Amendments adopted to include construction industry
Salem - The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has adopted changes to the confined space rule to include the construction industry. The new rule replaces a 2012 version that was never enforced because of concerns raised by stakeholders after its adoption. With the new rule in place, construction employers will need to comply beginning March 1, 2015.
"It's important that workers in construction have the same protections from confined spaces that exist in general industry," said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. "Confined spaces are unforgiving. People aren't just injured in them; they are killed."
Confined spaces, such as tanks, wells, or tunnels, have limited means to exit, may contain potentially harmful material, and are not intended for human habitation. Workplace safety rules require employers to take proper precautions when their employees must work in such spaces. In Oregon, Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces those rules. The relatively minor changes to the general industry requirements take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
There are several exemptions in the rule, including the majority of excavation work. However, excavation work is not exempt when workers must enter a sewer space. The rule is similar to what was originally proposed in July 2014, with the only significant change being that employers must identify only their permit-required confined spaces, rather than all confined spaces.
For more information on the adopted confined space rule, go to www.orosha.org/standards/adopted.html.