Many construction workers in South Carolina enter confined spaces while they are working. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these workers can face many physical and atmospheric hazards as a result. On May 4, the federal agency announced a new safety standard for confined spaces on construction sites.
Under the new OSHA rule, employers at construction sites will be required to evaluate the confined spaces at their work sites and determine the potential hazards of the confined spaces. Employers will also have to come up with a plan for mitigating the hazards in the confined spaces, providing workers who are entering the confined spaces with the proper training and rescuing workers from the confined spaces when necessary.
The new safety standard will go into effect on Aug. 3, 2015, and OSHA expects that it will result in five fewer deaths and 780 fewer injuries at construction sites each year. OSHA says that construction work at buildings, bridges, tunnels and highways will be affected by the new rule on confined spaces. Some of the areas where OSHA says that confined spaces tend to be found include storm drains, sewers, turbines and manholes. OSHA safety standards that have already been written for excavation work, underground construction and diving will not be affected by the new rule.
A construction worker who has been injured in a confined space may lose days or weeks of income that family members were depending on. As a way of dealing with these financial hardships, an injured victim may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Those who have been injured as a result of an on-the-job accident may wish to obtain the assistance of counsel in preparing and filing a claim.