Confined and Restricted Spaces
The building spaces where university community members live, study, and work are surrounded by unique spaces that house critical systems that support the daily maintenance and operations of our buildings.
Some of these spaces — such as maintenance shafts, utility vaults, tunnels and storage tanks — are designed to provide temporary, controlled access to workers, but they are not designed for continuous human occupancy. As such, they pose risks due to their construction, location, design and/or contents. If individuals are required to enter such spaces, they must be authorized to do so, have the appropriate training and are required to follow specific procedures.
Due to the high-risk nature of these spaces, any access will require consultation with Facilities Management and Development’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team in order to access the required documentation for entry. The following provides an overview of the Confined and Restricted Space Program and associated documentation.
What are confined and restricted spaces?
A confined space is a fully or partially enclosed space that can be accessed by a person, but is not designed and constructed for continuous human occupancy, and atmospheric hazards may be present due to its construction, location, design and/or contents.
Examples of confined spaces include: storage tanks, sewers and sump pits.
A restricted space is a fully or partially enclosed space that can be accessed by a person, but is not designed and constructed for continuous human occupancy, and atmospheric hazards are not present nor likely to occur due to its construction, location, design and/or contents. These spaces often have entrance and exit points that are restricted, limited or impeded.
Examples of restricted spaces include: elevator pits, below-ground vaults and crawl spaces.
The (google doc) Confined and Restricted Space Program (external link) is available to TMU students, faculty and staff. It provides more detailed information on roles and responsibilities, as well as program elements and applicable guidelines on the management of confined and restricted space hazards at the university.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Confined Spaces (O. Reg. 632/05), every employer is responsible for protecting workers who perform work in a fully or partially enclosed space that is not designed or constructed for continuous human occupancy.
Toronto Metropolitan University has created an inventory outlining all the confined and restricted spaces on campus. This program is intended to comply with the following regulations and guidelines:
- Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
- Ontario Confined Spaces Regulation (O. Reg. 632/05)
- CSA Z1006- 16 - Management of Work in Confined Spaces
How are confined and restricted spaces assessed?
Facilities Management and Development’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team and Maintenance and Operations have worked closely to identify all confined and restricted spaces at Toronto Metropolitan University and have created a program and procedures to allow those spaces to be accessed safely when it’s necessary.
In accordance with applicable legislation, each space that requires a worker to enter it must be assessed before any activities are carried out within it. This is completed via TMU’s Confined and Restricted Space Hazard Assessment. This assessment considers the hazards that may exist due to the design, construction, location, use or contents of the space and anticipate the hazards that may develop during any work done within it.
Where the assessment has determined that a space is a confined space, the requirements for confined-space entry must be fulfilled prior to accessing the space. If the assessment establishes that the space is a restricted space, then the requirements for restricted-space work must be fulfilled, also prior to accessing the space.
All assessed spaces are tracked and available through the (google sheet) Confined and Restricted Space Inventory (external link) .
Requirements for entering confined spaces
Only those with training may enter confined spaces. Before entering a confined space, workers must complete a control plan, a rescue plan, a coordination document (if required), and entry permit prior to entering the space, as per TMU’s Confined Space Entry Documentation (available by contacting email@example.com).
The following sections are required documents:
- confined space control plan
- confined space rescue plan
- coordination document
- confined space entry permit
Requirements for entering restricted spaces
Only those with training may enter restricted spaces. Before entering a restricted space, workers are required to complete a control plan for the hazards identified in the assessment, as per TMU’s Restricted Spaces Safe Work Procedure (available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org).
The following controls are to be considered:
- controlling access to the space
- entry and exit procedures
- lock-out/tag-out of hazardous energies
- communication system(s)
- use of the “buddy system”
- emergency rescue procedures
- personal protective equipment (PPE) manual requirements
Employers must post a clearly visible warning or danger sign at the entrance of any confined or restricted space in the workplace. At TMU, signage is posted in areas that have been identified as a confined or restricted space. If you are a supervisor who requires new or replacement signage for your area, please contact the Facilities Help Desk at email@example.com for assistance.
Examples of TMU's signage include:
Anyone who is required to perform or support work in confined or restricted spaces must receive appropriate training to be able to safely perform their assigned duties. EHS will arrange for the applicable training outlined below and the employee’s supervisor will certify that this training has been completed.
Confined and Restricted Space Awareness Training (4 hours)
This training is applicable to anyone who is required to work in restricted spaces. It includes as a minimum the following components:
- legislative and departmental requirements
- confined and restricted space recognition
- hazard assessment and controls
- confined space entry accidents
- confined and restricted space documentation
- rescue planning
Confined Space Entry Training (8 hours)
This training is applicable to anyone who is required to work in confined spaces. Currently, TMU employees do not enter confined spaces on TMU premises. Subsequently, access to confined spaces is only permitted for authorized contractors who are trained in Confined Space Entries. The training must cover the following topics as a minimum:
- legislative and departmental requirements
- requirements for confined space documentation
- recognition, assessment and control of confined space hazards
- evaluation of control measures
- air monitoring for atmospheric hazards
- ventilation and purging
- lock-out/tag-out of energized systems
- rescue planning
- practical training in the inspection, use and care of rescue and personal protective equipment
Contact us to schedule training
To schedule a training session for confined and restricted spaces, please contact EHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.