On May 1, OSHA issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces. The rule will provide construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers have had for more than two decades, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. These differences include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards – a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created.
Manholes, crawl spaces, tanks and other confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy and also are difficult to exit in an emergency. People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions and asphyxiation.
In the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often necessary. OSHA’s new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. OSHA predicts that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year.
For compliance assistance material and additional information, visit OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction web page.