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Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Permit-Required Confined Spaces
• Section: 0
• Title: Intro to Permit-Required Confined Spaces


Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. S-019A]

RIN 1218-AA51

Permit-Required Confined Spaces

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: This final rule amends the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard on Permit-Required Confined Spaces (permit spaces) (29 CFR 1910.146) to provide for enhanced employee participation in the employer's permit space program, to provide authorized permit space entrants or their authorized representatives with the opportunity to observe any testing or monitoring of permit spaces, and to strengthen and clarify the criteria employers must satisfy when preparing for the timely rescue of incapacitated permit space entrants. The revisions being made to the final rule will substantially enhance the protections being provided to permit space entrants and will additionally clarify a number of issues that have arisen since promulgation of the final Permit-Required Confined Spaces rule in 1993.

Specifically, OSHA is clarifying and strengthening the requirements in revised paragraphs (d), Permit-required confined space program, and (e), Permit system, to allow for greater employee participation in the permit-space program and for employee access to program information developed under the standard. The Agency is also revising paragraphs (c) and (d) to specify that employers must provide those employees who are authorized permit space entrants, or their authorized representatives, an opportunity to observe any testing of the space that is conducted prior to entry or subsequent to such entry. The Agency believes that these revisions are necessary to ensure that permit space entrants, whose work often requires entry into potentially life-threatening atmospheres, have the information necessary to protect themselves and their co-workers from confined space hazards. Allowing authorized entrants or their authorized representatives to observe the testing of the spaces they are required to enter will help to ensure that the testing has been done properly, that the respirators and other personal protective equipment being worn are appropriate, and that the entrants understand the nature of the hazards present in the space. In addition, paragraph (k) of the final rule, Rescue and emergency services, is being revised to clarify the criteria employers must satisfy when selecting a rescue team or service to rescue incapacitated permit space entrants, and a new paragraph (l), Employee participation, is being added to the final rule to ensure employee involvement in permit space program development and implementation. A non-mandatory appendix is also being added to the standard to assist employers in selecting appropriately trained and equipped rescuers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This final rule will become effective February 1, 1999.

ADDRESSES: In compliance with 28 U.S.C. 2112(a), the Agency designates for receipt of petitions for review of the standard the Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Solicitor, Room S-4004, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Bonnie Friedman, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Room N3647, Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone (202) 693-1999.

[63 FR 66018, December 1, 1998]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents

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