Confined Space Inspections Using Drones

A drone flying in a sewer

Drones are revolutionising the way we do things. From deliveries to inspections and mapping, drones are doing it all. One such use is conducting confined space inspections. The technology allows for a safer, faster and more cost-effective inspection of confined spaces. They’re also less intrusive than traditional methods like man-entry or walk-through. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of drone inspections over traditional methods and professional operators who can help with your inspection needs.

What is a confined space? Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

A confined space HSE is a health and safety procedure designed to protect people who work in or around confined spaces, such as manholes, tanks, silos, sewers, and underground vaults. These procedures are usually implemented by employers and involve assessing the risks associated with entering and working in a confined space, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), training employees on how to safely enter and exit a confined space, monitoring air quality in the space, and establishing emergency response plans. It is important for employers to ensure that all of these procedures are strictly followed to ensure the safety of their employees.

Traditional Confined Space Inspection Challenges

Traditional confined space inspection methods require more time and human entry procedures with specialised skills. The use of drones can eliminate the need for access equipment, protective clothing, and breathing apparatus on-site and reduce the life-cycle cost of maintaining the equipment. In confined spaces and hazardous environments, drones provide an industry-leading advantage over other traditional methods, saving time and money. The long-term benefits of drones for confined space inspections include a remote visual inspection providing a permanent digital record, and improved efficiency in identifying defects and corrosion

How Drones Make Confined Space Inspections Safer

Using drones for a confined space inspection without the need for human intervention of culverts, sewers, ducts, silos, boilers and storage tanks etc, where there may be hazardous gases, can be realised quickly.

In addition, drones are equipped with LED lighting, high-definition cameras and collision-tolerant carbon fibre cages. These features make it possible to capture clear and vivid data on assets that would have been difficult or impossible with traditional methods.

The use of drones for inspections has made it simpler and safer compared to previous accessibility processes and procedures.

A drone flying into a drop shaft to conduct a confined space inspection

Reduced Cost of Inspections

Using faster and safer methods for inspections can help reduce costs, by minimising downtime of assets and remove the unnecessary requirement for costly specialised inspection personnel and emergency stand-by teams. The lead time from identifying the inspection requirement to deploying the drone team is significantly reduced against the Health and Safety procedures for human intervention.

A drone confined space inspection will generally comprise either a one or two-man team, depending on the complexity of the asset that requires inspection. This is a significant reduction in personnel providing cost-efficiencies of the inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What technology is necessary for conducting a successful drone-based confined space inspection?

Conducting a successful drone-based confined space inspection requires the right technology. Using a drone that has been manufactured to operate in airspace with modifications is not the best solution.

The Elios 2 drone is the perfect collision-tolerant drone for this type of inspection due to its 4K camera, thermal imaging camera, 10K lumens integrated lighting system and carbon fibre cage to protect the drone and more importantly to protect the asset. This particular drone has also proven to effectively reduce inspection time costs while providing a permanent digital record.

How does the transmission signal propagate in a sewer?

The signal is transmitted by using a twenty-metre range extender attached to the remote control. The range extender is lowered down the drop shaft and the omnidirectional antenna propagates the signal along the asset.


While the use of drones for confined space inspections is still in its early stages, the benefits it promises are immense. The drone’s ability to access confined spaces and hazardous areas acquiring data without the need for rope access, scaffolding, or specially trained personnel while realising increased safety metrics and cost efficiencies are second to none. However, we must stress the importance of ensuring that only qualified professionals conduct such inspections. If you’d like to learn more about confined space inspections and how Paragon Drones can assist with your inspection requirements, get in touch with us here.

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