The Role of the Confined Space Supervisor

by Jan 5, 2021Confined spaces

When working in confined spaces, it is mandatory to provide for the presence of a supervisor throughout the work. They play a crucial role in the smooth running of operations. The roles and responsibilities of a confined space supervisor are often misunderstood and therefore underestimated.

The confined space supervisor, in according with CSA Z1006-16, must be present at all times outside of the confined space, at its entrance of exit. They must, under no circumstance, enter it.

Before allowing workers to enter the confined space, the supervisor is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the entry procedure and of being informed of the nature of the work to be carried out. This way, they make sure that they are knowledgeable about the risks that will need to be controlled. Here are some of the most common risks when working in confined spaces:

  • Hazards related to the atmosphere (oxygen deficiency, release of toxic gas such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), build-up of carbon monoxide (CO), explosivity, etc.)
  • Biological hazards
  • Risks related to hazardous energies
  • Risks of entrapment or crushing
  • Risks of drowning
  • Risks of burial
  • Risks of falls

The supervisor must be able to maintain two-way communication with the entrants. If the supervisor must leave the premises, they must remain present until their replacement is there and ready or, if it is not possible for them to be replaced, they must request the interruption of the work and all of the entrants must exit the confined space.

If the supervisor considers that conditions are changing and that they compromise the health, safety, or physical well-being of the entrants, they must immediately request the evacuation of the confined space. In addition, they are responsible for initiating the established rescue procedure by contacting the entry coordinator and calling first responders.

In order to overcome all of their responsibilities, the confined space supervisor must have specific training for the role. This training must be offered to them by their employer and it must be updated regularly.

In conclusion when it comes time to choose a supervisor for work in a confined space, the employer and entrants must be able to rely on them confidently.

If you need training for your confined space supervisors, contact us. Our team of experts will be glad to help you.

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Intervention Prévention Inc.

Intervention Prévention concentrates its operations in the field of work safety, offering specialized services following Standards CSA Z462 – Workplace Electrical Safety, CSA Z460 – Control of Hazardous Energy: Lock-out and Other Methods, and CSA Z432 – Safeguarding of Machinery.


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