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OROSHA – Proposed Changes to Confined Spaces Standard

Public Hearing Scheduled:
August 25, 2014, 10:00 am, Portland General Electric, 4245 Kale Street NE, Sor-oshaalem, OR 97305

In 2012, Oregon OSHA adopted OAR 437-002-0146. That rule was initiated to address confined space hazards for the construction industry, as the previous rule, OAR 437-002-1910.146, did not apply to the construction industry. The goal in this process was to draft a rule that was significantly less confusing than the current rule, address shortcomings with the current rule, and organize the standard so employers can better understand what is expected of them.

However, in September of 2013, Oregon OSHA received questions about certain provisions of the rule and their impacts on the industry, and we concluded there was enough substance to those concerns to justify reconvening a stakeholder group to address those concerns.

This rulemaking amends OAR 437-002-0146, Confined Spaces.

  • These amendments clarify employer obligations and eliminate confusing requirements.
  • Paragraph (2) Exceptions: The exception to these rules for excavation work was revised to reflect that these rules only apply in situations where employees can bodily enter sewer spaces.
  • Paragraph (3) Definitions: Several definitions were added and/or modified for clarity, including:

Alternate entry
Blanking or blinding
Continuous system
Control or controlling
Double block and bleed
Hazard control
Hazard elimination
Isolate or isolation
Simulated Permit-Required Confined Space
Ventilate or ventilation

  • Paragraph (4) Evaluation: Language clarifications were made in the responsibility to evaluate confined spaces. For example, employers with mobile workers must evaluate the areas where their employees are working, not the entire site.
  • Paragraphs (5) and (6): Language clarifications were made in the permit space entry program and permit entry process. For example, entry permits has a number of items that must be included in the permit. These items were removed from (5) Permit-Required Confined Space Entry Program and Permits and added to (6) Permit Entry.
  • Paragraph (9) Rescue: The requirements for rescue were re-organized; redundancy in non-entry, entry and third-party first aid and CPR training requirements were removed, and language clarifications were made.
  • The requirement for a written agreement between an employer and a third-party rescue service provider was removed.
  • Removed the ambiguity of whether a permit is required when an activated third-party rescue service provider performs a rescue.
  • The requirement for rescuers to be trained in first aid and CPR was changed to knowledgeable in first aid and CPR. The requirement for one member to be certified in both was not changed.
  • The requirement for practice rescues was changed from annually to prior to an entry and within 12 months before an entry.
  • The term “self-rescue” was removed from the rule, except in a note that was added to clarify that self-rescue is not a viable rescue option.
  • The redundant paragraph for third-party rescue providers was removed.
  • Paragraph (10) Alternate Entry: The exception for continuous systems was modified to allow for alternate entry when engulfment cannot occur.
  • A note was added that when fall hazards have been addressed and all other physical hazards eliminated and all atmospheric hazards have been eliminated or controlled with continuous ventilation, alternate entry is allowed.
  • Clarification language was added to specify who is authorized to allow alternate entry.
  • The documentation of the direct reading instrument calibration date was removed.
  • Paragraph (11) Training: The requirements for training were reorganized for clarity.
  • A note was added for awareness training to clarify when employees need awareness training.
  • Appendices: Language in the appendices was modified for clarification.
  • The sample permits were replaced with a new sample permit and a sample alternate entry form.

Comment period closes: September 5, 2014

Direct link to the proposed changes.

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