Confined Spaces in Construction Guide Helps Small Businesses Comply with New OSHA Standard

Published October 7, 2015

A new OSHA publication intended to help construction employers and small businesses comply with the agency’s new Confined Spaces in Construction standard describes common compliance issues in plain English and provides details about relevant provisions of the standard. The Protecting Construction Workers in Confined Spaces: Small Entity Compliance Guide addresses topics such as identifying permit spaces; reclassifying a permit space as a non-permit space; entrants, attendants, and entry supervisors; worker training; and rescue and emergency services. Examples of a permit-required confined space program and an entry permit are also included. The guide is available as a PDF on OSHA’s website.

OSHA’s new Confined Spaces in Construction standard was issued in May, and provides construction workers with protections similar to those provided to workers in manufacturing and general industry, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. According to the agency, the rule requires employers in construction to share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards. The rule went into effect on Aug. 3, 2015, but OSHA postponed full enforcement to Oct. 2. During the 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA did not issue citations to employers who made “good faith efforts” to comply with the new standard.

OSHA estimates that the new rule will protect nearly 800 construction workers per year from serious injuries. For more information, visit OSHA's Confined Spaces Web page, which includes links to the standard, FAQs, and fact sheets.

To read more about confined spaces, see the feature article on NFPA’s new guide for safe confined space entry and work, “Above and Beyond the Minimums,” in this month’s issue of The Synergist.