Read What Reviewers Have Said...

Robert Moats, CIH, CSP, Fremont, CA (

If you are a safety and health professional, this book should be part of your library and toolkit. This is an original work, and not just a re-statement of the OSHA regulations with a fancy title and cover, as are so many EHS books. I found the book a most useful tool on how to approach an overall health and safety program, with entry into confined spaces being only a subset of that program. Readers will find the techniques, recommendations, materials, and the way of thinking equally valuable for situations outside of confined spaces, as inside such work places. Readers will find the approach of the author is one of a colleague sharing information ("This is the way I approached this problem, and here is what I found out."), rather than a typical listing of possible solutions culled from other sources. Chapter 8 is particularly valuable, in that Mr. McManus takes you through his original approach to hazard assessment, and, although applicable to just about any situation faced by the EHS professional, is an excellent and comprehensive way to logically tackle the high hazard challenges of confined space entry. Chapter 5 on aspects of using a 'boundary surface' as an approach to dealing with atmospheric hazards in confined spaces is a good example of how Mr. McManus has broken out of the traditional and typical way of thinking about this topic; this is one example of real advantage of this book, in that he presents a different and fresh way to approach many aspects of safety and health challenges. There are also numerous anecdotes presented that I have used in my training in confined space entry work (e.g., the dead rodent in the vault that was suspected of causing an oxygen deficiency down to 5% O2). After having used this book for some time, I find that I reach for this book first on just about any subject, as I usually find something about everything there.


Geoff Clark, M.Sc., CIH, ROH, Vancouver, B.C. (

Confined spaces represent an often-unrecognized source of potentially serious injuries in workplaces throughout the world. The mere fact that a work area is restricted in some fashion (difficult entry, small volume or filled with obstacles) can turn a more commonplace event, such as a slip, trip or fall, into a serious injury or fatality. In a confined space, even the atmosphere can be deadly to workers. Although many countries have recently developed or updated health and safety regulations and the general recognition of the hazards of these spaces has improved, over the years, very few good references have been published on the subject. "Safety and Health in Confined Spaces" is one of these. Mr. McManus has obviously put a tremendous amount of time and effort into a book which, although targeted more towards professional Industrial Hygienists than laypersons, still provides a valuable reference to anyone managing or developing confined space programs. The first few chapters of the book describe some of the typical (as well as atypical) hazards that workers might encounter in confined spaces, including toxic, flammable and explosive atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment and confined energy (i.e.: mechanical and electrical systems and radiation). Later topics include the use of atmospheric testing devices, personal protective equipment, ventilation requirements and emergency rescue. The addition of good photographs of testing and communications equipment, as well as lockout devices and ventilation fans, is a plus. Both Mr. McManus and myself agree that there is a need for more professional practice in this aspect of our industry. In recognition of this fact, an entire Appendix of this book has been devoted to a discussion of "Qualified Persons" individuals with the appropriate qualifications and training specific to the recognition of hazards in confined spaces. To address this issue, Mr. McManus has provided a great deal of information on hazard management in confined spaces, including examples of hazard assessments and a model confined space program. What I have found particularly useful is that much of this information has been included in individual Appendices, for easier reference (one of these, "Appendix A: Standards, Guidelines and Regulations" even discusses the development of standards and guidelines in a number of countries, including Canada). As an Industrial Hygienist who has routinely been involved in the preparation of hazard assessments and the development of procedures for work in confined spaces, I have found the book to be extremely valuable reference and recommend it to all Industrial Hygiene and Safety professionals.


John Rekus, CIH, CSP, PE, Riderwood, MD (bestselling author of Complete Confined Spaces Handbook)

This book is an essential resource for anyone who wants to understand the highly technical and academic foundations of confined space issues.


Jim Unmack, PE, CIH, CSP, San Pedro, CA

...McManus makes a great effort to broaden the definition of a confined space and provide the reader with the tools to evaluate work environments and make appropriate decisions . . . Ample references are provided to allow the reader to research various ventilation and air flow models . . . McManus' background in training shows in the detail and range of training approaches . . . provides readers at all levels of preparation with the tools to produce effective and efficient training programs . . . the ideal reference for any professional with the responsibility for the health and safety of workers who enter confined spaces.


Peter Silverberg, PE, New York, N.Y. (Chemical Engineering)

Confined spaces can be extremely dangerous. Two experiences from my first job as a chemical engineer made me conscious of the risks. In one accident, I was in a one-door, windowless lab when a broken cylinder filled the bay outside with a plume of hydrogen fluoride. Luckily, I escaped through the cloud with only minor damage to my eyes. In another accident, a colleague of mine, also an engineer, was killed by asphyxiation while working in the back of a truck containing a dewar of evaporating nitrogen.

Behind these regrettable accidents was ignorance of rudiments of safety. According to this book's author, workers die every year from accidents in confined spaces. Many of these accidents occur in a non-production mode, during maintenance, testing or other activities that create a toxic and asphyxiating atmosphere, explosion fire, lockout-tagout (safety language for electrocution) product engulfment, or welding and cutting hazards.

In this lengthy handbook, McManus delves deep into confined spaces. The text is divided into three main sections: Chapters 1-6 provide the statistical, technical legal background associated with the problems of confined spaces. Chapters 7-15 outline hazard evaluation programs for safety professionals, and Appendixes A-J provide specific details for the practitioner.

Summarized by titles, first six chapters cover: 1) Atmospheric Hazards and Fatal Accidents, 2) Nonatmospheric Hazards and Fatal Accidents, 3) Toxic and Asphyxiating Hazards, 4) Ignitable and Explosive Atmospheric Hazards, 5) Atmospheric Confinement: The Role of Boundary Surfaces, and 6) Nonatmospheric Hazardous Conditions: The Role of Confined Energy.

The next nine chapters address the skills and knowledge required to determine how to evaluate hazards in confined spaces before they become accidents. The chapter headings indicate how comprehensive this book is: 7)Hazard Management, 8) Preentry Planning, Hazard Assessment, and Hazard Management, 9) Logistical Considerations for Work Involving Confined Spaces, 10) Instrumentation and Testing, 11) Ventilation, 12) Respiratory and Other Personal Protective Equipment, 13) Training, 14) Medical Aspects, 15) Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Most interesting are the book's appendices. Pictures of specialized equipment and comprehensive checklists make the program concrete. If I were to run a training course, I would be tempted to assign these chapters first, because the details enliven the chapter text. Topics include: A) Standards, Guidelines and Regulations, B) The Qualified person, C) Standards for Oxygen Deficiency and Enrichment, D) Ignitibility Limits, E) Model Confined Space Program, F) Guided Questions for Identifying and Assessing Hazardous Conditions in Confined Spaces, G) Deactivation and De-energization, Isolation and Lockout, H) Hazard Reduction, I) Standards, Guidelines, and Legislation Affecting Ventilation, J) Portable Ventilation Systems. And, to make it complete, the book has a thorough 22-page index.

Although this handbook is hard to read in a linear fashion, safety professionals should familiarize themselves with the text, and not wait for an emergency to find out what to do. This would defeat the book's main purpose, which is to prevent such mishaps.


Ev Carefoot, P.Eng., CIH, CRSP from Surrey, B.C. (

Required Reading and Reference, May 8, 2002

I could type a great deal about this book, but if you are reading this I can only say that this is required reading and a mandatory reference book for any safety professional or hygienist.

Great coverage on the subject!