Enforcement of Confined Spaces in Construction standard extended for residential construction work

Residential construction employers have until 1/8/2016 to comply

Posted October 6, 2015

On October 1, 2015, OSHA director James Maddux issued a memorandum extending the enforcement deadline for the confined spaces in construction standard for residential construction work. A temporary enforcement policy had been in effect for all employers covered by the standard through October 2, 2015. OSHA now further extends this temporary enforcement policy through January 8, 2016, only for employers engaged in residential construction work. This enforcement policy covers construction work on single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses, not multi-unit apartment buildings.

Before January 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 1926.21(b)(6)(i) would properly be cited for violation of 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.

 

Construction Regulatory GuideJ. J. Keller's Construction Regulatory Guide provides requirements for key areas of compliance, including steel erection, cranes and derricks, fall protection, scaffolding, personal protective equipment, recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses, and electrical safety .

 

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