Navigating OSHA’s Confined Spaces Ruling for Home Performance
Our industry is no stranger to working in cramped spaces with varying conditions that can be deemed hazardous. Although practicing safe habits and protocols on the job comes with our territory, this new OSHA ruling is different than the previous general rulings.
*Efficiency First is providing this information strictly as an educational resource for Efficiency First members and is not responsible for the interpretation of the OSHA Confined Spaces in Construction rule. Efficiency First recommends that those with specific questions regarding situations that contractors or technicians may find themselves in contact the OSHA Office nearest you for guidance or an interpretation.
Other Efficiency First Member Resources
Learn more on this additional educational page about the OSHA rule -- a resource for Efficiency First members: www.efficiencyfirst.org/osha (member login required).
Temporary Enforcement Update
OSHA recently delayed enforcement of the rule for "residential construction" projects until MARCH 8, 2016 -- in some case, with some conditions. Read the OSHA announcement.
The delayed enforcement date is intended to be applicable for "single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses, not multi-unit apartment buildings."
What does this delay mean?
From OSHA's anouncement:
"Before March 8, 2016, OSHA will not issue citations under the Confined Spaces in Construction standard to an employer engaged in residential construction work if the employer is making good faith efforts to comply with the standard, as long as the employer is in compliance with either the training requirements of the standard, found at 29 CFR 1926.1207, or the former training requirements found at 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i), which provided:
"All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required. The employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas."
OSHA's Small Entity Compliance Guide
OSHA released a compliance guide specifically geared toward small businesses. While many of the examples in the guide refer to sectors outside of building performance (sewer construction, etc), there's a lot of useful information that you can leverage.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
- OSHA's Small Entity Compliance Guide: "Protecting Construction Workers in Confined Spaces: Small Entity Compliance Guide.
- Sample Entry Permit -- from OSHA's Small Entity Compliance Guide
- Sample Permit-Required Confined Space Program -- from OSHA's Small Entity Compliance Guide
- OSHA's Confined Spaces in Construction Website
- NAHB Overview of the Confined Spaces in Construction Final Rule (PDF)