On May 4, 2015, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issued a new ruling on the construction industry
relating to confined spaces. This ruling specified that all employers are required to continuously monitor hazards and share safety information. This mirrors rules currently in place for manufacturing and general industry workers.
Most companies will need to train all employees on the new standard, as well as purchase any necessary testing equipment not already owned. To leave time for this, OSHA granted companies a 60-day grace period. Full enforcement is slated to go into effect October 2, 2015.
Over the rest of the month, OSHA will not issue any citations to employers taking steps to fully act in accordance with the new standards. According to OSHA, these employers must be “scheduling training for employees as required by the new
standard; ordering the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard; and taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards.” Failing to do any of the above will result in a citation.
It is important to train your employees on the new rules and make sure all vendors and subcontractors do the same. For more information on the ruling, please visit www.OSHA.gov.