Enforcement and Inspection

Understanding OSHA’s Temporary Enforcement Policy for the Confined Spaces in Construction Standard

On July 9, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a 60-day temporary enforcement policy for its Confined Spaces in Construction standard, which became effective on August 3, 2015. The administration is postponing full enforcement of the new standard to October 2, 2015, in response to requests for additional time to train employees and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard. Keep reading for the details.

During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers that make good-faith efforts to comply with the new standard. Employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of the new standard or the previous standard. Employers that fail to train their employees consistent with either of these two standards will be cited.

Defining “Good-Faith Efforts”

The new Confined Spaces in Construction standard (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA) includes detailed training requirements for workers who will be involved in or affected by confined space entry operations at 29 CFR 1926.1207. Before the release of Subpart AA, construction employers were required under 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i) to train employees entering confined spaces “on the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment.”

Join us on Tuesday, September 15, for our in-depth webinar, New HazCom Inspection Directive Released: Tips for Staying in Compliance and Preparing for a Visit from OSHA

According to OSHA, factors that indicate employers are making good-faith efforts to comply include:

  • 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.

On July 9, 2015, OSHA implemented a new directive for its inspectors to ensure the consistent enforcement of its revised Hazard Communication Standard. Click here to learn more!

OSHA issued the Confined Spaces in Construction final rule on May 4, 2015. The rule provides construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers possess, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. These include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and continuously monitor hazards—a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created.

OSHA’s enforcement instructions are pretty dry reading. Want more succinct summaries? You’ll find them at Safety.BLR.com®.