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New standard issued for construction and confined spaces

Construction workers in North Carolina may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released its final rule regarding confined spaces in construction sites on May 4. The rule will be effective as of Aug. 3.

According to OSHA, employers will now be required to assess their work sites in order to determine what types of confined spaces workers will have to perform duties in. They will additionally be mandated to determine the potential hazards each confined work space may present to workers, analyze the types of safety measures that should be incorporated to minimize the risks and then implement them.

Employers will then be required to design and utilize safety training programs and rescue plans. Under the ruling, confined spaces are designated as those areas that, while large enough for a worker to enter, have limited exit and entry points and are not meant to be permanently occupied. The federal agency additionally identified a large list of areas in which such a confined space may exist while also specifically exempting certain types of construction work. One important part of the new rule is that all employers who have employees working at a specific location will be required to implement safety procedures, even if their workers are not intended to perform work within the confined space.

Rulings such as this one are intended to minimize the incidence of workplace injuries. Accidents occurring while people are on the job are especially frequent within certain industries such as construction. When workers are injured on the job, they may file a claim with their employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier in order to secure benefits. They may want to seek the help of an attorney throughout the process.

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