Work in confined space. What are confined spaces?

August 2023


In industrial cleaning, we face a number of challenges, and one of the most complex is dealing with confined spaces. These environments, which present high risks to workers, require a great deal of knowledge and strict safety protocols to ensure successful and accident-free work.
In this post, we will explore what confined spaces are, the associated hazards, essential safety measures and the types of work we can do in these critical environments.

Confined Spaces: Definition and Characteristics

Confined spaces are areas which, by design, present limitations in terms of access and egress, and which are not designed for continuous occupancy. These locations can range from storage tanks to narrow ducts and sealed processing equipment. The lack of natural ventilation and the potential build-up of hazardous substances make working in these environments a unique challenge in industrial cleaning.

Latent Risks in Confined Spaces

Confined spaces harbour a number of serious hazards for workers. Common hazards include lack of adequate oxygen, accumulation of toxic or flammable gases, and the possibility of entrapment or crushing due to the possible narrow design of spaces. Awareness of these risks is essential to ensure the safety of cleaning equipment.

Safety measures

Working in confined spaces requires careful planning and strict adherence to safety measures. These precautions help mitigate inherent risks and ensure safe and successful operation.

Detailed Assessment and Planning

Before entering a confined space, it is essential to carry out a thorough risk assessment. This includes identifying the potential hazards present, assessing the air quality and determining the necessary control measures. Detailed planning of activities and emergency protocols are also critical steps.

Training and Specialised Equipment

All personnel involved must be adequately trained in confined space work procedures, including the use of specific personal protective equipment (PPE). This equipment may include special suits, hard hats, chemical resistant gloves, goggles and non-slip boots. Gas detectors, ventilation systems and rescue equipment must also be available and in optimal condition.

Continuous Monitoring and Communication

During confined space operations, constant monitoring of environmental conditions and effective communication are essential. Any change in atmosphere or safety must be communicated immediately, and a clear system of signalling and communication between workers inside and outside the space must be established.

Types of Confined Spaces and Work to be Performed

Confined spaces cover a wide range of environments and structures. Depending on their nature and purpose, various industrial cleaning jobs can be carried out in these spaces.

Storage Tanks and Silos

Storage tanks and silos, common in the chemical and food industry, require regular cleaning to avoid build-up and contamination. Safe waste disposal and surface cleaning are critical tasks in these environments.

Ducts and Pipelines

Cleaning ducts and pipes in confined spaces can be essential to maintain the efficient flow of materials and products. The removal of blockages and the prevention of corrosion are key objectives in these tasks.

Refinery Equipment and Sealed Machinery

Refinery equipment, such as catalytic reactors, are vital components in chemical and petrochemical production. Proper cleaning and maintenance of this sealed equipment is essential to ensure product quality and safe operation. Industrial cleaning specialists must be specially trained to work in these highly specialised environments.


Industrial cleaning in confined spaces is a challenge that requires a thorough understanding of the risks and rigorous implementation of safety measures. By addressing a variety of environments, from storage tanks to refinery equipment, with proper planning, training and specialised equipment, we can ensure effective operations and the safety of our workers every step of the way.

At Lagupres, we pride ourselves on leading the way in confined space cleaning, providing reliable and safe solutions at the forefront of the industry.