In 2003 the confined space standard had been developed and public hearings were held in 2008. OSHA said that this standard would reduce confined space fatalities by 90%.
On June 4th 2012 at the American Society of Safety Engineers annual convention OSHA stated the final rule on confined space in construction is now being cleared interanlly and is really close to being issued.
An official publication date has not been set yet but due to election year politics “it’s hard to tell what will actually get published by the end of the year,” Jim Maddux, director of OSHA’s directorate of construction, said. “At least on the staff level, we’ve got almost all the work done on this one.”
So what is Confined space?
Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter, work in, and exit them. A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines. OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.