On May 4, 2015, OSHA published the Confined Spaces in Construction standard, 29 C.F.R 1926, Subpart AA. The new standard is effective August 3, 2015. Several interested stakeholders petitioned the agency for a delay in the August enforcement date citing the need for additional time to train employees and obtain the necessary equipment to comply with the new requirements.
On July 8, 2015, OSHA issued a memorandum to Regional Administrators indicating that it “will not issue citations to an employer making good faith efforts to comply with the new standard” between August 3, 2015 to October 2, 2015. In order to establish good faith efforts, employers must either have provided training in compliance with the new standard, 1926.1207, or training under the previous requirement, 1926.21(b)(6)(i).
According to the memorandum, OSHA will consider whether an employer is engaged in good faith efforts by considering:
- If employers have not trained employees under the new requirements, whether such training is scheduled to be conducted.
- If employers do not have the necessary equipment, such as personal protective equipment, to comply with the new standard, whether such equipment has been ordered and is using alternative measures to protect employees.
- If employers have made any additional efforts to train employees about confined spaces and protect them for the hazards of confined spaces.
Full enforcement of the new Confined Spaces in Construction standard will begin on October 3, 2015. A copy of the memorandum can be found online.