What is my legal obligation regarding communication & safety monitoring in confined spaces

Regulation 69 states:

The person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that a system of work is provided that includes:

  1. continuous communication with the worker from outside the confined space, and
  2. monitoring conditions within the confined space by a standby person who is in the vicinity of the confined space, and if practicable, observing the work being carried out.

A communication system is needed to enable communication between people inside and outside the confined space and to summon help in an emergency.

Depending on the conditions in the confined space, communication can be achieved by voice, radio, hand signals or other suitable methods.

Before a worker enters a confined space, a standby person must be assigned to continuously monitor the wellbeing of those inside the space, if practicable observe the work being carried out and initiate appropriate emergency procedures when necessary.

The standby person should:

  1. understand the nature of the hazards inside the particular confined space and be able to recognise signs and symptoms that workers in the confined space may experience
  2. remain outside the confined space and do no other work which may interfere with their primary role of monitoring the workers inside the space
  3. have all required rescue equipment (for example, safety harnesses, lifting equipment, a lifeline) immediately available
  4. have the authority to order workers to exit the space if any hazardous situation arises
  5. never enter the space to attempt rescue