Confined spaces in construction high risk

The purpose of this standard is about safe entry into confined spaces with non-standard, hazardous entries which, in consequence, makes rescue difficult.


Minimum half a day of 3 learning hours


The purpose of this standard is about safe entry into confined spaces with non-standard, hazardous entries which, in consequence, makes rescue difficult. Entry may involve complex entry procedures with work-specific controls and rescue arrangements.

It will entail the use of self-contained open circuit breathing apparatus, specialist detection equipment, resuscitation equipment, and will require the presence of personnel who have designated responsibilities for dealing with emergencies.

The scope of this standard covers:

  • confined spaces: definition
  • specified risks, risk assessment and training
  • safe systems of work, permits to work
  • roles and responsibilities (e.g. top man/bottom man duties)
  • atmospheric hazards and gases
  • principles and use of gas detectors
  • inspection and use of escape sets and working breathing apparatus
  • pre use checks, correct donning & adjustment of harness
  • inspection and applications of tripods, winches and fall arrest equipment
  • emergency procedures
  • practical exercises and assessments

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational group(s):

  • operative and craft
  • supervision

Candidate pre-requisites

Candidates need to have previous experience of working in confined spaces and attended low/medium risk training. Candidates need to be over 18, in good health and physically fit.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • successfully completed training to this standard 
  • at least 2 years relevant industrial experience
  • a verifiable CV.


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment and will include opportunities to practice using specialist personal protective equipment (PPE) in confined spaces, though it is recommended that this training facility should not be subject to ‘live’ unknown risks, but simulated, mitigating risk of harm.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes, recommended maximum 1:12 for theory and 1:6 for practical.

The following delivery methods may not be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • e-learning

This standard is considered to contain 51% or more practical learning.

This standard is considered to be set at an intermediate level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment or knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the training standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


Recommended refreshment: Health & Safety Executive (HSE), other relevant codes of practice or industry card scheme criteria recommend that the candidate completes a refresher of his/her training, (i.e. to ensure their knowledge and/or skills are up to date) every 3 years.

Approval date


Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 years from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to

Additional guidance to support learning outcome

define a “confined space”
  • to include confined space classifications and examples
interpret and interrogate a formal risk assessment

to include

  • legislation: the Management of Health and Safety At Work Regulations; Confined Space Regulations, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, other relevant and superseding legislation
  •  hazard identification (using examples of: air quality/atmospheres, fire, dust, liquids, free flowing solids, weather, restricted access); possible effects or consequences of exposure to hazards; disease and hygiene
describe what “safe systems of work” should be implemented in different confined space scenarios.

to include:

  • responsibilities; risk assessment, real-time/dynamic assessment of risk and responses; possible scenarios; access control; rescue requirements and dealing with emergency situations including casualty recovery procedures; monitoring conditions; manning levels and communications, managing confined spaces and documentation
describe specific roles and responsibilities

including top man/bottom man

prepare to work safely in high risk confined spaces

including assessing and/or carrying out risk assessment, determining safe system of work, choosing appropriate equipment

enter and exit high risk confined spaces safely

practice and practical assessment in order to enter, work and safely exit

use specialist PPE including

  • masks, harnesses, hoists, gas detectors, escape breathing apparatus, self-contained open circuit (working) breathing apparatus

to include

  • checking of equipment; ‘donning and doffing’ procedures; face seals and face fit testing advice; ‘top person’ record charts and entrance to base assessments; dangers of ‘working at height’; equipment care
explain appropriate behaviour when working in high risk confined spaces examples of inappropriate behaviour may help to highlight appropriate behaviour
apply appropriate industry specific knowledge for working in high risk confined spaces  

Additional information about this standard

Guides from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Confined spaces: a brief guide to working safely (PDF download)

Safe work in confined spaces (PDF download)

Managing health and safety in construction (PDF download)

Guides from CITB

Industry guidance for principal contractors (PDF download)

Industry guidance for designers (PDF download)