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9. Training | 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.

For all workplaces that are not projects, there are two sections focused on training: 1) hazard recognition and other general training, and 2) plan-specific training. Training requirements on construction projects are contained in a separate section (s.9.1) under the Confined Spaces Regulation.

Confined Spaces Regulation (O. Reg. 632/05)

Section 8: Hazard Recognition and other general training – workplaces other than projects

  • 8 (0.1)  This section does not apply to workplaces that are projects.
  • (1)  Every worker who enters a confined space or who performs related work shall be given adequate training for safe work practices for working in confined spaces and for performing related work, including training in the recognition of hazards associated with confined spaces.
  • (2)  The employer shall appoint a person with adequate knowledge, training and experience to conduct the training.
  • (3)  The employer shall ensure that training under this section is developed in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if any.
  • (4)  The employer shall ensure that training under this section is reviewed, in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if any, whenever there is a change in circumstances that may affect the safety of a worker who enters a confined space in the workplace, and in any case at least once annually.
  • (5)  The employer shall maintain up-to-date written records showing who provided and who received training under this section, the nature of the training and the date when it was provided.
  • (6)  The records may be incorporated into an entry permit under section 10.
  • (7)  Training under this section may be combined with training under section 9.

Section 9: Plan-Specific Training – workplaces other than projects

  • 9 (0.1)  This section does not apply to workplaces that are projects.
    • (1)  The employer shall ensure that every worker who enters a confined space or who performs related work,
      • (a)  receives adequate training, in accordance with the relevant plan, to work safely and properly; and
      • (b) follows the plan.
  • (2)  The employer shall maintain up-to-date written records showing who provided and who received training under this section, and the date when it was provided.
  • (3)  The records may be incorporated into an entry permit under section 10.
  • (4)  Training under this section may be combined with training under section 8.

Section 9.1: Training - projects

  • 9.1 (1)  This section applies only to workplaces that are projects.
  • (2)  The employer shall ensure that every worker who enters a confined space or who performs related work receives adequate training to perform the work safely, in accordance with the relevant plan.
  • (3)  Training under subsection (2) shall include training in,
    • (a)  the recognition of hazards associated with confined spaces; and
    • (b)  safe work practices for working in confined spaces and for performing related work.
  • (4)  The employer shall maintain up-to-date written records showing who provided and who received training under this section and the date when it was provided.
  • (5)  The employer shall provide the training records under subsection (4) to the project’s joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any, on request.
  • (6)  The records may be incorporated into an entry permit under section 10

What training will be required in order to enter confined spaces?

Every worker who works in a confined space must receive adequate training in the recognition of hazards associated with confined spaces and training to be able to safely perform the assigned duties for that specific confined space. Training is also required for persons contributing to the work activity (i.e., performs related work) even those not entering the confined space, for example, attendants and rescue workers.

Rescue personnel require training in on-site rescue procedures, first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of the specific rescue equipment required. On-site rescue procedures should be practiced so as to ensure a high level of proficiency.

Giving instructions to a confined space worker does not ensure that the worker is competent to safely perform work. Hands-on training should be an essential part of the confined space training. In cases where a worker is new to the job and does not have sufficient experience, one effective means of ensuring the new worker obtains adequate experience and training would be to have the worker teamed up with more experienced workers.

Every worker that enters a confined space must be adequately trained in accordance with the plan. Elements of the plan may include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Recognition and identification of potential hazards associated with the confined spaces that will be entered.
  • Evaluation and control procedures for the identified or potential hazards.
  • All equipment such as ventilation equipment (blowers), harnesses and air quality monitors (e.g., Oxygen/combustible meters) that will be used while in the confined space.
  • All personal protective equipment (e.g., respirators) that the worker will be using while in the confined space.
  • All procedures for entering the confined space.
  • Procedures to follow in the event of a situation developing that could present additional risk to the worker or an emergency.
  • The specific work to be done while in the confined space.

Workers with emergency rescue responsibilities will need training related to the rescue.

All confined space training should include some hands-on training with the safety equipment including the personal protective equipment and safety harnesses.

Although records of training must be kept, they may be recorded on the entry permit by incorporating the record into the permit, which also must be kept.

Do I have to provide refresher training?

Refresher training is not specifically required in the Confined Spaces Regulation, but for a workplace that is not a project, a review of training is required on an annual basis and whenever there is a change in circumstances that may affect the safety of a worker who enters a confined space in the workplace, such as a change in process or hazard assessment. A review is not the same as providing annual training.

However, the employer must ensure that the confined space training is adequate. Where the review determines the training not to be adequate, additional training should be provided. Refresher training at intervals determined by the specific conditions of the workplace may be needed.

May I purchase a training program or contract it out?

The hazard recognition and general part of the training could be purchased or contracted out. However, this training might need to be supplemented by plan specific training to ensure the workers are adequately trained. If any training is contracted out, it remains the responsibility of the employer to ensure the adequacy of the training delivered to the workers.

May I use web-based training?

Web-based training could be part of your training. However, the training may be supplemented with the plan-specific training. Regardless of the source of training or how it is provided to workers, the employer has the duty to ensure it is adequate to protect the health and safety of the workers who work in or around the confined space.

Does a trainer or a training organisation have to be certified to provide confined space training?

No. There is no certification process for trainers, workers, training programs or agencies at this time. It is up to the employer, in consultation with the JHSC or health and safety representative, if any, to determine the level and type of training provided, and to ensure it is adequate for the type of entry being conducted.

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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.