Work safely in confined spaces on a vessel


This unit involves the skills and knowledge required to enter and work safely in confined spaces on a vessel.

This unit applies to all maritime employees who could be required to work in, on or around confined spaces on board a vessel.

This unit has links to legislative and certification requirements.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.


Identify confined spaces and their regulatory framework


Characteristics of a confined space are outlined


Confined spaces in the workplace are identified


Regulations and standards relevant to confined space operations on vessels are identified


Relevant codes of practice and sources of guidance for undertaking confined space work are identified


Potential hazards of confined spaces are identified


Assess confined space for entry


Purpose and need to enter confined space is confirmed


Hazards in and around confined space and those associated with work to be performed are identified


Risk assessment is conducted and documented according to organisational procedures


Risk control measures are identified and documented


Obtain permission to enter confined space


Process and documentation required for authorisation to enter confined space are identified


Permission to enter and work in confined space is sought from authorised personnel on vessel according to regulatory and organisational requirements


Permit requirements associated with confined space entry and work to be performed are confirmed and completed


Plan and prepare for entry


Appropriate plan is prepared for completion of work activity in confined space


Process is followed to ensure confined space is ready for entry


Appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment is selected and used correctly


Entry equipment is made ready and used according to manufacturer operating instructions


Precautions during entry are identified to protect occupants


Apply emergency procedures


Role and responsibilities of standby person/s are clearly defined


Planned emergency procedures appropriate for circumstances are implemented


Personal protective equipment and emergency rescue equipment is selected, prepared and used


Conclude confined space operations


Personnel involved and equipment used are accounted for


Equipment is cleaned, inspected and/or serviced prior to stowage


Confined space entry is secured, isolations are removed and space is returned to normal


Permit is withdrawn and documentation is completed according to regulatory requirements and organisational policy

Evidence of Performance

Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the elements and performance criteria on at least one occasion and include:

completing necessary documentation associated with confined space entry

continuously monitoring and checking conditions and hazards when working in a confined space on a vessel

developing effective planning documents

identifying and implementing control measures to mitigate risk

recognising defective equipment and taking appropriate action

recognising hazards and risks when preparing to enter, entering and working in confined spaces

reading and interpreting regulations, codes of practice, permit requirements, instructions and procedures for entry into a confined space on a vessel

selecting, inspecting and using safety and emergency equipment according to operating instructions

taking appropriate action during an emergency

taking actions promptly to identify, report, and/or rectify hazards and emergency situations when working in a confined space

using atmospheric detection equipment and interpreting the readings

using basic verbal and/or defined communication skills and signals when entering and working in confined spaces

working safely and collaboratively with others when entering and working in a confined space.

Evidence of Knowledge

Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the elements and performance criteria and include knowledge of:

atmospheric testing and monitoring equipment and techniques

communications systems:

air horns

alarm/indicator panels


lifeline/signalling line

two way radios

communication techniques used when entering and working in confined spaces on a vessel

criteria that defines a confined space

emergency entry and exit procedures

inherent and work related hazards associated with confined spaces

procedures and permit requirements for confined space entry

relevant legislative and/or regulatory framework that impacts on confined space entry

role of standby person/s

safe operational procedures for the use of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

ventilation of confined spaces

work health and safety (WHS)/occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements and work practices.

Assessment Conditions

Assessors must satisfy National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (NVR)/Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) assessor requirements.

Assessment must occur in workplace operational situations where it is appropriate to do so; where this is not appropriate, assessment must occur in simulated workplace operational situations that reflect workplace conditions.

Assessment processes and techniques must be appropriate to the language, literacy and numeracy requirements of the work being performed and the needs of the candidate.

Resources for assessment must include access to:

tools, equipment, machinery, materials and personal protective equipment currently used in industry

applicable documentation such as legislation, regulations, codes of practice, workplace procedures and operational manuals

range of relevant exercises, case studies and/or simulations.

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential to performance.

Foundation skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.

Range Statement

Specifies different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included.

Range is restricted to essential operating conditions and any other variables essential to the work environment.

Characteristics of a confined space must include:

those described in the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulation and/or Australian Standard (AS/NZS) 2865 Safe working in a confined space

Confined spaces include one or more of the following:

ballast tanks

battery lockers


cargo tanks/holds

chain lockers


compressor rooms

double bottoms

duct keels

engine components

fuel tanks


inert gas scrubber plants

pump rooms

sewage tanks

storage areas for fixed fire extinguishing media

trunking and pressure vessels

void spaces

Regulations, standards and codes of practice must include:

Code of Safe Working Practice for Australian Seafarers - Section 10 Entering and working in enclosed or confined spaces

International Safety Management (ISM) Code

Navigation Act 2012

Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulations 2003

Regulations, codes of practice and standards include one or more of the following:

AS/NZS 2865 Safe working in a confined space

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution A 1050 (27) Revised Recommendations for Entering Enclosed Spaces Aboard Ships

International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code

International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)

Liquefied Gas Handling Principles on Ships and in Terminals (SIGTTO)

shipboard confined /enclosed space entry procedures

Vessels include:

any Australian or international commercial vessel or unit

Hazards include one or more of the following:

cold pipes and valves (refrigeration and liquefied gases etc.)

dangerous goods in packaged form

electricity and wiring systems

flammable or explosive atmospheres

free flowing solids


hot pipes (steam, fuel oil, lubricating oils etc.)

manual handling

moving equipment


oxygen deficiency or enrichment

physical obstructions such as transverse frames and floors

poor visibility

products or processes in adjacent spaces

restricted access

rising liquids

slippery or uneven surfaces

temperature extremes

toxic liquids, solids, gases, vapours and dusts


Risks include one or more of the following:





fire or explosion

Risk control measures include one or more of the following:

atmospheric testing








tag out


Authorised personnel include one or more of the following:


Delegated Safety Officer

Chief Mate

Chief Engineer

1st Engineer

Permit requirements include one or more of the following:

atmospheric testing results

cold work permit


competent person who has control of the space and the authorising officer’s signature

date and period of validity

hazards that are likely to be present

height permit

hot work permit

isolation checklist

locations of the space

need for respiratory protection

personal protection clothing required

personal protective equipment required

person/s entering

rescue arrangements and emergency equipment

risk control measures

standby person/s

Ready for entry include one or more of the following:

communications understood and tested

control measures confirmed and implemented

development of an appropriate plan to complete works in the space

emergency plan confirmed as appropriate or modified and equipment in position at the ready

method of safe entry and exit in place

permit/s signed by the Responsible Officer and posted

safe atmosphere confirmed (or relevant measures in place to ensure safe entry into an unsafe atmosphere)

space is secured

standby person/s identified and in position

Personal protective clothing and equipment include one or more of the following :

atmospheric monitoring equipment

chemically resistant splash suits



harness and restraint equipment


respiratory protection (self rescue devices and self contained breathing apparatus [SCBA])

safety boots

safety glasses or goggles

Entry equipment include one or more of the following:

anchor straps and/or anchor points

atmospheric testing and monitoring equipment

confined space harnesses

fall arrest systems equipment

intrinsically safe torches/lifting

lifeline/signalling line

lockout kit

retractable lanyard/s

rope kit/winching




ventilation fan and ducting

Precautions during entry include one or more of the following:

atmosphere must be tested prior to entry, before re-entry and at frequent intervals

atmospheric monitoring must occur during occupancy

if conducting prolonged work activities or in extreme temperatures, regular breaks should be taken

if entry to unknown or unsafe atmospheres cannot be avoided the use of suitable breathing apparatus e.g. airline or self-contained should be employed

occupants must be provided with calibrated and tested multi-gas detectors

standby person must maintain communications with occupants and relevant personnel

ventilation must continue while the space is occupied

Role and responsibilities of standby person/s include:

as defined in Regulation 4.18 Part 4 of the Occupational Health & Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulation

Emergency rescue equipment includes one or more of the following:

atmospheric monitoring equipment

emergency escape breathing devices

first aid kit




oxygen resuscitation kit

rescue ropes

rope recovery kit





Not applicable.

Competency Field

F - Operational Quality and Safety