The “Skinny”

In May of this year, OSHA announced a new rule that will significantly enhance confined space compliance requirements for the construction industry.
Why? According to OSHA: “Manholes, crawl spaces, tanks and other confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy.  They are also difficult to exit in an emergency. People in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions and asphyxiation. Last year, two workers were asphyxiated while repairing leaks in a manhole, the second when he went down to save the first – which is not uncommon in cases of asphyxiation in confined spaces.  This new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces.  In fact, we estimate that it will prevent 780 serous injuries every year.” Learn more about the new confined space requirements below.

In This Issue

OSHA Issues New Rule for Confined Space Compliance in Construction For questions, contact me at (512) 923-0374

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The “Details”

The New Rule Will Provide Construction Workers With Protections Similar To What Manufacturing & General Industry Workers Have Had for Over 20 Years, But There Are Several Key Differences The New Rule Goes Into Effect 8/3/2015

While the new rule has requirements similar to the long existing general industry standard for Confined Spaces, there are some key differences that construction companies must now manage, including:

  • The new rule specifies 3 different types of employers: Host Employer, Controlling Contractor, and Entry Employer.  Each employer type has different responsibilities when managing confined space entries.
  • A requirement for a “competent person” to oversee confined space entries.
  • Employers must continually monitor air quality, unless they can demonstrate that periodic monitoring will suffice, or that monitoring equipment is not available.
  • Employers must provide an “early warning system” to alert workers in a confined space to potential hazards, such as a situation where workers are in a drainage pipe, which may suddenly become flooded with water.
  • Enhanced training is now required, and must be delivered using the workers native language.
  • Employers must ensure that their “rescue provider” make the employer aware when the rescuer will no longer be available.  This will be difficult to manage and may force construction companies to develop their own internal rescue teams.

It’s clear that these new confined space requirements are extensive and will put a significant new burden on construction company employers.  We highly recommend companies begin learning more about these changes, and implementing them as soon as possible since the August deadline is already fast approaching.  You can learn more details below…

Where Can You Learn More About This Issue?
The news release can be found here: news release

The new rule can be found here: the final rule

Learn more about confined spaces here: confined spaces Details regarding the new rule can be found here: Confined Spaces in Construction

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Or learn more about how to manage these risks here: