OSHA Announces 'Temporary Enforcement' on Construction Confined Space Rule

Until Oct. 2, a "temporary enforcement period" is in effect: OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard.

OSHA on July 9 announced a 60-day "temporary enforcement policy" for its confined spaces in construction standard, which becomes effective Aug. 3. "The agency is postponing full enforcement of the new standard to Oct. 2, 2015, in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard," its announcement said. "During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who 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 who fail to train their employees consistent with either of these two standards will be cited."

Fortunately for affected employers, the announcement then spelled out the factors that OSHA will accept as indicating employers are making good-faith efforts to comply, saying these factors "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."

The final rule came out May 4, 2015, and is similar to the OSHA general industry standard. One difference is that the construction standard will require employers on multi-employer sites to share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards.

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