New OSHA Regulation on Confined Spaces in Construction

Full enforcement is effective October 2, 2015 Employers are expected to make a “good faith effort” to train their employees

All American Environmental Services offers training to meet the new OSHA regulations

On May 4, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new regulation, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA – Confined Spaces in Construction, was published in the Federal Register. While many of the requirements are similar to the General Industry standard, 29 CFR 1910.146 – Permit Required Confined Spaces; this regulation adds some additional requirements for construction activities. If you are doing construction work, such as building a new structure or upgrading an old one, then you must follow the construction confined space rule.

Some new terms have been added to the regulation, such as “entry employer” to describe the employer who directs workers to enter a space, and “entry rescue”, to clarify the differences in the types of rescue that employers can use. Some of the new requirements are as follows:

  • There are detailed provisions requiring coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite
  • A competent person must evaluate the work site and identify any confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  • Continuous atmospheric monitoring is required whenever possible.
  • Continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards is required.
  • The new standard allows for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event that entry conditions change.

Additionally, OSHA has added provisions to the new rule that clarify existing requirements in the General Industry standard. These include:

  • Requiring that employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system prevent workers’ exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout/tagout.
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local emergency services for rescue arrange for responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time.
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.

29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA – Confined Spaces in Construction will be effective October 2, 2015. To schedule training on this new standard, contact All American Environmental Services, Inc. at 410-694-9471.

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