CSA Z1006-16: The standard for confined spaces

CSA Z1006-16: The standard for confined spaces


Each year, workers are injured or killed during confined space interventions. To better monitor workers’ level of safety, it is recommended to implement a work management program that includes the evaluation and prevention of risks associated with confined spaces.

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The CSA Z1006 standard is a reference tool that enables the development of such a program.

Since its creation in 2010, the confined space standard posed a challenge in its application for many organizations. Today, it represents a reference tool well integrated into daily management and is used to develop management programs or to enhance existing ones.

In 2016, the CSA Group proceeded with its revision. The standard has been cleaned up, certain parts were reformulated, and other sections were moved to facilitate reading.

The CSA standard is not mandatory. It is not referenced in the confined space policies and regulations. However, it serves as a guide to optimize work management and defines the proper behaviour to adopt in confined spaces.

Fabien Demers, Confined Space Advisor and Trainer at SPI Health and Safety has studied the new standard and highlights the changes in the following article.


Section 4 - Confined Space Management Program

The CSA Z1006-16 standard requires that the staff and management work together to develop the safety conditions to be respected.

It requires the involvement of workers and the mobilization of each of the stakeholders so that they work in synergy.

Section 5 - Roles and Responsibilities

In an emergency, the standard recommends that the company be able to provide an adequate emergency response.

If not, the company should document and implement mutual aid and assistance and/or service level agreements.

Note that using local emergency services is not always a viable solution.

Section 6 – Confined Space Program Development

Confined space risk assessment, previously named risk evaluation, has to be documented and include the scope, activity nomenclature, identified hazards, assessment results, and control measures as well as the names of the participants and the date of completion.

To ensure the relevance of the risk assessment, it must be reviewed by one or several qualified people before entering, and this revision must be indicated on the permit, therefore documented.

Section 7 – Confined Space Training

The different stakeholders must have been trained or have received a set of training courses specific to their roles regarding the associated risks and procedures to perform work in confined spaces. Training must be carried out at least every three years or at a shorter interval. According to the revision, the confined space stakeholders must now take refresher training courses and a skill assessment at least once a year.

These recommendations do not only affect rescue teams but now include the different stakeholders even more. 

The management must keep a training record that includes the course title as well as the name and signature of the trainer and the training provider. The record shall also indicate the date of the next training session, the training level (or certificate type) as well as the methods to evaluate the learning and determine if the workers are capable of applying the teachings.

Regarding confined space rescue drills, this version still recommends that they be conducted at least twice a year or before an entry. From now on, all rescue drills must be documented.

Section 8 – Implementation of the confined space management program

As in its initial version, CSA Z1006-16 offers recommendations for the required permits.

In general, in addition to the information required beforehand, the following must be added

  • Verification that a risk assessment has been completed and is available to workers
  • Air quality test results at the time of first entry and thereafter, as well as at the intervals prescribed by the risk assessment
  • The make and model of the equipment used for air quality testing
  • Confirmation that daily operational tests are performed and the permit validity period

Air testing

An important technical point in the standard concerns air testing. These analyses must now allow for a two-to-three-minute check at each test point to ensure sensor stabilization and more accurate readings.

In addition, a response time, based on the length of a tube used, must be considered, if applicable.

Fall protection

The changes in CSA Z1006-16 also affect fall protection in confined spaces. When working at heights or entering a confined space from above, the employer must now require the use of fall protection devices.

The anchor point must be able to withstand the forces to which it will be subjected and the fall protection equipment must comply with the relevant CSA Z259 standard for that equipment and any relevant requirements prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction.

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One of the most interesting changes in the 2016 version of the standard is the improvement of the annexes now covering three of the most problematic topics for organizations: atmospheric analysis and monitoring, rescue planning, and ventilation.

Among them, the new Annex C on atmospheric analysis and monitoring in confined spaces seeks to provide other requirements on applicable atmospheric analysis before and during confined space entry.


The standard states that when the risk assessment requires it, the presence of a supervisor and pre-entry air tests are necessary. In Quebec, these two elements apply regardless of the outcome of the risk assessment.

Understanding the changes in the standard and its nuances is essential in creating or adapting a safe confined space management program.

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