As of May 1, a new rule has been issued by OSHA for confined space standards in the construction industry. While the rule does not go into effect until August 3, 2015, the construction industry is already looking at how this will impact job sites going forward.
First off, the big question is how this rule is different from the confined space standards already in place.The OSHA rule in existence for manufacturing and general industry has been around for almost twenty years. What are the elements tailored specifically to the construction industry?
The most important elements center around training, communication and monitoring. The rule emphasizes sharing vital information among multiple employers, and it expands the training required as compared to the general industry OSHA rule. Also, it requires the continuous monitoring of hazards. As anyone in the industry will tell you, construction sites are always changing.
Implementation of the rule could mean large-scale prevention of avoidable injuries. In regards to worker protection, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated, “…We estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year.”
Just in case employers don’t feel a need to take the coming rule seriously, the maximum penalty for each violation is set at $7,000. Repeated or willful violations skyrocket to $70,000.