OSHA Postpones Full Enforcement of Confined Spaces in Construction Standard

Published July 15, 2015

A new 60-day temporary enforcement policy postpones full enforcement of OSHA’s new Confined Spaces in Construction standard to Oct. 2, 2015. The standard becomes effective on Aug. 3, but the agency will not issue citations to employers who make “good faith efforts” to comply with the new standard during the temporary enforcement period. According to an agency press release, indicators of good faith efforts include scheduling training for employees as required by the new standard; ordering the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard; and taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards. During the 60-day period, employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of OSHA’s new standard or the previous one.

The rule, which was issued in May, 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 OSHA, the rule requires employers in construction to share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards.

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.