The temporary enforcement policy that had been in effect for OSHA's Confined Spaces in Construction standard will be extended until January 8, 2016 for residential construction employers.

The new deadline – announced Oct. 1 by OSHA director James Maddux – means that employers who are making good faith efforts to comply with the standard will not be issued citations. To meet that requirement, employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of the standard, found at 29 CFR 1926.1207, or the former training requirements spelled out in 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i).

The standard became effective Aug. 3, 2015, but was initially extended to Oct. 2, 2015 in response to industry requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary for compliance.

The rule provides construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers have, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. These 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.

OSHA estimates the confined spaces rule could protect nearly 800 construction workers a year from serious injuries and reduce life-threatening hazards.