Policy and guidance

Confined Spaces

6 Confined space contractor responsibilities

The principal and/or their delegate are to approve all contractors engaged to undertake works as per the Contractor OHS Management Policy and Procedure.

6.1 Contractor training requirements

The principal and/or their delegate are to engage a qualified contractor for works to be conducted in a confined space. All contractors must provide evidence of the following completed qualifications:

  • DEFWHS010-Identify confined space
  • RIIWHS202D-Enter and work in confined spaces
  • PUASAR025A-Underatke confined space rescue

6.2 Contractor to supply Safe Work Method Statement or equivalent

The principal and/or their delegate is to ensure the contractor supplies a Safe Work Method StatementExternal Link (SWMS) or equivalent, for any work to be conducted in a confined space, as mandated by the Department.

The principal and/or their delegate must review and sign the SWMS or equivalent, to verify it has been sighted and retain a copy. The SWMS or equivalent, at minimum, must include the following:

  • safety observer and contact details
  • continuous communication system
  • warning notice / barricades
  • emergency equipment and PPE (e.g. harness)
  • emergency plan that can be initiated from outside the confined space (e.g. rescue procedures and first aid, in and outside the confined space)

6.3 Confined Space Entry Permit

The Principal and/or their delegate in consultation with the contractor are to complete and sign a Confined Space Entry PermitExternal Link prior to the commencement of any works in a confined space.

Each Confined Space Entry Permit is valid for a maximum of twenty four hours and only the works and timeframe listed are covered by each permit. If the scope of work changes, the confined space work is to cease immediately and a new Confined Space Entry Permit is to be re-issued.

The principal and/or their delegate is to retain a copy of the completed Confined Space Entry Permit.

6.4 Conducting atmospheric testing and monitoring

A contractor is responsible for ensuring a safe atmosphere, so far as reasonably practicable during confined space work. A safe atmosphere in a confined space is one that:

  • has a safe oxygen level (oxygen level is within a safe range 19.5% and 23.5%)
  • is free of atmospheric contaminants or contaminants are below their exposure standard
  • has any flammable gas or vapour in the atmosphere below 5% of its lower explosive limit

Where a flammable atmosphere may exist in a confined space all ignition sources in the vicinity must be eliminated (e.g. sparking, electrical tools, or open flames etc.)

The contractor is to record the results of the testing in the Confined Space Entry Permit.

6.5 Purging of a confined space

If the confined space atmosphere is unsafe, the contractor is to ensure that the confined space is cleared of all contaminants by purging. This is done by using an inert gas, such as nitrogen, to clear flammable gases or vapours before work in the confined space begins.

The contractor is to record the results of the purging in the Confined Space Entry Permit.

6.6 Ventilation of a confined space

After purging, the contractor is to ensure the confined space is adequately ventilated with sufficient fresh air, by natural (dilution) or mechanical means. The contractor is to consider where fresh air is drawn from and where the exhaust air is vented to, so that fresh air is not contaminated. Mechanical ventilation should be monitored by the contractor to ensure continuous operation while the confined space is occupied.

The contractor is to record the type of ventilation used in the Confined Space Entry Permit.

6.7 Communication and establishment of emergency procedures

The contractor is responsible for ensuring:

  • communication systems are established to ensure continuous contact between contractors inside and outside the space
  • the role of the Contractor Safety Observer is established to continuously monitor the contractors inside the space, as well as the atmospheric monitoring equipment, ventilation devices and initiate emergency procedures, when necessary
  • rehearsing emergency procedures to demonstrate the specific rescue plan for the space is effective
Chapter 6 of the Confined Spaces Procedure on the responsibilities of contractors, including training requirements

Reviewed 25 June 2020

Was this page helpful?