Five Keys to Construction Confined Space Safety

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The Construction Confined Space rule becomes effective next week, August 3rd to be precise. Are you ready? If not, don’t worry about that, scroll to the bottom because I’ve got you covered.

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There are 5 key points that separate the Construction Confined Space standard from the General Industry standard you’ve been following for years, hopefully.

1. The rule specifies detailed requirements for coordination and communication between multiple employers at the worksite. OSHA realized that construction sites truly are different than general industry sites. They are often a tangled web that can only be sorted by closely reading the contract and specifications.

For the purposes of the new OSHA regulation, the employer categories are host employer, controlling contractor, and entry employer. The controlling contractor can be considered the middle man, the entity responsible for both gathering info and sharing info with the other parties.

I’m sure this information sharing occurred at some sites prior to this regulation, and I am happy to see it standardized!

2. A Competent Person is required to evaluate confined spaces. Each employer with employees entering a permit space to perform evaluation or work must designate a Competent Person.

3. Continuous atmospheric monitoring is required whenever possible. In short, you must continuously monitor the confined space unless you can prove the technology does not exist yet to do so.

4. Engulfment hazards must be continuously monitored. This is the part of the standard that will have the single greatest impact on contractors. Especially those contractors conducting wastewater and water treatment work. You simply can NOT isolate all hazards in most of those settings. To comply with this part of the standard will require some thinking caps…the enforcement is going to be interesting!

5. You can suspend a permit instead of canceling it. This is a practical approach to the permitting system, which was often construed as confusing and extra work. I applaud OSHA overall for coming up with a practical standard, that is exactly what the industry needed.

For downloadable templates and training that you can customize to your company’s needs, visit www.conconspace.com 

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