OSHA issues final rule to protect construction workers in confined spaces
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces.
People working in confined spaces (such as manholes, crawl spaces, and
tanks) face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances,
electrocutions, explosions and asphyxiation.
Last year, two workers
were asphyxiated while repairing leaks in a manhole, the second when he
went down to save the first – which is not uncommon in cases of
asphyxiation in confined spaces.
"In the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often
necessary, but fatalities like these don't have to happen," said
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "This new rule will significantly
improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces.
In fact, we estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries
The rule will provide construction workers with protections similar to
those manufacturing and general industry workers have had for more than
two decades, with some differences tailored to the construction
industry. These include requirements to ensure that multiple employers
share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards – a
safety option made possible by technological advances after the
manufacturing and general industry standards were created.
For more information, see the news release and visit OSHA's webpage on Confined Spaces in Construction.
OSHA unveils new version of "It's the Law" poster to help prevent injuries and protect workers' rights
help ensure that workers have a voice in their workplaces and the
protection they deserve, on April 28 OSHA unveiled a new version of its
"Job Safety and Health - It's The Law!" poster. The poster informs workers of their rights, and employers of their responsibilities.
"This poster emphasizes a
very important principle when it comes to prevention – that every
worker has a voice," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Workers need to know their
rights and be able to use their rights, without fear of retaliation,
when they believe that their safety or health is at risk."
The newly designed poster informs workers of their right to request an
OSHA inspection of their workplaces, receive information and training
on job hazards, report a work-related injury or illness, and raise
safety and health concerns with their employer or OSHA without being retaliated against.
The poster also informs employers of their legal obligation to provide
a safe workplace. In addition, it has been updated to include the new reporting obligations for employers, who must now report every fatality and every hospitalization, amputation and loss of an eye.
OSHA's "It's the Law" poster is free and can be downloaded online.
Employers must display the poster in a conspicuous place where workers
can see it. Previous versions of the poster do not need to be replaced.
For more information, see the news release.