OSHA extends temporary enforcement policy for confined spaces in construction

Full enforcement now postponed through March 8, 2016

Posted January 19, 2016

On January 15, OSHA published a temporary enforcement policy for residential construction work in confined spaces. A temporary enforcement policy has been in effect for all employers covered by the standard through October 2, 2015. OSHA is extending the temporary enforcement policy through March 8, 2016, only for employers engaged in residential construction work.

Up to and including March 8, 2016, OSHA will not issue citations under the Confined Spaces in Construction standard to an employer engaged in residential construction work if the employer is making good faith efforts to comply with the standard, as long as the employer is in compliance with either the training requirements of the standard, found at 29 CFR 1926.1207, or the former training requirements found at 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i), which provided:

  • All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required. The employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.

Employers who fail to train their employees consistent with either 29 CFR 1926.1207 or 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i) would properly be cited for violation of 29 CFR 1926.1207. Factors OSHA will consider when evaluating whether an employer is engaged in good faith efforts to comply with the new standard include:

  • If the employer has not trained its employees as required under the new standard, whether the employer has scheduled such training,
  • If the employer does not have the equipment required for compliance with the new standard, including personal protective equipment, whether the employer has ordered or otherwise arranged to obtain such equipment required for compliance and is taking alternative measures to protect employees from confined space hazards, and
  • Whether the employer has engaged in any additional efforts to educate workers about confined space hazards and protect workers from those hazards.

Confined Spaces: Entry Team Training - Construction ActivitiesJ. J. Keller's Confined Spaces: Entry Team Training - Construction Activities helps employees meet requirements of the new OSHA standard regarding construction activities in confined spaces.


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