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The Confined Spaces Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a comprehensive document outlining the safety steps associated with working in confined spaces.
This SWMS covers working in confined spaces, as generally defined in the WHS Regulation 2011. This SWMS does not cover working in confined spaces in a mine shaft or workings of a mine.
This SWMS does not cover the “High Risk Construction Work” for working on or near overhead power lines or underground services in sufficient detail. Dedicated SWMS should be developed for these tasks, and for any risks not covered in this SWMS.
Examples of confined spaces might include: vats, tanks, pits, pipes, ducts, flues, chimneys, silos, pressure vessels, underground sewers, wet or dry wells and shafts, when these examples meet the definition of a confined space.
The definition for a confined space under the WHS Regulation 2011 is:
An enclosed or partially enclosed space that:
1) is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person; and
2) is, or is designed or intended to be, at normal atmospheric pressure while any person is in the space; and
3) is or is likely to be a risk to health and safety from:
i. an atmosphere that does not have a safe oxygen level; or
ii. contaminants, including airborne gases, vapours and dusts, that may cause injury from fire or explosion; or
iii. harmful concentrations of any airborne contaminants; or
Main hazards include fatality/serious injury from:
- lack of oxygen
- harmful, toxic or flammable gases, vapours or fumes
- fire / explosion
- slips, trips & falls
- exposure to biological hazards
This SWMS includes:
This SWMS is ready to use and is not a blank template. Simply add your company details, ABN, and include any site specific details or risks and make it specific to the task at hand. It is then ready for printing and to be incorporated as part of your overall WHS System.
- permit is signed, dated and correct for the task
- suitable stand-by person on site and entry recorded
- suitable communication procedures available
- all PPE and RPE is available and in working order
- all persons understand their role and responsibilities
Provide safe entry into the space (such as suitable full-body harness, lifeline and winch capable of retrieving a person in an emergency, and tripod systems).
Immediately report any hazardous conditions or injuries, review risk controls where required
Ensure permit has space for acknowledgement that work has been completed and all persons have exited the confined space.
When work in the confined space is completed the PCBU must ensure that everyone leaves the space and the competent person must sign the permit confirming this.
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