Unit of competency details

RIIOHS401A - Supervise work in confined spaces (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 22/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to RIIWHS401D - Supervise work in confined spaces 13/Nov/2013

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061301 Occupational Health And Safety  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061301 Occupational Health And Safety  02/Sep/2009 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers supervising work in confined space in resources and infrastructure industries. It includes: preparing for work; providing information; ensuring that the safety and health of personnel entering and working in a confined space is not affected; supervising entry and work; implementing emergency and rescue systems; and withdrawing from confined space and facilitate return to service.

Application of the Unit

This unit is appropriate for those working in supervisory or technical specialist roles, within:

  • Civil construction
  • Coal mining
  • Drilling
  • Extractive industries
  • Metalliferous mining

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for work in the confined space

1.1. Access, interpret and apply compliance documentation  relevant to the working in confined spaces

1.2. Access and interpret the site confined spaces safety management program 

1.3. Determine tasks and access or develop Safe Operating Procedures for work to be carried out in the confined space

1.4. Identify and implement communications  system and equipment

1.5. Select personal protective equipment  appropriate for work activities

1.6. Identify and obtain resources for implementation of the confined spaces safety management program

1.7. Prepare Confined Space Entry Permit and hot work permits

2. Provide information about working in confined spaces

2.1. Establish effective consultation mechanisms with all levels of the workforce

2.2. Consult with employees and employee representatives on implementation of the confined spaces safety management program

2.3. Identify and meet the communication needs of special groups

2.4. Provide information, instruction, training and supervision to employees on safe working in confined spaces

3. Ensure that the safety and health of personnel entering and working in a confined space is not affected

3.1. Identify relevant personnel or expertise for risk assessment, and initiate hazard identification and risk assessment process of the confined space and work to be carried out

3.2. Identify and record hazards associated with the confined space and the work to be carried out

3.3. Assess risks relating to work in the confined space

3.4. Identify and implement effective control measures for confined space hazards according to the Hierarchy of Controls 

3.5. Develop a confined space checklist for the Confined Space Entry Permit

3.6. Ensure that atmospheric monitoring instruments are available or installed in the confined space, and calibrated correctly

3.7. Keep written records of hazard and risk assessment processes and outcomes, and the controls put in place

4. Supervise entry and work in a confined space

4.1. Allocate resources to confined space personnel for effective, safe performance of designated work

4.2. Ensure that all personnel entering the confined space read, understand and sign the Confined Space Entry Permit and hot work permits

4.3. Ensure that all personnel are clear on their work activities and responsibilities

4.4. Brief and post confined space observers and sentries

4.5. Check that required personal protective equipment is worn in accordance with site practices and manufacturers' instructions

4.6. Ensure that communications systems are installed and maintained

4.7. Monitor and evaluate the continued effectiveness of risk assessment processes and controls

4.8. Test and maintain controls

4.9. Ensure that work adheres to SOPs

5. Implement confined space emergency and rescue systems

5.1. Select emergency rescue equipment appropriate for the confined space activities

5.2. Identify and liaise with external Emergency Services agencies

5.3. Implement site approved emergency procedures

5.4. Ensure that personnel are trained in emergency procedures

5.5. Keep and maintain emergency procedure training records

6. Withdraw from confined space and facilitate return to service

6.1. Ensure that confined space work is completed to site requirements and all work-related materials and equipment removed from the confined space

6.2. Ensure all Permits to Work are cleared and systems isolation devices removed

6.3. Ensure that all personnel sign off the Confined Space Entry Permit

6.4. Advise appropriate personnel that the confined space is clear for return to service

6.5. Review the confined space safety management program

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

Specific skills are required to achieve the performance criteria in this unit, particularly for the application in the various circumstances in which this unit may be applied. This includes the ability to carry out the following as required to supervise work in confined space:

  • apply legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures
  • access, interpret and apply technical and safety information
  • apply activity coordination and supervision procedures
  • apply effective communication with a range of people in the workplace
  • apply plant and equipment record requirements
  • apply diagnostic/faultfinding techniques
  • apply environmental requirements
  • apply procedures for working at heights
  • apply task analysis techniques
  • apply atmospheric contaminants measurement procedures
  • apply First Aid
  • apply fire fighting techniques
  • apply negotiation procedures with employers and employees

Required knowledge 

Specific knowledge is required to achieve the Performance Criteria of this unit, particularly its application in a variety of circumstances in which the unit may be used. This includes knowledge of the following, as required to supervise work in confined space:

  • legislation, standards and code of practice as they apply to confined spaces
  • definition of confined space
  • responsibilities of employers and employees, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and installers in general as they apply to safe work in confined spaces
  • the process of hazard identification, risk assessment and control
  • workplace strategies for implementing confined space legislation
  • the effects of atmospheric contaminants entering the respiratory system
  • effects on the human body such as:
  • oxygen deficiency
  • toxic contaminants
  • combustible contaminants
  • physical hazards such as engulfment and entrapment
  • physiological conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, phobias and physical fitness
  • risks to workers handling hazardous substances in confined spaces
  • risks from electric shock, explosion or fire, temperature changes, noise, and trips, slips and falls
  • relationship between work environment and systems of work
  • injury record systems
  • consultation requirements and procedures with employees and employee representative
  • control measures and the Hierarchy of Controls
  • methods of systems isolation
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • examination, testing and maintenance of control measures
  • emergency procedures in confined spaces
  • selection, use, training and maintenance of safety and rescue equipment
  • implementation of emergency rescue procedures
  • consultation techniques
  • communication and observer systems
  • record keeping requirements

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to worksite operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:

  • knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions for supervising work in confined spaces
  • implementation of appropriate procedures and techniques for the supervision of safe, effective and efficient work in confined spaces
  • working with others to plan, prepare and conduct work in confined spaces
  • provision of clear and timely instruction and supervision by the individual of those involved in working in confined spaces
  • evidence of the consistent successful supervision of work in confined spaces

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

  • This unit must be assessed in the context of the work environment. Where personal safety or environmental damage are limiting factors, assessment may occur in a simulated environment provided it is realistic and sufficiently rigorous to cover all aspects of workplace performance, including task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job role environment skills.
  • The assessment environment should not disadvantage the participant. For example, language, literacy and numeracy demands of assessment should not be greater than those required on the job.
  • Customisation of assessment and delivery environment to sensitively accommodate cultural diversity.
  • Aboriginal people and other people from a non English speaking background may have second language issues.
  • Assessment of this competency requires typical resources normally used in a resources and infrastructure sector environment. Selection and use of resources for particular worksites may differ due to the site circumstances.
  • Where applicable, physical resources should include equipment modified for people with disabilities.
  • Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required.

Method of assessment 

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency. The assessment strategy for this unit must verify required knowledge and skill and practical application using more than one of the following assessment methods:

  • written and/or oral assessment of the candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and/or first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:
  • implementation of appropriate procedures and techniques for the safe, effective and efficient achievement of the required outcomes
  • consistently achieving the required outcomes
  • first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:
  • working with others to plan, prepare and conduct work in confined spaces
  • provision of clear and timely instruction and supervision by the individual of those involved in working in confined spaces

Guidance information for assessment 

  • Consult the SkillsDMC User Guide for further information on assessment including access and equity issues.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant compliance documentation 

may include:

  • legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures
  • manufacturer's guidelines and specifications
  • Australian standards
  • code of practice
  • Employment and workplace relations legislation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and Disability Discrimination legislation

A confined spaces safety management program  may typically cover:

  • roles and responsibilities according the legislation and identification and designation of areas of responsibility
  • hazard identification and risk management
  • specific strategies to ensure that training and information are delivered commensurate to the position and responsibility
  • procedures for safe working in confined spaces
  • system for use of confined spaces entry and hot work permits
  • record keeping in accordance with legislative requirements
  • resourcing of appropriate confined spaces safety training

Communications  may include:

  • hand-held radio
  • telephone
  • mobile phone
  • hand signals
  • computer
  • verbal instructions
  • lights

Personal protective equipment  may include:

  • face and eye protection;
  • head protection;
  • foot protection;
  • body protection;
  • hearing protection;
  • respiratory protection;
  • hand protection
  • harnesses and/or safety lines

The Hierarchy of Controls  lists the control measures that should be implemented in priority order, including:

  • elimination
  • substitution
  • isolation
  • engineering controls
  • administrative controls
  • personal protective equipment

Unit Sector(s)

Occupational Health and Safety

Competency field

Refer to Unit Sector(s).

Co-requisite units

Not applicable.

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