New Confined Space Rule Issued by OSHA to Protect Construction Workers
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the many dangers inherent in working in confined spaces.
Certified Industrial Hygienists are trained to recognize and prevent accidents involving confined spaces.
On May 1st, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces. The new rule provides construction workers with similar protections to those of employees from other industries who have had them for over 20 years.
OSHA reports that construction workers often perform tasks in confined spaces/work areas that:
- are large enough for an employee to enter,
- have limited means of entry or exit, and
- are not designed for continuous occupancy.
Construction workers and those in other industries who work in confined spaces can encounter life-threatening hazards that include toxic substances, electrocution, explosions and asphyxiation. “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 every year,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.
One group of dedicated professionals who help to keep workers safe in confined spaces and during other activities are Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs). Thousands of CIHs work as private consultants or directly for industry and government agencies.
“Confined spaces often present physical and atmospheric hazards that can be prevented if addressed prior to entering an area,” said Nicole Greeson, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Certified Industrial Hygienists are trained to recognize and prevent accidents involving confined spaces. Core competencies for the elite industrial hygiene professionals who have obtained the CIH® credential include air sampling and instrumentational analysis; chemical and biohazards; engineering controls and ventilation; health risk analysis and hazard communication; noise and hearing loss prevention; thermal stressors; and work environments and industrial processes. These and other core competencies are instrumental for ensuring a safe work environment in confined spaces.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene ®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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