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NEW CONFINED SPACES RULE

By: Ron Parker STS, CHST

 

Actually the “new rule” is not entirely new. OSHA issued a final standard for construction work in confined spaces that took effect August 3, 2015. Did you get the changes and if so, did you integrate them into your confined space program? The new standard is now similar to those for general industrial, but does have some changes. Construction employers had ninety days from the date of final ruling to implement this new standard. As a safety professional, if you have not integrated this ruling into your confined space program, you are out of compliance. This new standard, Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926, sets requirements for procedures to protect employees engaged in working in or around confined spaces where there is more than one confined space.

 

It is imperative for you as a safety professional to keep current on any changes that are made that will add to or take away from the existing standards, especially if your task requires your employees to enter a confined space. If possible it would be better to engineer out any confined space problems rather than sending someone into the confined space. To do this a determination should be made by a competent person as to what type of a confined space someone will enter, is it a confined or a permit required confined space, is it harmful and can it be made safe. There shall be a written confined space program and employees who are selected to enter a confined space should be trained with proof of the training kept at the safety office. Safety is paramount and an emergency rescue plan should be in effect. These revised standards must also be adhered to by all sub-contractors.

 

The new standard will almost mirror the standard 29 CFR 1910.146., but with some important differences. I could list these differences, however if you look on line at29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA or in your 29 CFR 1926 manual subpart AA, the new differences of the standard will be listed.

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