The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces.
The agency says the rule, which matches those in manufacturing and other industries, could protect nearly 800 construction workers a year from serious injuries and reduce life-threatening hazards.
The rule applies to areas including manholes, crawl spaces, tanks, and other confined spaces that are not intended for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in an emergency.
People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation. The agency cited a case last year in which two workers were asphyxiated while repairing leaks in a manhole. The new rule was devised to prevent such incidents.
The new regulations 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 originally created.