More than 20 years after OSHA issued a standard to regulate confines spaces in general industry, the agency has issued a similar rule specific to the construction industry.
Under the Confined Spaces in Construction Standard, released May 1, employers must design a confine-space permit program that protects workers from both atmospheric and physical hazards at construction sites, and must continuously monitor those hazards.
The construction rule resembles the general industry rule, with a few exceptions. Requirements under the construction rule that differ from the general industry standard include:
- A competent person must conduct a jobsite evaluation.
- Air contaminant monitoring must be continuous.
- Emergency services planning must be done before workers enter a confined space.
The Confined Spaces in Construction Standard will apply in any confined space circumstance in which construction work including building or upgrading is being performed.
For other confined space scenarios, the general industry rule applies.
OSHA defines a confined space as one with limited means of entry or exit, is large enough for a worker to enter, and is not intended for continuous occupancy. Examples include sewers, pits and attics. A permit-required confined space contains hazards that could interfere with a worker’s ability to leave the space without assistance. Such hazards include engulfment, dangerous atmospheres or exposed wiring.
Rule was published in May 4 Federal Register and is scheduled to go into effect Aug. 3.
Download the rule at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-04/pdf/2015-08843.pdf