Nashville, TN (May 18, 2015) - You probably know that, for some time, OSHA has been talking about a standard for Construction confined spaces. Guess what. It’s here, and it takes effect August 3, 2015.
One question you might ask is, who is affected by these new requirements? OSHA’s answer is, “All construction employers whose workers may be exposed to confined space hazards.”
Many of you may already be familiar with the General Industry standard for Permit-Required Confined Spaces. If you are, that’s great, but you need to know that the new Construction standards will differ from the General Industry in five key areas. Those differences are:
More detailed provisions requiring coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite.
Requiring a competent person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards. For example, when workers are performing work in a storm sewer, a storm upstream from the workers could cause flash flooding. An electronic sensor or observer posted upstream from the work site could alert workers in the space at the first sign of the hazard, giving the workers time to evacuate the space safely.
Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions list on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.
This means that if you have employees who will enter a Permit-Required Confined Space you will need to have a written Permit-Required Confined Space program AND you will need to complete a written permit before they can enter the space. There are also requirements for rescue services and training. You get the idea – this is a big deal.
Even if your employees will not enter into the permit space, you are still responsible for making sure your employees do not enter into the space. Under the new regulations, controlling contractors will be the primary contact for information about permit spaces at a work-site.
For more information, please visit OSHA’s website on the new regulations at https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/index.html The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services is an OSHA Training Institute Education Center and we offer classes on Construction standards.
UT CIS currently offers a variety of confined space assistance services, including site specific consultation and training programs ranging from basic awareness to NFPA Level 2 Confined Space Rescue. New programs for Construction-Specific Confined Space and Confined Space Competent Person are already under development, and will be offered soon with both Open Enrollment and/or Site Delivered Options.
Written by: Bryan Lane, OSHA Coordinator, UT Center for Industrial Services
For more information, Contact your local Solutions Consultant