OSHA Issues Final Rule to Increase Protections for Construction Confined Space Workers
Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule, which goes into effect on August 3, 2015, to increase construction protections needed for those working in confined spaces, such as crawl spaces, manholes and tanks. As construction worksites are continually changing, the regulation includes requirements for continuous hazard monitoring, initial jobsite evaluations to be conducted by “competent persons” and coordination between employers and emergency services prior to workers entering confined spaces. OSHA also places a strong emphasis on employee training, such as lock-out, tag-out and blocking off access to struck-by hazards programs. These new measures are estimated to protect nearly 800 construction workers from serious injuries and life-threatening hazards, which can often been avoided if addressed properly prior to work being performed. Through OSHA’s final ruling, the construction industry’s confined space protections now better align with other industry standards already in practice. “With limited means of entry or exit, along with the physical and atmospheric hazards that exist, proper equipment, planning and training are vital to health and safety of confined space workers,” said Brent Ross, CSP, Sr. HSE Technical Manager. “We look forward to seeing OSHA’s new guidelines implemented to better safeguard against serious, and sometimes fatal, construction workplace injuries.” To learn more about this new regulation and to locate compliance assistance documents, visit OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction page.