Although the compliance deadline for OSHA’s confined spaces in construction rule has been pushed back a second time – to January 8, 2016 – the new year and the new requirements will be upon us in no time.
The standard gives construction workers protections similar to those in other industries, but has a some differences tailored to the industry, such as requiring multiple employers to share vital safety information and mandating the continuous monitoring of certain hazards – a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created.
Why the changes?
“Work in confined spaces is dangerous,” notes Pete Stafford, Executive Director of the Center for Construction Safety and Research (CPWR). “Workers can all too easily be sickened by toxic fumes, scorched by flammable vapors set alight by a stray spark, or simply overcome by a lack of oxygen.”
Construction contractors can consult OSHA’s helpful compliance guide: Protecting Construction Workers in Confined Spaces.
The CPWR also has offerings to help you address confined space hazards with your team. Visit their electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH) for "No Escape," a gripping video on confined space hazards.
You can also download a copy of their confined spaces toolbox talk. And after giving that talk, the CPWR recommends that you provide everyone with a copy of their Confined Space Hazard Alert, which can be accessed online or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org to request copies of the pocket-sized brochures.