On May 4, OSHA issued its final ruling on confined spaces in construction, adding a dedicated Confined Spaces Standard (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) for the construction industry. Similar to the general industry confined standard, the construction standard acknowledges multi-employer worksites and requires the controlling contractor be the primary point of contact for confined space work. The controlling contractor is responsible for the confined spaces permit, gathering required information from host and entry employers, and ensuring that all employers not involved in confined space activity do not create additional hazards. The standard also requires continuous atmospheric and engulfment hazard monitoring, and allows a confined space permit to be suspended in the event of evacuation rather than canceled and replaced.
Employers are still responsible for ensuring only authorized employees enter the permit space and must take steps to prevent unauthorized employees from entering. Training must be provided by the employer to any affected employee, ensuring employees understand possible hazards in the permit space, methods to control those hazards, and the dangers of non-authorized employees attempting entry rescues. The standard also sets exceptions to construction work covered by the excavations, underground construction and diving subparts.
The new construction standard for confined spaces goes into effect August 3, 2015, with OSHA announcing a delayed enforcement period of 60 days, postponing full enforcement to October 2, 2015. Companies will not receive citations from August 3 to October 2 that make good-faith efforts to comply with the new standard, or are already in compliance with the previous standard.
Our first Construction Confined Space course has been scheduled for September, contact us to find out if OSHA requires this training for you or your employees.