to navigate jobsites with confined spaces.

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What is a Confined Space?

  • A worker wearing 3M helmet in a confined space

    The definitions of a confined space vary from country to country, but the common criteria commonly include (see relevant national regulations):


    • A space that is mostly or entirely enclosed
    • Contains health and/or safety hazards
    • Not designed for continuous occupancy by the employee
    • Has a limited or restricted means of entry/exit
    • A space large enough to enter fully and perform assigned work
    • Limited air circulation

    Learn more about confined spaces definitions, regulations and statistics in the document below.


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What are the unique challenges in confined spaces?

No two confined spaces are exactly alike. Type, size and hazards vary greatly, along with different standards, regulations  and company policies that can apply to each working environment.

  • A worker wearing 3M respirator and helmet

    Common types of confined spaces

    Safely handling entries and exits starts with identifying your work spaces:


    • Storage tanks
    • Culverts
    • Tunnels
    • Elevator shafts
    • Ductwork
    • Trench box
    • Utility vaults
  • Workers setting up a Davit system

    Where confined spaces are found

    Working safely in confined spaces is universal, but different industries present their own challenges:


    • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
    • Chemical manufacturing
    • Food and beverage manufacturing
    • Oil and gas
    • Waste water treatment
  • A worker in coverall in a confined space

    Confined space hazards

    Many different types of hazards can be found in confined spaces, whether inherent or created by the task being conducted. Common potential risks include:


    • Fire / explosion
    • Extremes of temperature
    • Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation from atmosphere (includes O2 deficiency, asphyxiant and toxic atmospheres),
    • Drowning
    • Engulfment

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Developing a Confined Space Plan

  • Developing a Confined Space Plan

    The four elements to successful management of confined spaces:


    • Plan - Before working in a confined space, you will likely need to create a step-by-step method of carrying out a task that considers the hazards and risks involved and clearly states all control measures required for safe working.
    • Access and egress – where you need to access
    • Work inside – communication and respiratory protection
    • Rescue and Retrieval – ensure your team has a plan and are trained

    DOWNLOAD GUIDANCE DOCUMENT


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Confined Space Training

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    Training is a key aspect of ensuring confined space entrants, attendants, supervisors, and rescuers are aware of the hazards they may face in confined spaces, and receive the proper training to carry out their job safely. 3M can support employers in complying with training requirements through our series of instructor-led Confined Space courses.

    View our full range of Confined Space training courses


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Confined Space Solutions

Equipment You Can Trust.  Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and your access and rescue equipment can mean the difference between getting in and out safely or not.


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Confined Spaces Product and Training Videos