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Confined space

The reality of Bazalgette’s Victorian Sewers – Confined Space Work

Ever thought that Confined Space work was cool?

Well you were correct, of course it is. Confined Space work involves a wide range of situations; from searching for tunnels in prisons to cleaning the tanks of ferries; from the egg shaped, brick Victorian sewers to modern Super Sewers.

It involves 3-5 people on a single job: someone at the top of the drain, tank, or hole; at least one person down in the space and a third rescue person, as a backup for the person at the top. The jobs are often more complex and require more people in the spaces.

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Sometimes the sewers don’t run smooth and some of Bazalgette’s sewer’s have had to be repaired with much less aesthetically pleasing pipework. We’ve been down surveying the one’s which has required this.

trunk sewerTideway









The Victorian structure will not have to take the full weight of London for much longer. The Tideway Super Sewer system will soon be in place and will take the load off the brick sewers.

Expertise is very important in managing confined space risks

Expertise plays a very important role in a confined space

Aside being completely or partially enclosed, a confined space poses a lot of risks to people. It is believed that about 60% of confined space fatalities have been among the would-be rescue team.  The dangers or hazards that abound within a confined space are a lot more than normal workspaces.

Daniel Okrent opined that: “Right, but there’s expertise and then there’s inside information. And I think we have to make the distinction.” The Oxford dictionary defines expertise as: “an expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.” If you are regarded as an expert in a given field, it becomes apparent that you have a higher degree of knowledge or authority in the given subject matter.

In the field of confined space, the role of an expert is very crucial in ensuring the safety of workers. The experts know the confined space regulations, the risks involved, the appropriate equipment and the ability to make a quick and well-informed decision.


Expertise plays a very important role in a confined space


It is with regards to the abovementioned and the importance of expertise, that a well-trained confined space top-man, from the Hydro Cleansing team was able to upgrade a 2 man confined space team to an additional 3 man rescue team.

The task ahead was one that required a great degree of careful planning and expertise, where every little detail was important. To get into as much detail as possible, there was a tunnel with a length of about 75 metres. One of the bigger challenges was an exposed 11, 000v power line. The other issue was an overflowing sewer that had led to an aggregation of waste. The confined space team were expected to clean the sewer overflow to enable the safe repair of the power lines.



Expertise plays a very important role in a confined space

The Hydro Cleansing top-man utilised his deep understanding of health and safety legislation, to make the important decisions that helped this job end in success. The top-man utilised his expertise to make the confined space refined or cleared for the repair of the power line.

For confined space experts, please contact our hotline 0800 740 8888

What is a Confined Space?

understanding the role of health and safety in a confined space environment

What is a Confined Space?

Defined by the HSE as:

“A place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby”

Hydro Cleansings specialist, experienced, certificated Confined Space teams are on hand to carry out full assessments and offer support when needed for Confined Space working call 0800 740 8888

Hydro Cleansing provide a safe hands from the risk associated when working in a Confined Space for example (but not limited to):

  • Asphyxiation
  • Fire and Explosion
  • Exposure to hazardous substances
  • Drowning

Hydro Cleansing will listen to your requirements and match one of our Confined Space team to the works to be undertaken, from 2 Man to larger team if required.

At all times Hydro Cleansing put Health and Safety and risks associated with Confined Space work at the forefront of ours and your needs prior to undertaking works.

To talk to one of Hydro Cleansings expert Confined Space Account Managers or outside of office hours  for a service that is truly 24/7, 365 days a year professional  service call 0800 740 8888 the number is the same whatever the time of day.

Health and safety is an important aspect of a confined space environment.