The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced July 9 a 60-day temporary enforcement policy of its Confined Spaces in Construction standard, the Department of Labor announced in a press release. The temporary enforcement becomes effective Aug. 3.
The agency made the decision to postpone full enforcement of the new standard to Oct. 2 after receiving requests from contractors for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the rule.
During this period, employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the standard will not be issued a citation, however they must be in compliance with either the new or previous standard. Good faith includes scheduling training for employees, ordering equipment, and taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards.
OSHA issued its final rule May 4 in an effort to create protections for construction professionals similar to those offered to manufacturing and general industry workers. The rule, which the agency says could prevent up to 800 serious injuries every year, initially was prompted after two workers died in 2014 while making repairs in a manhole. Under the rule, employers will be required to monitor any potential hazards within the confined spaces and share any safety information that they may have.