OSHA expects to soon publish a new revised directive or a letter regarding permit-required confined spaces in general industry. In addition, the agency also will be issuing a safety and health bulletin on the hazards associated with confined spaces. These measures are in response to the Chemical Safety Board’s (CSB) recommendations in 2010 that OSHA revise its confined space requirements for general industry.

OSHA does not believe that a new confined space standard is necessary, as the CSB recommended. It believes that any gaps in the standard can be addressed through injury and illness prevention programs (I2P2). Although OSHA has yet to release a proposed rule for an injury and illness prevention program, it has been a high priority under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Michaels. Clearly, the agency envisions I2P2 as a means of updating standards without having to engage in notice and comment rulemaking.