HSE consults on changes to confined space ACoP

26th August 2014

The HSE has opened a six week consultation on changes to the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) relating to the Safe Work in Confined Spaces – Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 (L101). The regulator says the revisions are designed to clarify, not change, the requirements for dutyholders.

In 2012, the HSE consulted on the need to revise 30 ACoPs, including L101, in response to Professor Lofstedt’s 2011 review of Health and Safety Legislation. The respondents expressed concern that the definition of a “confined space” was unclear and resulted in an unnecessary burden on some employers who wrongly thought their enclosed spaces were also confined spaces.

The HSE is attempting to overcome this problem with a new definition emphasising that a confined space is both enclosed and has a specified risk. The new wording “Under these regulations a “confined Space” must have both of the following defining features: It must be a space which is substantially (not entirely) enclosed; and one or more of the specified risks must be present or reasonably foreseeable” replaces “Under these Regulations a “confined space” has two defining features. Firstly, it is a place which is substantially (not entirely) enclosed and, secondly, there will be a reasonably foreseeable risk of serious injury from hazardous substances or conditions within the space nearby.

The consultation is open until 30th September and the HSE expects to publish the finalised ACoP by the end of this year.