Last June, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided initial details and a timeline for its agenda of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction industry rules (see ConstructionPro Week - June 27, 2014). Part of this agenda included confined spaces. As reported by Craig Martin at the Construction Contract Advisor blog this week, the final rule, issued May 4, 2015, includes crawl spaces, manholes, tanks and sewers and will take affect August 3, 2015.
Martin’s article introduces some of the details and administrative requirements contractors should be prepared for, such as air testing, hazards monitoring and sharing of information with subcontractors. Contractors and subcontractors alike will need to become familiar with the new rules and be prepared to implement new workplace procedures.
ConstructionPro Week took a brief look at the 162-page Confined Spaces in Construction document (29 CFR Part 1926 – Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 85 / Monday, May 4, 2015) to get a glimpse of what’s included. In addition to the rules themselves, the impetus for the new rules is a lack of any construction industry-specific rules currently in place, as well as analyses and studies of the hazards in the construction industry. The report detailed 31 deaths, based on a study from 1992-2000, that would have been prevented had the new regulations been in effect, and generally expect, going forward, to prevent 5.2 deaths per year, avoid 780 injuries and savef $100 million per year. The "Net Benefits" analysis provided in the report is a savings of $1.55 for every dollar of compliance cost.
ConstructionPro Week will provide further coverage of these rules in the coming months. Meanwhile, please visit the Confined Spaces website for further details, documents and compliance assistance materials.