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Guide to Confined Space -

Confined Space Guide: What You Need to Know, and What You Need to Supply

Confined Space FAQs

What is a Confined Space?

According to the Ministry of Labour, a confined space means a "fully or partially enclosed space, that is 1. (a) that is not both designed and constructed for continuous human occupancy, and (b) in which atmospheric hazards may occur because of its construction, location or contents or because of work that is done in it."

What Kinds of Hazards Should be Considered?

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, hazards in confined spaces can include any of the following:

  • Poor air quality
  • Hazards from asphyxiants 
  • Chemical exposures due to skin contact or ingestion as well as inhalation of 'bad' air.
  • Fire hazard: There may be an explosive/flammable atmosphere due to flammable liquids and gases and combustible dusts which if ignited would lead to fire or explosion.
  • Process-related hazards such as residual chemicals, release of contents of a supply line.
  • Physical hazards: noise, heat/cold, radiation, vibration, electrical, and inadequate lighting.
  • Safety hazards such as moving parts of equipment, structural hazards, engulfment, entanglement, slips, falls.
  • Vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
  • Shifting or collapse of bulk material.
  • Barrier failure resulting in a flood or release of free-flowing solid or liquid.
  • Visibility (e.g., smoke particles in air).
  • Biological hazards


Quick-Guide to 2015 Legislative Changes for Construction

In terms of confined space entry, the last of the changes legislatively occurred back in August of 2015, and previous to that, in 2011. In 2015, The Ministry of Labour re-defined confined space within the construction industry in 5 main ways:

(1) Controlling Contractor

  • The controlling contractor became responsible for coordinating the activities of employees at the job site.

  • Previously, it was called the "host employer" which essentially meant the project proponent. This is a critically important point for any business which regularly acts as a subcontractor. The controlling contractor is defined as being 

    (2) Competent Person

    • Evaluation of job sites to identify what could be defined as confined space and take adequate safety precautions as a result, now has to be done by what is called a 'competent person' in the legislation. This raises some issues as the OSHA defines a competent person as "someone capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards, and who has the authority to enact prompt changes."

      (3) Atmospheric Monitoring

      • Prior to 2011, periodic (occasional) monitoring was sufficient to meet the atmospheric monitoring condition, but no set time interval minimum was set
      • Now, the Ministry demands that employers should monitor atmospheric conditions "continuously" while recognizing that in some instances that may be closer in practice to periodic monitoring depending on the environment

      (4) Engulfment hazards monitoring

      • Employers must use early-warning systems to monitor for such things as flash flooding to ensure workers have sufficient time to safely exit the confined space

      (5) Suspension of permits

        • Entry permits can be suspended without the need to re-apply for a new one, in case external, temporary hazards are present for the previously committed entry time - examples of this may include: thunderstorms, flooding, power outages, or severe weather events


      Safety Equipment and Supplies

      Fall Arrest Equipment

      In terms of confined space, the first thing people often think of is Fall Arrest equipment - and rightfully so. At Hansler, the Miller Honeywell Titan II Non-Stretch Harness, the North Hybrid Soft Pak Energy-Absorbing Lanyard, the North/Miller DuraFlex Python Harness and the North/Miller TurboLite Personal Fall Limiter are always IN-STOCK, GUARANTEED. Countless other harnesses and accessories can be obtained through a simple order.

      >> SHOP these Fall Arrest items here.

      Respiratory Protection

      Hansler Smith has a wide array of IN-STOCK respiratory protective pieces including full and half face piece respirators and filters and cartridges. Hansler Smith wants to equip you with the best, and with brands that you can trust - that's why Honeywell North 7600, 7700 and 3M's 6000 and 6500 face pieces can be found in-stock, for just one example.

      >> BROWSE the entire Respiratory Protection category here.

      Other Personal Protective Equipment of Importance

      Head Protection and Protective Clothing are also highly important in a confined space to protect workers from both falling and any potential biological hazards that may be present or arise. 

      >> Explore IN-STOCK offerings in these categories by clicking here (Head Protection), and here (Protective Clothing). 


      What can Hansler Smith offer that differs from your current industrial supply provider?

      Industrial Safety Supplies Ontario for Confined Space -

      Hansler Smith has some of the greatest manufacturing agreements in the industrial supply sphere in Ontario and those savings are transferred on to our clients. Hansler's customer service is unmatched by the competition - typically offering same day delivery on in-stock merchandise, for no delivery fees.