Oregon OSHA’s new confined space rule, 437-002-0146, Confined Spaces, which will replace 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces, may be adopted as early as July. The agency still needs to review comments that were received just before the comment period closed on May 9. The effective date for complying with the new rule will most likely be the beginning of 2013.
The new rule will apply to general-industry and construction-industry employers. Employers familiar with the old 1910.146 rule will find that the requirements in the new rule are similar. The biggest change will be for construction employers. When the new rule is adopted, Oregon OSHA will repeal paragraph 1926.21(b)(6) in Safety training and education – the old confined space requirements for the construction industry – and include a note referring the reader to 437-002-0146, Confined Spaces.
The new rule applies to most activities in confined spaces; however, there are a certain exceptions, including most construction work regulated by Subdivision 3/P, Excavations and Subdivision 3/S, Underground Construction.
Perhaps the most helpful feature in the new rule will be a table that shows what sections of the rule apply when employers have to deal with a confined space at a worksite (shown below).