OSHA Publishes Final Rule on Confined Spaces in Construction

Published May 1, 2015
Updated May 6, 2015

OSHA’s Final Rule on Confined Spaces in Construction was published May 4 in the Federal Register, closing the book on a rulemaking process that began more than a decade ago.

The rule, which becomes effective Aug. 3, 2015, will provide construction workers with protections similar to those provided to workers in manufacturing and general industry, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. The rule requires employers in construction to share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards, according to an OSHA press release.

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, May 1, Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu said that the rule mandates that a “competent person” must conduct the initial investigation of the job site, which is not required in the rule for general industry. In addition, employers on construction sites will be required to deploy emergency services before workers enter a confined space.

“This rule will save lives of construction workers,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “Unlike most general industry worksites, construction sites are continually evolving, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses. This rule emphasizes training, continuous worksite evaluation and communication requirements to further protect workers’ safety and health."

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.​​​