Danger! 3 questions to ask before entering confined spaces

Danger! 3 questions to ask before entering confined spaces


External service providers are often at risk in confined spaces. They are hired to do work that you can't or won't do yourself. Even if they are used to doing specialized work, that doesn't mean they are protected from danger.

Real case
Emballage Knowlton. Some may remember this terrible accident that claimed the lives of a first-aid worker and two external workers hired by Emballage Knowlton, a company from Lac-Brome, to perform welding work inside a vat. The three people were poisoned due to the leakage of a lethal, colourless, and odourless gas: argon. This accident could have been avoided.

According to the inspector’s report: “Safety equipment was missing at the incident site,” said spokesman Antoine Tousignant. Before confined space entry, employees should have measured the level of oxygen in the air, which had not been done. “Also, they should have worn safety harnesses in case of an accident,” he says.

We need to coach employees and individuals working as external service providers- and never assume that they are aware of the dangers or have the training required for this type of work. See how we can help you protect them.


If you must perform hazardous tasks in a confined space or around it (cleaning of vats pumping, welding, etc.) and you require a contractor (designated as an external service provider in the CSA Z1006-10 standard), here are a few questions to ask before starting the work:

  1. This person is qualified to do the job, but can he perform it safely in a confined space? Can he work alone, or will you accompany him throughout the intervention?
  2. Was a risk analysis performed?
  3. Have gas detectors and other protective equipment been selected to match the environment and working conditions?

Remember that the employer is responsible for the health and safety of the people he hires.

For example, in Quebec, since March 2004, the C-21 Act is meant not only to make companies accountable but also individuals (supervisors, colleagues, etc.)

Indeed, section 217.1 of the Criminal Code states that: “Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

Confined space


Contact our experts to guide you in the preparation of work in confined spaces.

"We need to properly supervise employees and people who come to work as external service providers. We're becoming very familiar with our confined spaces, but we're still often unaware of the hazards associated with the tasks that are performed there.

It should not be assumed that they know the hazards and have the proper training for this type of work.  Also, many are unaware of the requirements of such work," explains Fabien Demers, Senior Advisor/Trainer for the past 27 years at SPI Health and Safety.

"We can go on-site to supervise them, estimate the risks, train them, etc. We are proud to have the best team of workers in Canada!