WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its decision to delay enforcement of its Confined Spaces in Construction Standard until Jan. 8, 2016.

Although the ruling went into effect Aug. 3, 2015, OSHA has agreed to refrain from issuing citations to any employer that is making good-faith efforts to comply with the standard.

Under the new rule (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA), permits to access specific confined spaces are granted by the general contractor or lead contractor on each job. There are numerous safe entry procedures requiring planning and preparation by the contractor ahead of time.

The rule will apply to any space that meets the following criteria:

• Is large enough for a worker to enter it;

• Has limited means of entry or exit; and

• Is not designed for continuous occupancy.

A space may be a permit-required confined space if it has a hazardous atmosphere, the potential for suffocation, a layout that might trap a worker through converging walls, a sloped floor, or any other serious safety or health hazard.

Employers will be required to train workers to ensure they know about the existence, location, and dangers posed by each permit-required confined space.

Publication date: 11/2/2015 

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