A guide to the key changes

The Confined spaces compliance code, 2018 came into effect on 15 March 2018. It replaces the Confined spaces compliance code, 2008. The new code is based on the old code and is designed to:

  • be easy to read and use
  • align with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations)
  • reflect modern work practices and state of knowledge
  • align with other updated compliance codes.

Reference and style changes

The new code includes some standard updates:

  1. New references to relevant legislation when legal duties apply.
  2. Additional cross-references to make related information easier to find in the code.
  3. Information about Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) duties as well as OHS Regulations duties.

Part 1 - Introduction

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • The full definition of a 'confined space' under regulation 5 of the OHS Regulations has been added under the subheading 'What is a confined space?'
  • All duty holders are outlined with a summary of their primary duties under the OHS Act and the OHS Regulations.
  • New information about the risk management process.
  • Information about consultation has been broadened and moved to appear earlier in Part 1 of the new code. This section now clearly sets out an employer's legal duties to conduct consultation with employees and health and safety representatives (HSRs) on matters of health or safety.
  • The 'Information, instruction and training' section has moved from the end of the old code to appear in Part 1 of the new code. This section has expanded to explain the employer duties for providing information, instruction, training and supervision to employees, including additional information about duties under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations that did not appear in the old code.
  • The information under ‘How to determine a space is a confined space’ has been rearranged so it’s easier to read. A new flow chart and practical examples have been included to simplify the process of working out if your situation fits the OHS Regulations definition of a confined space.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • purpose
  • scope
  • application
  • background
  • what is a confined space?
  • how to determine whether a space is a confined space
  • consultation
  • purpose
  • scope
  • application
  • background
  • what is a confined space?
  • who has duties?
  • the risk management process
  • consultation
  • information, instruction, training and supervision
  • how to determine whether a space is a confined space

Part 2 – Duties of designers, manufacturers and suppliers

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • A new section for suppliers to explain how to comply with the supplier duty under regulation 53 of the OHS Regulations to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that plant, before it is supplied, has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the OHS Regulations.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • eliminating or reducing the need to enter the space
  • entry and exit
  • eliminating or reducing the need to enter the space
  • entry and exit
  • suppliers

Part 3.1 – Duties of employers – Hazard identification

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • a new breakout box to remind employers of their duties to consult with employees and HSRs on health or safety matters
  • information on generic hazard identification has been moved from the end of this Part to the beginning
  • fire and explosion information has been revised to more directly set out an employer’s duties in relation to these risks. The definition of ‘lower explosive limit’ has also been added
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • hazards that identify a regulated confined space
    • restricted means of entry or exit
    • harmful atmospheric contaminants
    • unsafe oxygen level
    • engulfment
  • other hazards associated with confined spaces
    • uncontrolled introduction of substances
    • fire and explosion
    • biological hazards
    • mechanical hazards
    • electrical hazards
    • skin contact with hazardous substances
    • noise
    • manual handling
    • radiation
    • environmental hazards
    • hazards outside the confined space
    • additional physiological and psychological demands of working in a confined space
    • generic hazard identification
  • generic hazard identification
  • hazards associated with the nature of work in a confined space
    • restricted means of entry or exit
    • harmful atmospheric contaminants
    • unsafe oxygen level
    • engulfment
  • other hazards associated with confined spaces
    • uncontrolled introduction of substances
    • fire and explosion
    • biological hazards
    • mechanical hazards
    • electrical hazards
    • skin contact with hazardous substances
    • noise
    • hazardous manual handling
    • radiation
    • environmental hazards
    • hazards outside the confined space
    • additional physiological and psychological demands of working in a confined space

Part 3.2 – Duties of employers – Assessing risks

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • A new breakout box to remind employers of their duties to consult with employees and HSRs on health or safety matters.
  • Information about testing the atmosphere has been moved to this section from the ‘Specific risk control duties’ part of the old code. This section explains the locations in a confined space that should be tested and when tests should be carried out.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • risk assessment
  • testing the atmosphere
  • where to test
  • when to test

Part 3.3 – Duties of employers – Risk control: General duty

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • A new paragraph about an employer’s duties to consult with employees and HSRs on matters related to health or safety.
  • Information about maintaining, monitoring and reviewing risk controls has been moved from the end of the ‘Specific risk control duties’ part in the old code to appear earlier in the new code. This information has also been expanded to more clearly set out the duties under regulation 62 of the OHS Regulations in relation to reviewing risk control measures.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • general risk control duty
    • eliminating the need to enter the space
    • controlling the risk
    • the nature of the space
    • the level of oxygen and atmospheric contaminants
    • the work and work method
    • work done outside the confined space
    • the means of entry and exit
    • the type of emergency procedures required
  • determining risk control measures
  • eliminating the need for entering the space
  • controlling the risk
  • the nature of the confined space
  • the level of oxygen and atmospheric contaminants
  • the work and work method
  • work done outside the confined space
  • the means of entry and exit
  • emergency procedures
  • maintaining risk controls
  • review of risk controls

Part 3.4 – Duties of employers – Risk control: Specific duties

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • A new breakout box to remind employers of their duties to consult with employees and HSRs on health or safety matters.
  • A new paragraph on the isolation of plant and services to reflect regulation 57 of the OHS Regulations.
  • Additional explanatory information on exposure standards under the ‘Ensuring a safe atmosphere’ heading.
  • Information about respiratory protective equipment (RPE) has been revised to more clearly reflect an employer’s or self-employed person’s duties to provide RPE in certain situations.
  • A new table sets out the considerations for employers when they are planning emergency procedures.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • isolation
  • atmosphere
  • purging
  • ventilation
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • fire and explosion
  • testing the atmosphere
  • where to test
  • when to test
  • recording of test results
  • signage
  • confined space entry permit
  • entry to and exit from the confined space
  • communication and initiation of emergency procedures
  • what must be achieved
  • continuous communication
  • ability to initiate appropriate emergency procedures
  • emergency procedures
  • planning, establishment and rehearsal of emergency, rescue and first aid procedures
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • entrance and exit size to enable rescue
  • maintenance of plant
  • reviewing risk controls
  • information, instruction and training
  • isolation of plant and services
  • methods of isolation from materials, contaminants or conditions
  • methods of isolation from the activation or energising of plant or services
  • ensuring a safe atmosphere
  • purging
  • ventilation
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • fire and explosion
  • signage
  • confined space entry permit
  • entry to and exit from a confined space
  • communication and initiation of emergency procedures
  • emergency procedures
  • planning and establishment of emergency rescue and first aid procedures
  • rehearsal and implementation of emergency procedures
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • entrance and exit size to enable rescue
  • maintenance of plant

Appendices

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • Appendix B – Definitions has been removed from the new code.
  • Appendix B – Examples of incidents in confined spaces’ has been revised to provide more context on why it is important to be aware of the types of incidents that have occurred, and to replace the welding incident example with two more up to date examples.
  • A new ‘Appendix D – Sample confined space entry permit’ has been included to assist duty holders in developing entry permits that cover all the necessary information for their circumstances.
Code of practice 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • Appendix A – The compliance framework
  • Appendix B – Definitions
  • Appendix C – Consultation
  • Appendix D – Examples of confined space incidents
  • Appendix E – Confined spaces definition template
  • Appendix A – The compliance framework
  • Appendix B – Examples of incidents in confined spaces
  • Appendix C – Confined spaces definition template
  • Appendix D – Sample confined space entry permit

Related pages