Confined space training may be legally required for your staff if they will be working in certain conditions, and it can be good to have them take this training if they'll be working in any hazardous areas, even if it doesn't meet the legal definition of a confined space. If you're in charge of ensuring that company workers are properly trained for various environments, note some questions you might have about confined space training, and then discuss your options and obligations with your local licensing board as needed.
What is considered a confined space?
You might assume that a confined space means a very small area, such as a sewer pipe or ventilation shaft. However, a confined space typically refers to any type of space where a worker is at risk of drowning, asphyxiation or exposure to toxic gas. As an example, a water tank might be considered a confined space no matter how large it is, since a worker may be at risk of drowning in that tank. If you're not sure if the area or structure in which you'll be working could be considered a confined space, discuss its specifications with a local licensing office, or send your workers to confined space training anyway, just to be safe.
Can the training be done onsite?
Whether or not confined space training can be done on your jobsite often depends on the number of persons who need to be trained and whether your site offers a sufficient area to demonstrate this training. For example, you may need confined space training for repairs inside a water tank, but if there is no equipment or space on your site that would allow a demonstration of how to safely lower a worker into the tank, this may not be an option.
What about a breathing apparatus?
It's good to ask the company you hire for your confined space training if you need to bring a breathing apparatus for the workers who will be trained, or if they provide this apparatus for you. It's also good to ask what type of apparatus they will train the workers on, and if there is a difference in that equipment for different areas. For example, you might need a different apparatus for a confined space where there is a risk of drowning, versus a space where there is a risk of fire or explosion. Whatever the case, ask the company you hire, as the answer of what they provide and what you need to bring may be different, depending on the company and the training needed.