OSHA issued a final rule to increase protection for construction workers in confined spaces Friday morning, the Department of Labor announced in a press release. Two workers died last year while making repairs in a manhole, prompting OSHA to review the current rules for confined spaces.
"In the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often necessary, but fatalities like these don't have to happen," secretary of labor Thomas E. Perez said. "This new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. In fact, we estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year."
These new rules will create protections for construction workers similar to the protections that the manufacturing and general industry workers have had for some time. Employers will now have to monitor any potential hazards within the confined spaces and share any safety information that they may have.
A confined space is defined by OSHA as, "work areas that (1) are large enough for an employee to enter, (2) have limited means of entry or exit, and (3) are not designed for continuous occupancy."
A full list of the new rules and regulations can be found at OSHA's confined spaces webpage.