OSHA has issued a final rule to increase the protections for construction workers in confined spaces. People working in these spaces face dangerous hazards such as toxic substances, electrocutions and explosions.
In 2014, two workers suffocated while working in a manhole. The second worker went down to save the first, which is not an uncommon practice in cases of suffocation in a manhole.
The Secretary of Labor stated that “in the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often necessary but fatalities like these don’t have to happen.” OSHA estimates that this new rule will prevent about 780 serious accidents per year.
This new rule institutes a comprehensive standard that implements a permitting program that will reduce employees exposure to the many hazards associated with confined spaces. The final rule is similar to the general industry confined space standard but incorporates technology advances and more enforce-ability of the requirements.