Table of Contents | Print This Page

8. Coordination Document | Confined Spaces Guideline

  • Issued: September 2006
  • Revised: July 2011
  • Content last reviewed: July 2011

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Section 4 - Confined Spaces Regulation (O. Reg. 632/05)

  • 4 (1)  This section applies if the workers of more than one employer perform work in the same confined space or related work with respect to the same confined space.
  • (2)  Before any worker enters the confined space or begins related work with respect to the confined space, the lead employer or, in the case of a project, the constructor shall prepare a co-ordination document to ensure that the duties imposed on employers by sections 5 to 7, 9 to 12 and 14 to 20 are performed in a way that protects the health and safety of all workers who perform work in the confined space or related work with respect to the confined space.
  • (3)  Without restricting the generality of subsection (2), in the case of a workplace that is not a project, the co-ordination document may provide for the performance of a duty or duties referred to in that subsection by one or more employers on behalf of one or more other employers with respect to some or all of the workers.
  • (4)  A copy of the co-ordination document shall be provided to,
    • (a)  each employer of workers who perform work in the same confined space or related work with respect to the same confined space;
    • (b)  in the case of a workplace that is not a project, the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any, for each employer of workers who perform work in the same confined space or related work with respect to the same confined space; and
    • (c)  in the case of a workplace that is a project, the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any, for the project.

The multi-employer section of the confined spaces provisions does not diminish employer duties under the OHSA. It is intended to ensure that employers of workers working in a confined space are aware of potential or existing hazards that may be introduced by one or the other employer, and that there is communication between the employers in order to ensure worker safety. This section is also intended to reduce duplication with respect to requirements such as assessment, plan, and entry permits. However, this sharing of tasks does not diminish an employer’s duty to ensure compliance with the Confined Spaces Regulation.

The coordination document does not allow for the sharing of responsibilities for general training, personal protective equipment and records.

Is a coordination document required where my workers will not enter a space, and only the workers of one contractor will be performing work in the confined space?

No, the coordination document is only required where workers of more than one employer perform work in the same confined space or related work with respect to the same confined space. Workers may be working in the space at the same time, or consecutively.

“Related work” is defined by the Regulation, as “work that is performed near a confined space in direct support of work inside the confined space”.

Who is responsible for the confined space entry if the employer contracts the job out to a contractor or several contractors?

An employer may decide to contract out work to those with specific expertise; however, an employer cannot contract out its duties as an employer under the OHSA or its regulations. The employer must ensure that the workers work in compliance with the confined spaces requirements.

Who is responsible for the coordination document?

The coordination document must be prepared by the “lead employer” or in the case of a project, the constructor. The “lead employer” as defined by the Regulation, is an employer who contracts for the services of one or more other employers or independent contractors in relation to one or more confined spaces that are located either in the lead employer’s workplace or in another employer’s workplace.

On a construction project, the constructor is responsible for the preparation of the coordination document if workers of more than one employer performs work in the same confined space or related work with respect to the same confined space on a construction project.

The coordination document must ensure that employer duties with respect to the following subject matters are performed in a way that protects the health and safety of all workers who perform work in the confined space or related work with respect to the confined space:

  1. (a)  confined space program;
  2. (b)  hazard assessment;
  3. (c)  written plan;
  4. (d)  plan-specific training or training-projects, as applicable
  5. (e)  entry permits;
  6. (f)  written on-site rescue procedures, rescue equipment and methods of communication;
  7. (g)  isolation of energy and control of materials movement;
  8. (h)  attendants;
  9. (i)   entering and exiting;
  10. (j)  unauthorized entry;
  11. (k)  atmospheric testing;
  12. (l)   explosive and flammable substances; and
  13. (m)  ventilation and purging of atmospheric hazards.

Previous | Next

ISBN 978-1-4435-6842-5 (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4435-6841-8 (PRINT)

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.