According to the Health and Safety Executive, a number of people are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year in the United Kingdom. A confined space is defined as:

"any space of an enclosed nature where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions (e.g. Lack of oxygen)" Health and Safety Executive

The Management of health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to carry out risk assessments to identify the hazards present and to determine the ways in which performing work within confined spaces can be hazardous to health. It is advisable and good practice that employees who work in confined spaces are medically assessed for their suitability and fitness to work within confined spaces. 

The Health and Safety Executive states:

"The competent person should also consider other factors about an individual, for example concerning pre-existing medical conditions (claustrophobia, respiratory conditions like asthma etc) or physical strength and abilities (eg wearing heavy breathing apparatus), and other advice on an individual’s suitability for the work" Confined Spaces Regulations 1997: ACOP 4: 146

The purpose of a confined space medical assessment is to ensure the employee does not have any medical condition which could expose them to a higher degree of risk or result in injury to themselves or others while in confined spaces i.e. claustrophobia or cardiac disease.on

Confined Space Medicals take approximately 50 minutes and include:

  • Provision of a confidential task specific health questionnaire
  • Medical assessment in relation to working in confined spaces
  • Blood pressure & pulse measurements
  • Urinalysis
  • Lung function test
  • Audiometry
  • Body Mass index
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Report, restrictions and recommendations

Sources of Further information

Health and Safety Executive guidance on working in confined spaces

If you have any questions about confined spaces health assessments or any other occupational health services for your business in South Wales or the South of England, don't hesitate to call us on 02920 682028 or Contact us.