Residential building Construction Federal agencies Injury prevention

Confined spaces in residential construction: OSHA publishes new fact sheet

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Construction -- Aug 2013

Washington – A new fact sheet from OSHA is intended to protect residential construction workers operating in confined spaces such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

Confined Spaces in Residential Construction, developed with help from the National Association of Home Builders, offers guidance in conjunction with 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA. The standard defines a confined space as one large enough for a worker to enter that is not intended for continuous occupancy and features entry or exit limitations or restrictions.

The resource notes that confined spaces differ from permit-required confined spaces, which may contain a hazardous atmosphere, a material or configuration that may “engulf” a worker, or any additional documented safety or health hazard.

The fact sheet urges employers to ensure a competent person identifies the types and number of confined spaces before each project. The competent person does not need to perform a physical assessment of each space if he or she possesses previous knowledge of similar confined spaces.

The resource also includes information about types of employers and employer obligations regarding personal protective equipment, training and rescue plans, among other topics.

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