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OSHA Issues Temporary Enforcement Policy for Confined Spaces in Construction

7/24/2015
On July 9, 2015, the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard which becomes effective August 3, 2015. OSHA previously issued the Confined Spaces in Construction final rule on May 4, 2015, which provides construction workers with protections similar to those for manufacturing and general industry workers. These include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share safety information and to continuously monitor hazards. However, OSHA is postponing full enforcement of the new standard until October 2, 2015. This was done in response to requests for additional time to train employees and to provide time for businesses to acquire necessary equipment to comply with the new standard.

During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make “good faith” efforts to comply with the new standard. According to OSHA, factors that indicate good faith compliance are: 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. Regardless, employers must be in compliance with the training requirements of either the new or previous standards. Employers who do not train their employees consistent with either standard will be subject to citations.