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5 Things You Need to Know for Confined Space in Construction

Monday, September 14, 2015

OSHA has issued a new rule to improve safety for construction workers in confined spaces. The rule is similar to the existing general industry standard; however it has some differences tailored to the construction industry, including requirements for a ‘more coordinated’ approach between customers, contractors and subcontractors (at Multi-Employer work sites). Here are five ‘need-to-know’ changes in the newly issued rule for confined space in construction:

1. Requires the designated “competent person” for confined spaces to perform a jobsite evaluation on all sites that could have confined space hazards;

2. Imposes specific requirements for the exchange of information with affected workers (Communication between owners, general contractors, and subcontractors) before they enter into confined spaces;

3. Compels contractors to perform continuous air contaminant and dust monitoring in confined spaces (permit and non-permit);

4. Imposes a requirement that affected employers coordinate emergency response services before workers enter into confined spaces;

5. Changes the definition of “Isolation” to “Isolate or Isolation” and includes an employer’s use of physical barriers to prevent contact between workers and physical hazards inside confined spaces.

In addition to the above changes, OSHA has also added additional working spaces to be included in examples of confined spaces. Attics and crawl spaces of any building may now be considered confined spaces.

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