Fact Sheet Addresses Confined Spaces in Residential Construction

Published July 5, 2017

A new fact sheet (PDF) published by OSHA clarifies some provisions of the agency’s standard for confined spaces in construction and their application to residential construction work. The confined spaces in construction standard, which was developed after consultation with the National Association of Home Builders, applies to any space that is large enough for a worker to enter it, has limited or restricted means of entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous occupancy. According to OSHA, employers must ensure that a competent person identifies all confined spaces, including permit-required confined spaces, before starting work on a residential homebuilding project. While spaces in residential homes may be considered confined spaces or permit-required confined spaces during construction or remodeling, most of the requirements in OSHA’s standard only apply to permit-required confined spaces. The agency notes that common spaces such as attics, basements, and crawlspaces do not typically trigger these requirements.

The fact sheet also briefly describes the obligations of different types of employers, including host employers, who own or manage the property where construction is taking place; controlling contractors, who have overall responsibility for construction at the work site; and entry employers or subcontractors, or the employers who decide that an employee will enter a permit-required confined space.

An FAQ page for confined spaces in construction is also available on OSHA’s website.