Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Workplace Safety and Health (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2009 - WSH Bulletin

2 Oct 2009

To ensure safe working conditions in confined spaces in workplaces, the Workplace Safety and Health (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2009 was gazetted on 2 October 2009 and will take effect on 1 November 2009. The key provisions in the new Regulations are:

(a) Keeping a record of confined spaces – A register or record of all fixed and stationary confined spaces must be kept;

(b) Instituting requirements for confined space entry permit – Entry into a confined space should be controlled through the implementation of a systematic confined space entry permit system, conduct of periodic atmospheric testing, and display of entry permit and identification badges at the entrance to the confined space;

(c) Display of warning signs – Warning signs must be displayed at the entrance to the confined space to warn persons of the hazards of the confined space;

(d) Appointment of confined space attendant – A specific provision mandates the appointment of a confined space attendant whenever entry into or work is to be carried out in confined space. The regulation also prescribes specific duties for the attendant such as monitoring persons entering and working in the confined space, as well as alerting rescue personnel during emergencies;

(e) Training of workers, supervisors and rescue personnel – Workers and supervisors should be trained to ensure effective conduct and oversight of work performed in confined spaces. Training requirements are also specified for rescue personnel to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out rescue operation properly and safely in the event of an accident in confined spaces; and

(f) Establishment of emergency and rescue plan – Emergency and rescue plans as well as provision of rescue equipment should be established to ensure prompt and safe recovery of workers during accidents, to minimise the severity of injuries sustained. The Workplace Safety and Health (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2009 can be viewed at the Ministry of Manpower website here.