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Confined spaces and OSHA

New York construction workers, as well as their employers, may benefit from learning about the new confined space standards established by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for the construction industry and that are scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 3, 2015. Researchers believe that the implementation of the new rule could lead to five fewer fatalities and 780 fewer injuries each year. It is designed to address the evolving nature of confined spaces in the construction industry and supplement standards that have been in effect since 1993 and which apply to all industries.

The new standards help ensure that construction workers are afforded the same protections that other types of workers receive under similar circumstances. Confined spaces may be described as being large enough for an employee to enter or exit through limited means, but inadequate for continuous occupancy. Employees may also benefit from understand the critical factors involved with permit-required confined spaces. The atmosphere in these spaces are hazardous to employees and may have the potential to engulf the workers.

Permit-required confined spaces may also be described as those that can asphyxiate or trap an employee. The new standards are structured to lower the risk hazards associated with oxygen deficiencies, fumes, toxic vapors or explosives. Some of the work environments that may be categorized as a confined space include ventilation ducts, sumps, manholes and condenser pits, among others. The new standards also add improvements for coordinating efforts between employees and management involved in working with confined spaces.

Employees who suffer injuries from working in confined spaces may benefit from consulting with a lawyer. Legal counsel might be able to help injured victims obtain the medical treatment and wage benefits that are provided under their employer's workers' compensation insurance.

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