Under the WHS Regulations, a confined space means 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
For an average grain and livestock operation, this might include spaces like:
- A workshop/inspection pit, especially when a vehicle is in situ over the pit
- Silos, field bins, especially if they have grain in them or have had fumigation chemicals within them
When assessing your own practices, think about air flow to the worker. If you have an existing inspection pit, its expensive to retrofit with appropriate ventilation so make sure you have a fan blowing into/across the pit and have shed doors open. For silos and bins, you may rarely enter them, but if you do, make a rule to always have someone else present to assist you if needed.
I offer more detailed assistance to my members and clients.
Appendix A within the Code of Practice is a good guide to working out which of your farm practices might be considered ‘confined spaces’.