OSHA is delaying full enforcement of its final rule on the confined spaces standard until Aug. 3, 2015. The postponement allows construction companies time to properly train their staff on how to comply with the new provisions to the standard.
The new provisions added by OSHA include requiring that:
- Employers directing workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system must prevent workers’ exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout/tagout;
- Employers that rely on local emergency services must ensure the emergency services give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time (because they are responding to another emergency, attending department-wide training, etc.); and
- Employers must provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.
Construction companies must learn and teach several terms have been added to the definitions for the construction rule, such as “entry employer,” to describe the employer who directs workers to enter a space, and “entry rescue,” added to clarify the differences in the types of rescue employers can use.
According to BLR Safety Blog, a multiemployer site communication practice should be utilized.
The rule makes the controlling contractor, rather than the host employer, the primary point of contact for information about permit spaces at a worksite.
The host employer must provide information about permit spaces at the worksite to the controlling contractor, who then passes it on to the employers whose employees will enter the spaces (entry employers).
Entry employers must give the controlling contractor information about their entry program and hazards they encounter in the space, and the controlling contractor passes that information on to other entry employers and back to the host.
The controlling contractor is also responsible for making sure employers outside a space know not to create hazards in the space, and that entry employers working in a space at the same time do not create hazards for one another’s workers.