IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Development of a risk analysis and classification tool for confined-space interventions


Confined spaces, or enclosed areas, represent significant occupational health and safety hazards. In Quebec, between 1998 and 2011, an average of three people per year lost their lives working in confined spaces.
Quebec’s Regulation respecting occupational health and safety defines an enclosed area as any area that is completely or partially enclosed, has restricted access and is not designed for human occupation, but may occasionally be occupied for the performance of work. It can represent a risk for the health and safety of anyone who enters, owing to its design, construction or location, its atmosphere, the materials or substances it contains or other related hazards.

In light of the many risks associated with working in confined spaces, managing those risks is a major concern for occupational safety experts. While there is a large body of literature on the subject, very little risk analysis (risk identification and assessment) has been done, even though it is a necessary step in determining appropriate risk reduction measures.

The purpose of this research project is therefore to survey and study risk analysis and assessment methods relating to work in confined spaces. A further aim is to develop a tool for categorizing types of work in confined spaces on the basis of a risk analysis approach.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2010-0047
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2016