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TITLE: General Risk Assessment for Entry and Working in Service Ducts. Page: 1 of: 3



Current Controls

Action Required

Steam/hot water pipes

Contact with uninsulated hot pipework

All pipework insulated.

Annual inspection by Mechanical Section to ensure adequate standard of insulation and repairs carried out as necessary.  

Be aware of any damaged/uncovered sections of hot pipework/flanges etc.

Report any missing/damaged insulation to E&B Supervisor.

Personnel to wear suitable PPE if required.


Contact with 240v supply.

Bulkhead fittings damaged/missing.

Original VIR cabling is now well beyond its expected life span.

Earthing standards are suspect.

Conduit loose in places

Fuses withdrawn. Circuit isolated

Short Term: Install 110v TL system.

Long Term: Replace existing installation with approved system.

Re-fix loose conduit.



High working temperatures if working for prolonged periods or performing heavy manual work

Ventilate by opening manholes.

Restrict exposure/working time.

Monitor conditions to ensure that sufficient ventilation is provided which is appropriate to the type/duration of the work. Provide local cooling if required. Where possible, carry out work during annual steam shutdown period.

Low Working Height

Striking head on projections

Personnel to wear appropriate head protection e.g. bump caps.

Protect/highlight all sharp corners and projections.


Electric shock, trailing cables

Use battery powered tools. Only 110v equipment to be used when battery power is not suitable.

Trailing cables to be safely routed/protected to avoid trip hazards and damage to cables.

Monitor to ensure standards are maintained.

Slips, Trips, Falls and Obstructions

Falls into open manholes.

Falls off access ladders.

All open manholes protected with sufficient/adequate barriers.

Monitor to ensure standards are maintained.

Wear suitable foot wear at all times.

Slips/trips/obstructions within duct.

Secured ladders provided which project at least 1m above landing place.

Floor of duct kept clean of debris and other tripping hazards

Regular inspections to ensure ducts are clean and kept free of debris/tripping hazards etc.

Ensure that no horizontal crossings of cables/pipes/connections etc. are made across duct passageway, which could constitute either a tripping hazard or an obstruction.

Equipment Failure

Loss of lighting in duct.

All personnel to carry stand-by torches.

Check equipment prior to entry to make sure it’s working.


Exhaust fumes from parked vehicles or machinery/plant etc. working nearby drawn into space.

Vehicles driving into manholes

Surface surveillance to ensure that vehicles/plant/machinery do not park/operate too close to manhole opening.

Erect sufficient barriers/warning signs not to drive/park too close to manhole opening.  Vacate duct immediately should any unusual smell be detected and report to E&B Supervisor.

Monitor to ensure suitable standards are maintained.

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