OSHA’s New Confined Space Regulations (Part 3 of 3)
Part 1 of this three-part series on Confined Spaces in Construction identified the existing confined space standard in Construction (29 CFR 1926.21(b) and the newly adopted Final Rule, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA, that goes into effect on August 3, 2015.
Part 2 reviewed a few of the key definitions and concepts related to the new standard.
Part 3 of this series examines some of the key requirements for employers under the new confined space regulations:
- Before starting work a contractor must have a competent person identify confined spaces in which its employees may work. The competent person must evaluate the hazards of that space and conduct air testing as necessary. In addition, the employer must post warning signs and prevent unauthorized employees from entering those spaces. (29 CFR 1926.1203(a-c).
- An employer must ensure through a written certification process that it is safe to remove a cover from a confined space and then block the entrance to ensure no one can enter the space before it is deemed safe. The confined space must be tested for oxygen, flammable gases and potential toxic air contaminants. If the air within the space does not meet minimum standards no one can enter the space until it is deemed safe. If a hazard is detected during entry the employer must ensure that employees can exit in a safe manner. (29 CFR 1926.1203(e)(2)(i – ix).
- Before entering any confined space, the controlling contractor must obtain all information regarding the hazards of that space from the host employer. This information must then be given to each employer that has to enter that space. After completing the entry process, each employer must relay all related information and hazards encountered to the controlling contractor. (1926.1203(h)(1-5).
- The employer must develop a written confined space program that addresses (but is not limited to) the identification of confined spaces, testing procedures, entry procedures, employee training, and emergency rescue. (29 CFR 1926.1204(a-n)
For more information on confined spaces in construction, MEMIC customers are welcome to attend our free webinar entitled “Confined Spaces: The Whole Story” on August 12, 2015.