Thursday, May 7, 2015

Confined Space Entry Regulation for Construction Industry FAQs

On May 4, 2015, OSHA issued a new standard for construction work in confined spaces, which will be effective starting August 3, 2015. Confined spaces can present physical and atmospheric hazards that can be avoided if they are recognized and addressed prior to entering these spaces to perform work. The new standard, Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926 will help prevent construction workers from being hurt or killed by eliminating and isolating hazards in confined spaces at construction sites similar to the way workers in other industries are already protected. The questions and answers below are provided to assist employers in protecting their workers while working in and around confined spaces in construction.

What is a confined space? 

A confined space has;
  • Limited means of entry and/or exit,
  • Is large enough for a worker to enter it, and
  • Is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy.
Examples include sewers, pits, crawl spaces, attics, boilers, and many more.

What is a permit required confined space (permit space)?

A permit space is a confined space that may have a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazard, or other serious hazard, such as exposed wiring, that can interfere with a worker’s ability to leave the space without assistance

Can anyone work in a permit space?

Only workers who have been assigned and trained to work in a permit space may do so. Additionally, before workers can enter a permit space, the employer has to write a permit that specifies what safety measures must to be taken and who is allowed to go in.

How do I know whether to follow the general industry or construction confined space rule?

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.