Quebec’s confined space regulation has changed. Are you compliant?

Quebec’s confined space regulation has changed. Are you compliant?


Several regulatory changes have been introduced in Quebec in recent years. The aim of these changes is, of course, to improve worker safety, in particular by making workplaces safer.

Confined space work has been one of Quebec’s most recent targets of these regulatory changes. Replacement definitions, new provisions and modified atmospheric thresholds came into force on July 25, 2023.

According to the Quebec government, the new provisions of this regulation will enable the creation of more than 375 enclosed spaces per year. This would have an economic impact of around $6 million for businesses in the province. All this, of course, while reducing the toll of occupational injuries. 

Read the official version of the changes to the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety in confined spaces (RROHS) here!

Let’s take a look at the changes to the confined space regulation 👇

New definitions

The “confined space” definition in the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety in confined spaces has been amended to better target atmospheric hazards and those associated with free-flowing materials. The definition of a “confined space” is amended as follows:

Any space that is totally or partially enclosed, such as a tank, silo, vat, hopper, chamber, vault, pit, including manure pit and pre-pit, sewer, pipe, chimney, manhole, railcar or truck tank, or wind turbine blade, and that presents one or more of the following hazards due to containment: 

  1. A risk of asphyxiation, intoxication, loss of consciousness or judgment, fire or explosion associated with the atmosphere or internal temperature; 
  2. A burial hazard; 
  3. A risk of drowning or entanglement due to liquid level or flow. 

(English translation of the GAZETTE OFFICIELLE DU QUÉBEC, 25 janvier 2023, 155e année, n°4 for information purposes only)

What about your confined space training?

To make sure you comply with the new regulations, it's best to get the training required to do so. To this end, SPI now offers confined space training courses updated to comply with the new regulations.

To find out more, click here!

New provisions

New provisions are inserted and modified in the regulations in Section XXVI - Work in Confined Spaces.

Looking for a better understanding of this new regulation? Our confined space experts can help!

Section 297.1 Confined Space Layout

This new section requires that a new confined space, or the renovation of an existing one, must incorporate equipment and facilities that enable workers to intervene from the outside. If this is not possible, effective measures must be taken to control the risks based on the information gathered in Section 300.

Section 298. Qualified Workers

The section is modified by the requirement to be 18 or older to perform tasks in confined spaces.
Section 300: Gathering Information and Preventive Measures Before Work
Before starting work in a confined space, certain information must be available. The information required concerns the risks associated with the atmosphere, free-flowing materials that can cause burial or drowning, other risks that can compromise the safety or evacuation of workers, and preventive measures to ensure the physical safety of workers.

Section 305. Special Measures

This section is hereby repealed.

Section 308. Supervision

This section replaces the former sections 308 and 309 in order to better identify supervisors in confined spaces. The supervisor must be designated by the employer and stand outside and close to the entrance. The supervisor must remain in contact with the worker using a two-way communication link.
The supervisor must be able to order the evacuation of the confined space.

Section 309. Rescue Procedure

This amendment to the section provides more information on the rescue plan and the equipment and resources to be deployed for rapid rescue. The equipment must be:

  1. Adapted to the intended use, the specific conditions of the work and the confined space; 
  2. Checked and maintained in good condition; 
  3. Present and easily accessible in the vicinity of the confined space for rapid intervention. 

(English translation of the GAZETTE OFFICIELLE DU QUÉBEC, 25 janvier 2023, 155e année, n°4 for information purposes only)

Section 311. Precautions Regarding Free Flow Materials

It is forbidden to enter an enclosed space used to store free-flowing materials. Mention of the solid state has been added. 
Several precautions and measures have been added in the event of an indispensable need to enter the confined space. These must be put in place before access to the confined space is authorized.

Section 312. Precautions for Liquid Materials

Section 312 explains that an area isolation or flow control procedure must be put in place to avoid the risk of drowning.

New Atmospheric Thresholds

Section 302 on ventilation explains that entry into a confined space can only occur if there is natural or mechanical ventilation. Atmospheric conditions must also be respected.

In paragraph 1, the minimum oxygen concentration is increased from 19.5% to 20.5%. In paragraph 2, the maximum concentration of flammable gases or vapors is raised from 10% to 5% of the lower explosion limit.

Need help with your confined space protection?

Our experts will be happy to help you implement safety measures in confined spaces. Tailor-made solutions will be proposed to meet your specific needs and the confined space regulation.

Contact one of our specialists

DISCLAIMER: The English version is a translation of the original in French for information purposes only. In case of a discrepancy, the French original will prevail.