NR33 – Health and Safety in Confined Spaces

The development of the Regulatory Standard on Health and Safety in Confined Spaces began in February 2002 with the creation of a Technical Group (GT). This group included representatives from the Secretariat of Labor Inspection (SIT), Fundacentro, the Military Fire Department of DF, and INMETRO, tasked with drafting a basic text.

Other standards, such as NR-10, NR-18, NR-29, NR-30, and NR-31, addressed confined spaces in specific sectors, but many economic sectors with confined spaces were not covered. The GT used two recent Brazilian technical standards (NBR 14787 and NBR 14606) and some international standards as references.

After eight meetings in 2002, the GT presented a draft regulation for confined spaces to the Department of Health and Safety at Work (DSST) of the SIT. This draft was put out for public consultation. Of the 190 suggestions received, 105 were for additions, 46 for exclusions, and 39 were comments or questions.

The final text, titled “NR-33 Health and Safety in Confined Spaces,” was approved at the 47th Ordinary Meeting of the Permanent Tripartite Commission (CTPP) on September 14, 2006, in Brasília, with one change: “engineering measures” was replaced with “technical prevention measures” at the workers’ request. The standard was published by MTE Ordinance No. 202 on December 22, 2006.

Characterized as a Special Standard by SIT Ordinance No. 787 on November 28, 2018, NR-33 underwent two revisions. The first, during the 68th CTPP meeting on March 13-14, 2012, altered the training frequency and hours for entry supervisors, attendant, and authorized workers. The 2019 revision, discussed during the 97th CTPP meeting on June 4-5, 2019, aimed to harmonize NR-33 with NR-01, particularly regarding training for confined space work.

NR-33 establishes preventive measures, administrative and personal measures, training, and emergency procedures for confined spaces. It was the first standard to include an assessment of psychosocial risk factors.

Key advancements over international standards include not classifying confined spaces and requiring entry permit for any confined space work.

NR-33 Health and Safety in Confined Spaces
(SEPRT Ordinance No. 1690, of June 15, 2022)

Annex II – Entry Permit
(SEPRT Ordinance No. 1690, of June 15, 2022)

Annex III – Training: Course Load, Periodicity, and Program Content
(SEPRT Ordinance No. 1690, of June 15, 2022)


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