After years of comments, proposals, discussions, edits, issuances, retractions, amendments, and related activities, OROSHA has issued its Confined Space Rule: OAR 437-002-0146. The permit space rules became effective for general industry on January 1, 2015 and will become effective for construction on March 1, 2015.
What does it mean to Oregon employers? If you were in compliance with the Federal rules (1910.146) will you be in compliance with this one?
Impact of OROSHA's New Permit Space Rules
The biggest impact of the new permit space rules will be felt by construction companies who, for the first time, will need to follow the same confined space rules as does general industry. Given the fact that construction workers move from job to job, there are special requirements to ensure that all work areas are evaluated to determine if any work activities will occur in permit spaces. If so, the new rules will apply.
All contractors engaged in permit space entries must have a written program and train employees to follow the safe entry procedures that reflect the hazards at that location. The rules specify the way in which this information must be collected and shared among the affected parties (e.g., property owner, general contractor, and sub- contractors.)
General industry will have an easier time aligning their operations with the new rules. There are some changes that will need to be made to the location's written confined space program. One such change is the new requirement to deliver confined space awareness training to everyone who works in the vicinity of the permit spaces that can be entered or opened. There are also substantial changes to the procedures used to reclassify spaces.
If you believe that your location's confined space procedures might need a tune-up to reflect these new rules, we invite you attend our Confined Space Train the Trainer class being held in Eugene on March 23-24, 2015. While we will discuss the new Oregon rules, this training program will also benefit anyone who is responsible for the safety of permit-space entrants regardless of which rule they fall under.