If you are affected by confined spaces in construction, your procrastination was rewarded this month. The rule, Subpart AA, went into effect on August 3, 2015. However, OSHA granted a Temporary Enforcement Period from that day until October 2, 2015. This means that citations are on hold as long as an employer can demonstrate Good Faith Effort (GFE) to meeting the standard. GFE was defined by OSHA and includes scheduling training and purchasing equipment.
I encourage you to use this time wisely! You have been given a chance to ensure your company is ready for enforcement and meets the new standard. Here’s my Top 10 List of things I’d be doing if I were in your shoes:
1. If your company has anything to do with confined spaces in a construction setting, download the full text of the standard and read it. It’s only 27 pages and is very informative.
2. Ensure your company has a Competent Person or Persons designated to manage confined space work.
3. Coordinate with the Competent Person(s) to identify the confined spaces at your site per 1926.1203(a).
4. If you are a Host Employer, identify the confined spaces that construction work has previously been done or is on the horizon. If there are projects coming up during, or immediately after the Temporary Enforcement Period, develop a communication plan that meets 1926.1203(h)(1).
5. If you are a Controlling Contractor, develop a communication plan that meets 1926.1203(h)(2).
6. Evaluate your company’s current Confined Space Program, refer to my previous post about the 5 Key Differences between the General Industry standard and the new Construction standard for a checklist.
7. Train employees on the new standard! One of the specific GFEs spelled out by OSHA is scheduling of such training. If you don’t have it scheduled, DO THAT FIRST. Next, visit www.conconspace.com for an editable training presentation and tailgate/toolbox suite perfect for Host Employers, Controlling Contractors, and Entry Employers. Include information from steps 3-6 in this training.
8. Evaluate your current confined space equipment related to air monitoring and rescue. A four-gas monitor and a fleet of tripods may not be sufficient! The new standard addresses rescue equipment for non-entry and entry rescue. Based on your findings in step 3, evaluate which types of rescue are appropriate for the confined spaces at your site.
9. If you are a contractor performing work at water or wastewater facilities or other confined spaces that are connected to a larger system, pay special attention to 1926.1204(e)(1).
10. Dive in to specific aspects of construction confined space that apply to your industry. For example, water and wastewater contractors often use pipe plugs. OSHA mentioned these in the preamble to the new standard, and this is going to be useful information for those using this type of equipment. Go here and do a text search for “pipe plug” by using Command+F. This will take you directly to the 16 mentions of “pipe plug” in the preamble.
For more templates and resources, visit www.conconspace.com or contact me directly!
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