What is the OSHA standard for confined spaces in construction?
The final ruling in May of 2015 for Confined Spaces in Construction, is 29 CFR 1926, Subpart AA Standard, otherwise known as the osha confined space standard 1926. The information in this article covers cover confined space air monitoring requirements, and confined space construction requirements such as Competent Person for confined space.
What does OSHA say about confined spaces?
OSHA confined space requirements provide construction workers the same level of safety as workers in other industries working in or around confined spaces.
Planning, Evaluation, and Training
OSHA estimates that every year this rule should prevent 780 serious injuries and save five construction worker’s lives. If this rule, written in 2015, had already been in place prior to 2015, it could have saved the lives of two workers killed in Georgetown, Idaho. And here’s what happened:.
A worker was applying an aerosol sealant while working in a manhole. He became overwhelmed by fumes and fell into 3 feet of water at the bottom of the manhole. The site superintendent went into the manhole to rescue the worker and was affected by the fumes.
Another man left the project site to call for help. When a volunteer arrived and attempted rescue the victim, his own mask leaked and he had to stop the rescue attempt. EMTs arrived 45 minutes after the victim lost consciousness. Neither of the two men survived.
With proper planning, ventilation, rescue training, equipment, and prior engagement with local emergency services, the two workers could be alive today.
Unfortunately, the OSHA Confined Space Construction Standard that’s now in effect can’t go back and save the lives of those workers. However, because of the Standard, worker’s lives will be saved and serious injuries will hopefully be prevented.
This rule provides construction workers with securities that workers in manufacturing and general industry already have, with some differences tailored to the construction industry.
Unlike most general industry workplaces, construction sites are continually progressing, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces as work develops. This rule emphasizes training, continuous worksite evaluation, and communication requirements to protect workers safety and health.
Requirements in the Confined Space Standard for Construction
A “competent person” must conduct the initial jobsite evaluation in the final rule. The OSHA standard which applies to manufacturing and general industry standard does not specify who must conduct the evaluation, for example a Competent Person. The competent person’s approach is common in construction industry rules.
One of Titan Consultants, and Engineers Georgia Site Safety and Health Officers working on a (GA) project and qualified by our online Confined Space course to be the Competent Person for the project. Typically, if you are a Site Safety and Health Officer (SSHO), and there is confined space work on the project, the Prime will request you have a certificate for confined space safety.
Information trade requirements in the final rule inform employers what discussions must be conducted, and when, during confined space entry.
OSHA Confined Space Air Monitoring Requirements
Air contaminant and engulfment hazard monitoring must be done continuously. For substances where continuous monitoring technology or any technical device is not available, periodic monitoring is required.
The construction rule explicitly requires employers to coordinate emergency services before personnel enter the confined space.
During “controlled atmosphere” entry, employers must isolate physical hazards rather than eliminate all of them (such as using lock-out/tag-out, blocking off access to struck-by hazards, etc.). This is not inconsistent with interpretations issued for the General Industry rule but is clarified in the final rule for construction.