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OSHA Delays Full Enforcement of Confined Spaces Rule for Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) yesterday announced it will allow a 60-day grace period before fully enforcing its new comprehensive standard on confined spaces in construction (29 CFR Part 1926).

The rule goes into effect Aug. 3. Full enforcement will begin Oct. 2, 2015, in response to requests from employers for additional time to train workers and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard.

During the temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make good-faith efforts to comply with the new standard. However, employers who fail to train their employees in compliance with either current or new confined spaces rules will be cited, the agency said.

Factors that indicate employers in construction are making good-faith efforts to comply include:

  • scheduling training for employees
  • ordering equipment necessary to comply with the new standard
  • educating employees about confined space hazards

OSHA issued the Confined Spaces in Construction final rule on May 4, 2015. The final rule is similar to standards for general industry and manufacturing, but also takes into account construction-specific hazards. Requirements include steps to ensure multiple employers share vital safety  information with workers and continuous monitoring of hazards – a safety option made possible by advances in technology that have occurred since confined spaces rules were originally adopted.