[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 228 (Wednesday, November 28, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 67352-67425]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-21893]



[[Page 67351]]

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Part II





Department of Labor





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Occupational Safety and Health Administration



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29 CFR Part 1926



Confined Spaces in Construction; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 228 / Wednesday, November 28, 2007 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 67352]]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1926

[Docket ID-OSHA-2007-0026]
RIN 1218-AB47


Confined Spaces in Construction

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: OSHA is proposing a rule to protect employees from the hazards 
resulting from exposure to confined spaces in the construction 
industry. Under the proposed rule, employers would first determine 
whether there is a confined space at a job site. If there is a confined 
space, the employer would determine if there are existing or potential 
hazards in the space. If there are such hazards, the employer then 
would classify the space according to the physical and atmospheric 
hazards found in it. The four classifications are: Isolated-Hazard 
Confined Space, Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space, Permit-Required 
Confined Space, and Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space. 
The proposed requirements for each type of confined space are tailored 
to control the different types of hazards.

DATES: Submit comments (including comments to the information-
collection (paperwork) determination described under the section titled 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION of this notice), hearing requests, and other 
information by January 28, 2008. All submissions must bear a postmark 
or provide other evidence of the submission date. (See the following 
section titled ADDRESSES for methods you can use in making 
submissions.)

ADDRESSES: Comments and hearing requests may be submitted as follows:
     Electronic: Comments may be submitted electronically to 
http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 
Follow the instructions online for submitting comments.
     Facsimile: OSHA allows facsimile transmission of comments 
and hearing requests that are 10 pages or fewer in length (including 
attachments). Send these documents to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 
693-1648; hard copies of these documents are not required. Instead of 
transmitting facsimile copies of attachments that supplement these 
documents (e.g., studies, journal articles), commenters may submit 
these attachments, in triplicate hard copy, to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. These attachments must 
clearly identify the sender's name, date, subject, and Docket ID (i.e., 
OSHA-2007-0026) so that the Agency can attach them to the appropriate 
document.
     Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, 
and messenger service: Submit three copies of comments and any 
additional material (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA 
Docket Office, Docket ID OSHA-2007-0026 or RIN No. 1218-AB47, Technical 
Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2350. (OSHA's TTY 
number is (877) 889-5627.) Please contact the OSHA Docket Office for 
information about security procedures concerning delivery of materials 
by express delivery, hand delivery, and messenger service. The hours of 
operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the 
OSHA Docket ID (i.e., OSHA-2007-0026). Comments and other material, 
including any personal information, are placed in the public docket 
without revision, and will be available online at http://
www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions commenters about 
submitting statements they do not want made available to the public, or 
submitting comments that contain personal information (either about 
themselves or others) such as social security numbers, birth dates, and 
medical data.
    Docket: To read or download comments or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to the OSHA Docket Office 
at the address above. Documents in the docket are listed in the http://
www.regulations.gov index; however, some information (e.g., copyrighted 
material) is not publicly available to read or download through this 
Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are 
available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Contact 
the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  General information and press 
inquiries: Contact Mr. Kevin Ropp, Director, Office of Communications, 
OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3647, 200 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1999 or fax (202) 693-
1634.
     Technical inquiries: Contact Mr. Garvin Branch, 
Directorate of Construction, Room N-3468, OSHA, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone 
(202) 693-2020 or fax (202) 693-1689.
     Copies of this Federal Register notice: Available from the 
OSHA Office of Publications, Room N-3101, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
1888.
     Electronic copies of this notice: Go to OSHA's Web site 
(http://www.osha.gov), and select ``Federal Register,'' ``Date of 
Publication,'' and then ``2007.''
     Additional information for submitting documents: See 
section V.I. (``Public Participation'') of this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General

A. Table of Contents

    The following Table of Contents identifies the major preamble 
sections in this notice and the order in which they are presented:

I. General
    A. Table of Contents
    B. Hearing
II. Background
    A. History
    B. Need for a Rule Regulating Confined Spaces in Construction
III. Summary and Explanation of the Proposed Standard
IV. Issues for Comment
V. Procedural Determinations
    A. Legal Authority
    B. Summary of the Preliminary Economic Analysis and Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
    C. OMB Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
    D. Federalism
    E. State-Plan States
    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    G. Applicability of Existing Consensus Standards
    H. Review of the Proposed Standard by the Advisory Committee for 
Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
    I. Public Participation--Comments and Hearings

B. Hearing

    Requests for a hearing should be submitted to the Agency as set 
forth above under DATES and ADDRESSES.

II. Background

A. History

    On March 25, 1980, OSHA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (ANPR) on confined spaces for the construction industry (45 
FR

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19266 \1\). The ANPR posed 31 questions concerning confined-space 
hazards in the construction industry, and the Agency received 75 
comments in response to these questions. However, OSHA took no further 
action on this regulatory initiative at the time.
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    \1\ ``FR'' refers to ``Federal Register,'' with the volume 
number (for example, 45) before, and the page number (for example, 
19266) after, ``FR.''
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    OSHA issued the general industry confined-spaces rule (29 CFR 
1910.146) on January 14, 1993 (58 FR 4462), as well as a similar rule 
for the shipyard industry 29 CFR 1915.7, 11-16) on July 25, 1994 (59 FR 
37816). The general industry standard requires employers to classify 
hazardous confined spaces as ``permit-required confined spaces,'' and 
to implement specific procedures to ensure the safety of employees who 
enter them.
    It contains detailed procedures for developing a written confined-
space program, monitoring atmospheric hazards, training employees, 
preventing unauthorized employees from entering these spaces, providing 
for both non-entry and entry rescue, and maintaining records.
    The general industry standard specifies a limited exception from 
some of the permit-required confined-space requirements when the only 
hazard in a confined space is an atmospheric hazard and ventilation 
equipment will control the atmospheric hazard at safe levels. It also 
provides protection to employees from non-atmospheric (for example, 
physical) hazards within non-permit-required, as well as permit-
required, confined spaces. However, the general industry standard does 
not apply to construction employers, and, as such, does not specify the 
appropriate level of employee protection based on the hazards created 
by construction activities performed in confined spaces. Table 1 
provides a description of the key differences between the general 
industry standard and the proposed standard for confined spaces in 
construction.

 Table 1.--Key Differences in Regulatory Provisions between the General
              Industry and Proposed Construction Standards
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       General industry standard          Proposed construction standard
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                      Organization of the Standard
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The standard begins with requirements    The proposed standard takes a
 for entering PRCSs.                      step-by-step approach,
                                          explaining how to assess
                                          hazards, determine the
                                          classification for the space,
                                          and how to safely enter it.
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                          Information Exchange
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The standard requires a host employer    The proposed standard requires
 to coordinate entry operations with a    the controlling contractor to
 contractor when the host employer and    coordinate entry operations
 the contractor both have employees       among contractors who have
 working in or near a permit space.       employees in a confined space
                                          regardless of whether or not
                                          the controlling contractor has
                                          employees in the confined
                                          space.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Confined Space with Hazards Isolated
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Does not address working in confined     Allows employers to establish
 spaces in which the hazard has been      an Isolated-Hazard Confined
 isolated.                                Space by isolating or
                                          eliminating all physical and
                                          atmospheric hazards in a
                                          confined space.
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          Controlled-Atmosphere Permit-Required Confined Space
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Monitoring required as necessary.......  Continuous monitoring required
                                          unless the employer
                                          demonstrates that periodic
                                          monitoring is sufficient.
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                 Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS)
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No explicit requirement for entry        Explicit requirement for entry
 supervisor to monitor PRCS conditions    supervisor to monitor PRCS
 during entry.                            conditions during entry.
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Requires a written PRCS plan...........  No written plan required when
                                          employer maintains a copy of
                                          the standard at the worksite.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
No specific early-warning requirements   Early-warning requirement for
 for up-stream hazards.                   up-stream hazards in sewer-
                                          type spaces.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Agency recognizes that a number of requirements of the proposed 
standard for confined spaces in construction duplicate, or are similar 
to, the provisions of the general industry standard for permit-required 
confined spaces. Nevertheless, OSHA does not believe that the general 
industry standard addresses adequately the unique characteristics of 
confined spaces in construction. Compared to general industry, the 
construction industry experiences higher employee turnover rates, with 
construction employees more often working at multiple worksites 
performing short-term tasks. Unlike most general industry worksites, 
construction worksites are continually evolving, with the number and 
characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses. 
Multiple contractors and controlling contractors are found more often 
at construction worksites than at general industry worksites. Also, in 
contrast to general industry, OSHA believes that many contractors who 
perform construction work in sewer systems are unfamiliar with the 
hazards associated with these worksites. Therefore, OSHA placed

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more emphasis in this proposed standard on assessing hazards at sewer 
worksites than it did in the general industry confined-spaces standard.
    The differences in employee and worksite characteristics between 
the construction industry and general industry prompted OSHA to develop 
a proposed standard for regulating confined spaces in the construction 
industry that varied substantially from the general industry confined-
spaces standard as described above in Table 1 of this preamble. Because 
of the regulatory differences between this proposed standard and the 
general industry standard, the general industry standard would not be 
considered a substitute for this proposed construction standard except 
where the provisions are essentially the same.
    In 1993, as part of the litigation activity surrounding the newly 
promulgated general industry standard, OSHA agreed in a settlement with 
the United Steel Workers of America to issue a proposed rule to extend 
confined-space protection to construction employees. On February 18, 
1994, OSHA submitted a draft proposed standard for confined spaces in 
construction to the Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and 
Health (ACCSH) for comment. ACCSH established a work group on March 22, 
1994 to address the OSHA draft proposed standard and report its 
findings to the full committee.
    ACCSH adopted the work group report on May 17, 1994, and 
recommended that OSHA incorporate it into a rulemaking docket. In this 
report, ACCSH noted that the general industry standard did not meet the 
needs of the construction industry because it did not provide adequate 
information to contractors for distinguishing among the different types 
of confined spaces, or to determine the appropriate level of employee 
protection based on the hazards resulting from construction activities 
performed in confined spaces. In addition, ACCSH found that confined 
spaces encountered or created in construction often are not identified 
or classified prior to the beginning of a construction project.
    Consequently, ACCSH established a work group to draft a proposed 
standard that would meet the unique needs of the construction industry. 
The draft proposed standard emphasized identifying different types of 
confined spaces encountered in construction (for example, where the 
hazard has been isolated, where atmospheric hazards are controlled at 
safe levels, and permit-required spaces), inter-contractor information 
exchange, and the detailed protections necessary to eliminate or 
control specific hazards.
    As the result of the ACCSH work group review, a draft proposed 
standard for confined spaces in construction was submitted to OSHA in 
the winter of 1996 and ACCSH recommended that it be used as a proposed 
confined-spaces standard. OSHA determined that the ACCSH draft proposed 
standard needed to be reworked to make it easier to understand, 
especially for small employers who do not employ a separate safety 
staff. The Agency also determined that certain hazards, such as those 
encountered in sewer-construction work, were not adequately addressed. 
Consequently, OSHA determined that it was necessary to develop a new 
draft proposed standard.
    In 1998, OSHA completed a new draft proposed standard but 
discovered that there were several issues that needed to be resolved 
before the draft proposed standard could be finalized. To get feedback 
from the construction community, OSHA held three stakeholders meetings 
in October of 2000 across the country. The topics discussed were: (1) 
Typical confined spaces encountered in construction; (2) whether an 
early-warning system should be required for spaces in which an 
engulfment hazard cannot be isolated (such as in some sewer 
situations); (3) the need for, and cost of, continuous monitoring for 
atmospheric hazards; (4) how a confined-spaces standard for 
construction could accommodate the needs of small businesses; and (5) 
whether an attendant should be permitted to monitor more than one 
confined space at a time.
    In late 2003, OSHA completed the new draft proposed standard and 
convened a panel under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act (SBREFA) to solicit comments on it from small business 
entities. The SBREFA panel conducted two conference-call discussions, 
which were open to the public, in which the small business entities 
were invited to express their concerns about the draft proposed 
standard and submit written comments to the record that covered the 
issues. The SBREFA panel then submitted its recommendations to the 
Assistant Secretary in November 2003.
    This proposed confined-spaces standard for construction reflects 
input from stakeholder meetings, ACCSH, and the SBREFA review process. 
For example, a provision that would have addressed working in 
hazardous-enclosed spaces (spaces designed for human occupancy but 
subject to a hazardous atmosphere), which small business entities 
participating in the SBREFA review process considered burdensome and 
unnecessary, was eliminated because OSHA believes that existing 
construction standards (for example, 29 CFR 1926.55) adequately address 
these hazards. This proposed standard uses a confined-space 
classification approach that is influenced by ACCSH recommendations. 
The proposed standard is organized as chronologically as possible to 
help guide the employer, from its initial encounter with a potential 
confined space, through the steps necessary to ensure that employees 
are adequately protected. In addition, it addresses the need for 
coordination and information exchange at construction sites, which 
typically have multiple employers.

B. Need for a Rule Regulating Confined Spaces in Construction

    Fatality and injury data, OSHA enforcement experience, and advice 
from the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) 
indicate that the existing construction standard for confined and 
enclosed spaces at 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6) does not adequately protect 
construction employees in confined spaces from atmospheric, mechanical, 
and other hazards. In this regard, the existing construction standard 
only requires employers to: (1) Instruct their employees about 
confined-space hazards, and (2) comply with other OSHA construction 
standards that address confined-space hazards. For situations in which 
none of these construction standards apply, the employer would have to 
comply with the general-duty requirement of the Occupational Safety and 
Health Act of 1970 to ``furnish to each of [its] employees employment 
and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that 
are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to 
[its] employees.'' (29 U.S.C. 654.) Therefore, where the existing 
construction confined-spaces standard applies, it requires only 
training of employees who work in confined spaces--it does not address 
how trained employees are to be protected while working in such spaces.
    OSHA has preliminarily determined that employees in the 
construction industry who perform work in confined spaces face a 
significant risk of death or serious injury, and that this proposed 
rule would substantially reduce that risk. At present, approximately 
20,000 establishments have employees entering at least one confined 
space as defined by the proposed rule. There are an estimated annual 
total of 641,000

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confined spaces; about half of these confined spaces would be 
considered permit-required confined spaces under this proposal (Ex. 
OSHA-2007-0026-0003). OSHA estimates that each year there are 6.44 
fatalities and 967 injuries experienced by employees working in 
confined spaces addressed by this proposed rule. OSHA has preliminary 
determined that the proposed rule, when implemented properly by 
employers, would reduce the average number of fatalities and injuries 
in confined spaces covered by the proposed standard by about 90% (6 
fatalities prevented annually and 880 injuries prevented annually). 
(For further explanation of the significant-risk calculations, see 
section V.B. (``Summary of the Preliminary Economic Analysis and 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis'') of this notice and Ex, OSHA-
2007-0026-0003).

III. Summary and Explanation of the Proposed Standard

Section 1926.1201--Introduction

    Paragraph (a). This paragraph states the general purpose of the 
proposed rule. This standard would cover employers who have employees 
that work in or near a confined space that is subject to a hazard. 
Appropriate precautions are needed to ensure the safety of these 
employees. This proposed paragraph also defines a confined space as: a 
space that is large enough and arranged in such a manner that employees 
can enter the space, has limited or restricted means of entry/exit and 
is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
    Spaces with these characteristics are prone to containing hazards 
that tend to be unseen and unrecognized until it is too late to escape. 
Consequently, it is necessary to assess these spaces to see if there 
are actual or potential hazards beforehand, and to implement procedures 
designed both to protect construction employees from such hazards and 
to rescue them in the event the protective measures do not work as 
anticipated.
    Paragraph (b). Employers would be required to determine the 
classification of each confined space that is subject to a hazard. 
Employers must classify such spaces as one of four types specified by 
this proposed standard. The classification is based on factors such as 
the type and level of hazards present in the confined space. If the 
employer determines that a confined space in its natural state is not 
subject to a hazard, it would not be classified. (Note that in this 
proposed rule, the term ``hazard'' includes both existing hazards and 
hazards that have a reasonable probability of occurring.) The employer 
would not have to take any further action unless one of the indications 
specified in proposed Sec.  1926.1207 (Reassessment) occurred, in which 
case the employer would be required to take certain actions, including 
a reassessment of the space. The monitoring of conditions within a 
confined space is an ongoing process and is necessary for the employer 
to ensure the safety of its employees while working within that space.
    Paragraph (b)(1). This proposed paragraph lists the four 
classifications of confined spaces ((b)(1)(i) through (b)(1)(iv)).
    Paragraph (b)(1)(i). A Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined 
Space (CS-PRCS) is a confined space that is a part of, and contiguous 
with, a larger confined space (for example, sewers) that the employer 
cannot isolate from the larger confined space. It is also subject to a 
potential hazard release from the larger confined space that would 
overwhelm personal protective equipment and/or hazard controls, 
resulting in a hazard that is immediately dangerous to life and health. 
The proposed rule includes the CS-PRCS classification to ensure that 
the employer recognizes that, as the construction industry has 
recognized, there are difficulties associated with isolating the 
hazards of other larger spaces connected to the CS-PRCS. Special 
precautions are necessary, in addition to the other PRCS requirements, 
to ensure adequate protection of the employees.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(ii). A Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS) is a 
confined space that has any one of the following: A hazardous 
atmosphere that ventilation will not reduce to and maintain at a safe 
level; inwardly-converging, sloping, or tapering surfaces that could 
trap or asphyxiate an employee; or an engulfment hazard or other 
physical hazard.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(iii). A Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space 
(CACS) is a confined space where ventilation alone will control its 
atmospheric hazards at safe levels. Note also that a confined space 
cannot be classified as a CACS if it has a physical hazard (unless that 
hazard has been isolated). The proposed rule includes the CACS as a 
separate classification from the PRCS because fewer precautions are 
needed to ensure the safety of its employees than for PRCSs, but more 
precautions are needed than for an Isolated-Hazard Confined Space 
(discussed below under paragraph (b)(1)(iv)) because the atmospheric 
hazard is controlled but not eliminated. This option is provided to the 
employer to allow it to provide a level of employee protection 
specifically tailored to, and commensurate with, the hazards within the 
confined space. In a space properly classified as a CACS, OSHA believes 
that the use of the CACS measures, as compared with the PRCS measures, 
would be as protective and typically more cost effective.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(iv). An Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS) is a 
confined space in which the employer has isolated all physical and 
atmospheric hazards. ``Isolated'' means the elimination or removal of a 
physical or atmospheric hazard by preventing its release into a 
confined space. Isolation includes, but is not limited to, the 
following methods: Blanking and blinding; misaligning or removing 
sections of lines, pipes, or ducts; a double-block-and-bleed system; 
locking out or tagging out energy sources; machine guarding; and 
blocking or disconnecting all mechanical linkages. Methods must be 
implemented to ensure that the hazards remain isolated. Isolation 
methods provide the highest degree of assurance that the hazard will be 
kept away from the employees in the space, since it consists of methods 
that do not depend on the continued, proper operation of machinery 
(such as ventilation equipment) or personal protective equipment (such 
as respirators). Consequently, this classification of space presents 
the lowest hazard level to the employees, and is similar to a ``non-
permit space'' described in 29 CFR 1910.146(c)(7) of the general 
industry standard.
    Paragraph (b)(2). This proposed provision gives the employer the 
option to classify a confined space in any classification, so long as 
all of the characteristics and requirements for that classification are 
met. The Agency considered proposing that the employer be required to 
try to make the space qualify for the lowest possible classification. 
However, after considering comments from small business entities 
received through the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) review, OSHA decided to give employers more flexibility; 
employers may use any of the classifications, as long as the 
requirements for the selected classification are met. OSHA believes it 
is important to allow employers the flexibility to classify confined 
spaces based on the conditions or circumstances of individual work 
environments.
    The one exception is that a space with the characteristics of a 
Continuous

[[Page 67356]]

System-Permit-Required Confined Space cannot be given a different 
classification. Where a confined space meets the definition of a CS-
PRCS, the employer must classify the space as such and meet all of its 
requirements. To meet the definition of a CS-PRCS, the employer must 
have determined that the confined space could not be isolated from its 
connection to a larger space and its associated hazards. OSHA believes 
that since the potential hazards of the larger space will always exist, 
the additional CS-PRCS requirements must be met to address the hazards. 
Classifying the space to any lower classification would leave the 
employees exposed to an engulfment or atmospheric hazard that could 
originate in the connected, larger space (that is, the configuration of 
CS-PRCSs is such that an employer cannot safely eliminate or isolate 
the potential hazards so as to meet the criteria for a lower 
classification).
    Paragraph (c). The proposed standard specifies precautions that 
must be followed if the employees have to enter the space to determine 
its classification (see paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204). 
These precautions are necessary because the characteristics and extent 
of the hazards that may be present would not yet be known at that 
point.
    Paragraph (d). If the contractor makes a determination under 
proposed Sec.  1926.1204 (Worksite evaluation, information, exchange, 
and coordination) that the confined space is not subject to any 
hazards, the confined space would not need to be classified. However, 
if subsequent to that determination any of the indications specified in 
proposed Sec.  1926.1207 (Reassessment) were to occur, the contractor 
would be required to conduct a reassessment as specified in proposed 
Sec.  1926.1207. This is necessary to ensure that there continue to be 
no hazards present when employees are in an unclassified confined 
space.

Section 1926.1202--Scope

    The proposed standard provides minimum safety and health 
requirements and procedures to protect employees who work in or near 
confined spaces. It addresses how to protect employees from confined-
space hazards. The proposed standard includes requirements for 
training, hazard analysis, classification, entering, working, exiting, 
and rescue for confined spaces of various hazard levels.
    This proposed standard does not replace the more hazard-specific 
construction standards that are already in place. Rather, this proposed 
standard is designed to provide additional protections needed to deal 
with hazards that may arise when employees are working in or near a 
confined space.
    Paragraph (a). This paragraph identifies which employers are 
covered by the proposed standard. Employers who are engaged in 
construction work and have confined spaces at their job sites are 
subject to the provisions of the proposed standard. Further, employers 
who have confined spaces on their job site and hire subcontractors to 
operate within those spaces also would have to meet specific 
requirements in the proposed standard. The note to this paragraph 
includes a non-exclusive list of potential confined spaces that 
commonly occur on a construction worksite. This list provides examples 
for employers who may be unfamiliar with confined spaces in 
construction.
    Paragraph (b). This paragraph explicitly excludes construction work 
regulated by 29 CFR part 1926 subpart Y (Diving), non-sewer 
construction work regulated by 29 CFR part 1926 subpart P (Excavation), 
and non-sewer construction work regulated by 29 CFR part 1926 subpart S 
(Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams and Compressed Air) 
from the scope of this proposed standard. Employers operating under one 
of the three listed exemptions are not required to follow this proposed 
standard for work within a confined space. Employers who hire 
contractors to perform work covered by these three standards also are 
excluded from coverage under this proposed standard. The reason for 
these exclusions is that the Agency believes that the existing OSHA 
requirements applicable to these activities are sufficient to address 
and protect employees from the confined-space hazards in those 
situations.
    Paragraph (c). This provision would require employers, when an 
activity is covered under both the scope of this proposed standard and 
the provisions in another OSHA construction standard related to 
confined-space hazards, to comply with those provisions as well as the 
applicable provisions in this proposed standard. For example, while 
subpart D in 29 CFR part 1926 contains requirements for ventilation 
when working in potentially hazardous atmospheric conditions, it does 
not address other equipment or workplace conditions that are covered by 
this proposed standard. Also, some construction standards require the 
use of specified systems during operations in a confined space, but do 
not set criteria that those systems must meet; in these cases, the 
requirements of both the existing construction standard and this 
proposed standard would apply. For example, 29 CFR part 1926 subpart J 
(Welding) requires that the employer provide a lifeline when an 
employee is welding in a confined space entered through a manhole or 
other small opening. When working in a PRCS, 29 CFR part 1926 subpart J 
also sets criteria for the use of a lifeline system in the confined 
space, but does not set criteria for the use of rescue services or 
provide any other permit-required space procedures to protect the 
employees. Under those circumstances, the rescue service and entry 
procedures must meet the requirements of this proposed standard, while 
the lifeline system would be required to meet the criteria in 29 CFR 
part 1926 subpart J.
    Appendix A of the proposed standard contains a list of existing 
provisions found in other OSHA construction standards under 29 CFR part 
1926 that address work done in confined spaces. This list contains only 
current construction provisions, and does not preclude the inclusion of 
future confined-space provisions. The purpose of the information in 
this appendix is to help employers easily identify other requirements 
relevant to confined-space hazards that may also have to be met.
    Paragraph (d). This proposed provision clarifies that the duties of 
a controlling contractor specified in paragraph (a) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1204 are not exclusive. Proposed Sec.  1926.1204(a) delineates a 
controlling contractor's duties with respect to the exchange of 
information concerning confined spaces with subcontractors on multi-
employer worksites and does not limit or otherwise affect a controlling 
contractor's responsibilities under the OSH Act. See OSHA Directive No. 
CPL 2-00.124 (Dec. 10, 1999).

Section 1926.1203--Definitions

    This proposed section lists definitions for key words used in 
describing the requirements of this proposed standard. Most of the 
definitions were adopted from the OSHA general industry confined-spaces 
standard (29 CFR 1910.146) and from the ANSI Z117.1-2003 confined-
spaces standard. Many other terms in this proposed standard are defined 
in other OSHA construction standards, and were included in this 
proposed section to minimize the need to reference those other 
standards. While most of the proposed terms are self-explanatory or are 
consistent with those established in 29 CFR 1910.146 and ANSI 117.1-
2003, OSHA believes that it is necessary to provide an expanded 
discussion for several terms used in this proposed standard. The 
expanded discussion provides a brief

[[Page 67357]]

explanation of the defined terms, justifies any differences between the 
proposed definitions and those contained in 29 CFR 1910.146 and ANSI 
117.1-2003, and addresses comments received during the SBREFA process.
    ``Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space (CS-PRCS)'' is a 
Permit-Required Confine Space that has all of the following 
characteristics: Is part of, and contiguous with, a larger confined 
space (for example, sewers); the employer cannot isolate it from the 
larger confined space; and is subject to a potential hazard release 
from the larger confined space that would overwhelm personal protective 
equipment and/or hazard controls, resulting in a hazard that is 
immediately dangerous to life and health. This classification of space 
was mentioned in 29 CFR 1910.146(c)(5)(i), and a sample Permit-Required 
Space program for sewers was provided in Appendix C of that standard. 
OSHA believes it is important to define this classification of confined 
space in a way that emphasizes that it is subject to a potential hazard 
release, such as an engulfment hazard, that the employer will not be 
able to control.
    ``Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space (CACS)'' is a confined space 
that has all of the following characteristics: Contains no physical 
hazards or only isolated physical hazards; and uses ventilation alone 
to control atmospheric hazards at safe levels. This term was added to 
designate a distinct type of confined space in which only one type of 
hazard (atmospheric) is present that requires a specific type of 
employee protection--active control of the atmospheric hazard at safe 
levels by ventilation equipment. OSHA believes that the space described 
by this definition is similar to the space defined by the alternate 
procedures specified by paragraph (c)(5) of the general industry 
standard for confined spaces. Both of these spaces involve conditions 
in which atmospheric hazards are merely controlled by ventilation 
instead of eliminated completely. Therefore, if the ventilation system 
stops or malfunctions, the atmospheric hazards could reemerge in the 
space. Unlike the general industry standard, the proposed standard for 
construction assigns a name to the space. OSHA believes that naming the 
space a Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space will effectively alert 
employees, especially employees who have little or no experience with 
these spaces, to the possibility that atmospheric hazards could 
reemerge in the space if the ventilation system stops or malfunctions.
    ``Controlling contractor'' is the employer that has overall 
responsibility for construction at the worksite. In addition, the note 
to this definition explains that if a host employer has overall 
responsibility for construction at the worksite, then it is both a host 
employer and controlling contractor. It is a common practice in the 
construction industry for there to be a number of contractors working 
at a construction site at the same time. Also, there often is one 
contractor that has overall authority of the construction site, 
including the authority to change worksite conditions and alter work 
practices with regard to safety. Under this proposed standard, there 
are specific duties that would apply to the controlling contractor, as 
distinguished from the host employer and the contractor. Consequently, 
there is a need to define the term ``controlling contractor.''
    For the purposes of this preamble, the term ``employer'' refers to 
an employer whose employees are exposed to confined-space hazards. 
Employers whose own employees are exposed to a hazard addressed by this 
proposed standard would be required to comply with the provisions that 
identify an obligation on ``the employer.'' In addition, other 
employers may also have responsibilities with respect to such 
provisions through operation of OSHA's multi-employer doctrine.
    When a proposed provision designates the ``host employer'' as the 
entity responsible for the requirement, only an employer that meets the 
proposed definition of a ``host employer'' would be responsible for 
that requirement. Similarly, when a proposed provision designates the 
``controlling contractor'' or the ``contractor'' as the entity 
responsible, only an employer meeting the proposed definitions of 
``controlling contractor'' or ``contractor'' would be responsible for 
compliance with the provision. Note that an employer who fits the 
definition for more than one of these roles would be required to comply 
with the obligations that pertain to each role. The Agency requests 
public comment on whether this explanation is clear.
    ``Early-warning system'' is the method used to alert attendants 
monitoring a CS-PRCS and authorized entrants in a CS-PRCS that an 
engulfment hazard may be developing. Examples of early-warning systems 
include, but are not limited to: alarms activated by remote sensors; 
and lookouts with equipment for immediately communicating with the 
authorized entrants and attendants. The Agency believes these systems 
will protect employees from non-isolated engulfment hazards by 
providing an effective means of warning attendants and authorized 
entrants that an engulfment hazard may be developing ``upstream'' of 
the work area, thereby permitting sufficient time for the authorized 
entrants to safely exit the CS-PRCS. As illustrated by the non-
exclusive list of examples of early-warning systems within this 
definition, employers would have flexibility as to what type of early-
warning system to use for continuously monitoring such engulfment 
hazards. However, as stated in paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(2) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1215, whatever warning system is selected must alert 
authorized entrants and attendants in sufficient time for the 
authorized entrants to safely exit the CS-PRCS.
    ``Hazardous atmosphere'' means an existing or potential atmosphere 
consisting of at least one of the following: A flammable gas, vapor, or 
mist in excess of 10 percent of its lower flammable limit; an airborne 
combustible dust at a concentration that meets or exceeds its lower 
explosive limit; an atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5 percent 
(``oxygen deficient'') or above 23.5 percent (``oxygen enriched''); an 
airborne concentration of a substance that exceeds the dose or exposure 
limit specified by an OSHA requirement; and an atmosphere that presents 
an immediate danger to life or health. These levels duplicate those in 
the definition of ``hazardous atmosphere'' in the general industry 
confined-spaces standard. The definition clarifies that the concept of 
a hazardous atmosphere includes one that has a potential for becoming 
hazardous, since it is necessary to anticipate the potential occurrence 
of such hazards to effectively protect employees working in a confined 
space.
    ``Host employer'' owns or manages the property on which 
construction is taking place. As explained in the definition of 
``controlling contractor,'' this definition was added to clarify the 
distinction between a ``host employer,'' a ``contractor,'' and a 
``controlling contractor'' as each of these entities would have 
specific obligations under this proposed standard. (See, also, the 
discussion under ``controlling contractor'' above.)
    ``Inspection information'' means information obtained about a space 
from blueprints, schematics, and/or similar documents, documents 
regarding previous confined-space entries, or physical inspection/
testing. This definition was added in response to SBREFA comments to 
clarify the types of documents and information that

[[Page 67358]]

would be considered relevant to making the hazard assessments required 
by this proposed standard without entering the space.
    ``Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS)'' is a confined space in 
which the employer has isolated all physical and atmospheric hazards. 
This classification differs from a ``non-permit space'' in the general 
industry standard that, by definition, does not include confined spaces 
that have the potential to contain atmospheric hazards capable of 
causing death or serious physical harm. The proposed classification of 
IHCS includes confined spaces where that potential continues to exist. 
In an IHCS, the potential exists because the atmospheric hazard is only 
``isolated,'' which means that its release is only being prevented. The 
use of the term ``isolated'' in this context is consistent with the 
definition of ``isolation'' in the current American National Standard 
Institute (ANSI)/American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) standard 
titled ``Safety requirements for Confined Spaces,'' ANSI/ASSE Z117.1-
2003. This ANSI/ASSE standard describes the isolation process in part 
as follows:

    Methods and means shall be selected and used to prevent 
flammable, toxic, irritating, or oxygen displacing gases and vapors 
from entering the space. All hazardous material, high pressure, high 
temperature and other piping that could reasonably be expected to 
introduce a hazard shall be isolated by utilizing blinding, 
disconnection, removal, or double block and bleed as needed to 
prevent entry of material(s) and hazardous contaminant(s).

    ``Limited or restricted means for entry and exit'' refers to a 
condition that has a potential to impede an employee's movement into or 
out of a space. Such conditions include, but are not limited to poor 
illumination, slippery floors, inclining surfaces and ladders. This 
phrase is used to describe one of the physical characteristics of a 
confined space and was defined to give the phrase greater clarity.
    ``Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS)'' is a confined space that 
has any one of the following characteristics: A hazardous atmosphere; 
an inwardly converging, sloping, or tapering surfaces that could trap 
or asphyxiate an employee (for example, a space between walls that 
narrows towards the base, including, but not limited to, funnels and 
hoppers); or an engulfment hazard or other physical hazard. This 
definition is similar to the definition in the general industry 
standard, but includes more examples of dangerous configurations of 
confined spaces.
    ``Physical hazard'' means an existing hazard that can cause death 
or serious physical harm in or near a confined space, or a hazard that 
has a reasonable probability of occurring in or near a confined space, 
and that includes, but is not limited to: Explosives (as defined by 
paragraph (n) of 29 CFR 1926.914 (definition of ``explosive'')); 
mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic energy; radiation; 
temperature extremes; engulfment; noise; and inwardly converging 
surfaces. ``Physical hazard'' also refers to chemicals that can cause 
death or serious physical harm through skin or eye contact (rather than 
through inhalation). This definition was added to help employers better 
understand the characteristics of this type of hazard.
    ``Planned conditions'' are the conditions under which authorized 
entrants can work safely in a PRCS or CS-PRCS, including both hazard 
levels and methods of employee protection. The Agency considered using 
``acceptable entry conditions,'' the term used in the general industry 
standard, for this concept. However, OSHA is concerned that employers 
and employees, especially those who are not often engaged in 
construction work in confined spaces, may think ``acceptable'' means 
that conditions are safe for entry without the use of personal 
protective equipment or other protective measures. OSHA believes that 
the term ``planned conditions'' more accurately expresses the concept 
that a variety of actions may be needed, including the use of 
protective measures, for employees to be able to work safely in the 
confined space.
    ``Serious physical harm'' means an impairment in which a body part 
is made functionally useless or is substantially reduced in efficiency. 
Such impairment may include loss of consciousness or disorientation, 
and may be permanent or temporary, or chronic or acute. Injuries 
involving such impairment would usually require treatment by a 
physician or other licensed health-care professional while an illness 
resulting in serious physical harm could shorten life or substantially 
reduce physical or mental efficiency by impairing a normal bodily 
function or body part. OSHA adapted this definition of ``serious 
physical harm'' from its Field Inspection Reference Manual, chapter 
III, section C.2.b(2)(c).
    ``Simulated Permit-Required Confined Space'' is a confined space or 
a mock-up of a confined space that has all of the following 
characteristics: Similar entrance openings, and is similar in size, 
configuration, and accessibility, to the PRCS the authorized entrants 
enter but does not need to contain any physical or atmospheric hazards. 
This definition was included to emphasize that the Simulated PRCSs do 
not have to contain actual physical or atmospheric hazards to qualify 
for the training required by this proposed standard. OSHA proposes this 
clarification to prevent injuries and deaths from occurring during 
rescue training.

Section 1926.1204--Worksite Evaluation, Information Exchange, and 
Coordination

    Paragraph (a). This paragraph sets forth requirements for 
exchanging information relevant to construction operations in confined 
spaces. Controlling contractors and host employers would have to share 
four pieces of information (listed below) before any employee enters 
the confined space. This information addresses such issues as: location 
of confined spaces, hazardous conditions affecting confined spaces, 
precautions taken to address those hazards, and classifications of the 
confined spaces. OSHA notes, however, that the proposed standard only 
places a duty on controlling contractors and host employers to provide 
any information they already have about the confined spaces specific to 
their worksite. The Agency makes clear in this proposed paragraph that 
``[n]either the controlling contractor nor the host employer is 
required to obtain the information listed * * *''; their only 
obligation is to provide their contractors with information they 
already have about a confined space. OSHA also states in a note to this 
proposed paragraph that controlling contractors or host employers are 
not required to enter a confined space to collect the relevant 
information.
    On most construction worksites, there are a number of contractors 
and subcontractors performing jobs. In the case of confined spaces, 
sometimes employees of different employers will be performing work 
within the same confined space. In many instances, employees of a 
subcontractor will enter a confined space after another subcontractor's 
employees have completed work within the space. On multi-employer 
worksites, an employer's actions can affect the health and safety of 
another employer's employees. It is critical for the safety of all 
employees on a worksite that contractors and subcontractors communicate 
with each other. Requiring communication between employers is an 
efficient way to ensure that each employer learns important information 
about the confined space hazards present so that all employees are 
adequately protected. OSHA is proposing these information-sharing

[[Page 67359]]

requirements in proposed Sec.  1926.1204 so that construction worksites 
with confined spaces remain safe places of employment for all 
employees.
    The Agency has clear authority to include these multi-employer 
provisions in the standard. First, the plain language of the OSH Act 
and its underlying purpose support OSHA's authority to place 
requirements on employers that are necessary to protect the employees 
of others. Second, congressional action subsequent to passage of the 
OSH Act recognizes this authority. Third, OSHA has consistently 
interpreted its statutory authority as permitting it to impose 
obligations on employers that extend beyond their own employees, as 
evidenced by the numerous standards, including several construction 
standards, that OSHA has promulgated with multi-employer provisions. 
Finally, OSHA's authority to place obligations on employers that reach 
beyond an employer's own employees has been upheld by numerous courts 
of appeals and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission 
(OSHRC).
    The purpose of the Act is to assure so far as possible safe and 
healthful working conditions for every working man and women in the 
nation. 29 U.S.C. 651(b). To achieve this goal, Congress authorized the 
Secretary to establish mandatory occupational safety and health 
standards. The Act broadly defines an OSHA standard as a rule that 
``requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, 
means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or 
appropriate to provide safe or healthful employments and places of 
employment.'' 29 U.S.C. 652(8). See Building and Constr. Trades Div., 
AFL-CIO v. Brock, 838 F.2d 1258, 1278 (DC Cir. 1988). OSHA standards 
must prescribe measures that are appropriate to protect ``places of 
employment''; nothing in the statutory language suggests that OSHA may 
do so only by regulating an employer's interaction with its own 
employees. On the contrary, the Act's broad language gives OSHA almost 
``unlimited discretion'' to devise means to reach the statutory goal. 
See United Steelworkers v. Marshall, 647 F.2d 1189, 1230 (DC Cir. 
1980), cert. denied, 453 U.S. 913 (1981).
    Similarly, Section 5(a)(2) provides that each employer ``shall 
comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under 
this Act.''\2\ Nothing in this language suggests that compliance is 
required only when necessary to protect the employers' own employees, 
or that the employer is entitled to endanger other employers' employees 
at the worksite. Finally, Section 6(b)(7) of the Act authorizes the 
Secretary to ``prescribe the use of labels or other appropriate forms 
of warning as are necessary to insure that employees are apprised of 
all hazards to which they are exposed.'' 29 U.S.C. 655(b)(7) (emphasis 
added). Again, this authority is not limited to labels that would warn 
the employer's own employees of the hazard. Given the distribution of 
potentially hazardous products in commerce, employees are predictably 
exposed to hazardous conditions created by other employers. Requiring 
employers to include hazard information needed by downstream employees 
is a necessary and appropriate means to ensure that the employees are 
apprised of all hazards to which they are exposed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ This language is in marked contrast to the language of 
Section 5(a)(1) of the Act (known as the ``general duty clause''), 
which requires each employer to ``furnish to each of his employees 
employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized 
hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious 
physical harm to his employees.'' 29 U.S.C. 654(a)(1) (emphases 
added). See Brennan v. OSHRC, 513 F.2d 1032, 1037-38 (2nd. Cir. 
1975).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In short, the statute focuses on workplace conditions to effectuate 
the OSH Act's congressional mandate, and not on a particular employment 
relationship. The OSH Act's underlying purpose is broad--to assure safe 
and healthful working conditions for working men and women--and 
Congress made clear that it expected the Act to protect all employees. 
(H. Rep. No. 91-1291, 91st Cong., 2d Sess., p. 14-16 (July 9, 1970)). 
Numerous references in the legislative history of the Act require 
employers to provide a safe and healthful ``place of employment'' (see, 
e.g., S. Rep. No. 91-1282, 91st Cong., 2d Sess., p. 10 (October 6, 
1970)). The OSH Act tasks OSHA with promulgating rules that will create 
safe places of employment, notwithstanding the many varied employment 
relationships that might exist at a worksite.
    Subsequent congressional action has also recognized OSHA's 
authority to impose responsibilities on employers to protect employees 
who are not their own. For example, Congress directed OSHA to develop a 
chemical process safety standard (the PSM standard) requiring employers 
to ``ensure contractors and contract employees are provided appropriate 
information and training'' and to ``train and educate employees and 
contractors in emergency response.'' (29 U.S.C. note) (quoting Pub.L. 
101-549, Title III, Section 304, November 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2576). 
This is a clear ratification of the Agency's authority to require 
employers to protect the employees of others. Congress also approved of 
the Agency's authority when it relied on the provisions of OSHA's 
Hazard Communication standard in promulgating the Emergency Planning 
and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. 11001-11050) (EPCRA). OSHA's 
Hazard Communication standard, among other things, requires a 
manufacturer of a hazardous chemical to ``inform not only its own 
employees of the dangers posed by the chemicals, but downstream 
employers and employees as well.'' Martin v. American Cyanamid Co., 5 
F.3d 140, 141 (6th Cir. 1993). Congress incorporated provisions of the 
Hazard Communication standard in EPCRA as a basis for triggering 
obligations on owners or operators of facilities producing hazardous 
chemicals to provide local governments with information needed for 
emergency response. Had Congress not approved of the multi-employer 
provisions in the Hazard Communication standard, it would not have 
approved of it as a basis for obligations in the EPCRA.
    Furthermore, OSHA has consistently interpreted the OSH Act as 
authorizing it to impose multi-employer obligations in its standards. 
In addition to the Hazard Communication standard and PSM standard 
discussed above, OSHA included multi-employer provisions in its powered 
platforms standard, which requires that a building owner inform 
employers that the building installation has been inspected and is safe 
to use. 29 CFR 1910.66(c)(3). OSHA has also imposed multi-employer 
obligations in other construction standards. For example, in the 
construction asbestos standard, OSHA requires building owners/employers 
to perform initial monitoring for asbestos and to communicate the 
presence of asbestos or presumed asbestos containing materials to 
prospective employers whose employees reasonably can be expected to 
work in exposed areas. 29 CFR 1101(k)(2). In the recently promulgated 
steel-erection standard, OSHA imposed duties on controlling contractors 
to ensure that site conditions are safe for steel erection. 29 CFR 
1926.752(c). OSHA just recently proposed in updates to its electric-
power transmission and distribution construction standard similar 
multi-employer communication provisions. See 70 FR 34947-48. OSHA's 
inclusion of multi-employer provisions in this proposed rule is fully 
consistent with its past practice of ensuring the safety and

[[Page 67360]]

health of all employees at construction worksites.
    Finally, OSHA's authority to impose these provisions is confirmed 
by the decisions of numerous courts of appeals and the Occupational 
Safety and Health Review Commission holding that an employer's duties 
and OSHA standards may extend beyond an employer's own employees. See 
Universal Constr. Co. v. OSHRC, 182 F.3d 726, 728 (10th Cir. 1999) 
(following decisions from Second, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth 
Circuits); Access Equip. Sys., 18 BNA OSHC 1718, 1722-24 (No. 95-1449, 
1999). But see Melerine v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 659 F.2d 706 (5th 
Cir. 1981). The DC Circuit suggested in Anthony Crane Rental, Inc. v. 
Reich, 70 F.3d 1298, 1306 (DC Cir. 1995), however, that 29 CFR 
1910.12(a)--a rule promulgated by OSHA to adopt Construction Safety Act 
(CSA) standards as OSHA standards--might limit an employer's 
obligations under the construction standards in part 1926 to its own 
employees. The court did not reach the issue, noting that the parties 
had not briefed it. The proposed confined-spaces in construction 
standard will be included in part 1926 Sec.  1910.12(a) is consistent 
with the promulgation of requirements that place obligations on 
employers necessary to protect the employees of others. The provision 
states:

    The standards prescribed in part 1926 of this chapter are 
adopted as occupational safety and health standards under section 6 
of the Act and shall apply, according to the provisions thereof, to 
every employment and place of employment of every employee engaged 
in construction work. Each employer shall protect the employment and 
places of employment of each of his employees engaged in 
construction work by complying with the appropriate standards 
prescribed in this paragraph.

    The language of the provision supports OSHA's interpretation that 
an employer's responsibilities can extend beyond the employer's 
employees. The first sentence makes the construction standards 
applicable to every employment and to every ``place of employment'' of 
every construction employee. This is broad language that does not limit 
an employer's obligations to its own employees. The second sentence, by 
providing that each employer must protect the employment and the places 
of employment of each of his employees, does not limit an employer's 
obligations to only protecting his or her employees and does not negate 
the broad reach of the first sentence. The two sentences, read 
together, require employers to comply with standards at all sites where 
they are working in order to protect employees who are predictably 
present at those sites.
    The sole purpose of the provision was to ``adopt and extend'' 
existing Construction Safety Act (CSA) standards applicable under the 
OSH Act. 29 CFR 1910.11. Under the CSA, standards applied only to 
employers with Federally funded contracts, and only with respect to 
employees engaged on those Federal projects. See 29 CFR part 1926 
Subpart B; CH2M Hill, Inc. v. Herman, 192 F.3d 711, 718 n.1 (7th Cir. 
1999). The function of 29 CFR 1910.12(a) was to adopt the CSA standards 
as OSHA standards and in so doing to make it clear that neither of 
those limitations would apply. Thus, OSHA stressed that compliance 
would broadly extend to each construction employer (not just those with 
Federal contracts) and to every construction employee (not just those 
working on Federal projects). In no way did OSHA intend for the 
language of 29 CFR 1910.12(a) to restrict its authority to promulgate 
construction standards that establish obligations extending beyond an 
employer's own employees.
    Other factors confirm that OSHA had no intention in Sec.  
1910.12(a) to bar multi-employer responsibilities under the 
construction standards. OSHA issued the regulation without notice and 
comment under Section 6(a) of the Act. That section provided authority 
only to adopt established federal standards, such as the CSA standards, 
without making any substantive changes. Usery v. Kennecott Copper 
Corp., 577 F.2d 1113 (10th Cir. 1977). The CSA regulations did not 
limit multi-employer responsibilities; the regulations expressly 
provided for them. 29 CFR 1926.16. OSHA could not have intended to 
limit statutory obligations in an action under Section 6(a).
    Moreover, concurrently with issuance of Sec.  1910.12(a), OSHA 
issued its initial Field Operations Manual, which expressly directed 
issuance of citations to construction employers who created a hazard 
endangering their own employees or those of another employer. The 
Agency has also consistently promulgated rules in 29 CFR part 1926 that 
expressly extend employers' obligations beyond their own employees. The 
requirements in proposed Sec.  1926.1204 reflect this consistent 
interpretation and will ensure that all employees on construction 
worksites are protected from the hazards of confined spaces.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission's recent 
decision in Secretary of Labor v. Summit Contractors (OSHRC Docket No. 
03-1622 (April 27, 2007), has no application to this proposed rule. In 
Summit, a divided Review Commission vacated citations issued to a 
controlling employer for violations of a construction standard. The two 
Commissioners who joined in this result issued separate opinions; each 
read Sec.  1910.12(a) as establishing a limitation on the Agency's 
authority to hold controlling employers accountable for violations. 
OSHA believes this view is mistaken, and has appealed the OSHRC 
decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals (8th Cir. No. 07-2191).
    Moreover, Summit has no bearing on the duties established under the 
proposed rule. The Summit opinions interpreted OSHA's intent under then 
existing rules. They did not question OSHA's authority under the Act to 
establish multi-employer obligations through rulemaking. OSHA is 
exercising its authority under Section 6(b) to issue this proposed 
rule, and nothing in Sec.  1910.12(a) limits an employer's compliance 
obligations under the rule.
    Paragraph (a)(1). The host employer and/or controlling contractor 
would be required to provide information to contractors that it has 
about the location of each space that it actually knows is a confined 
space at the worksite. If the host employer or controlling contractor 
does not have this information, it is not required by this proposed 
provision to obtain it. For example, if the locations of confined 
spaces were obtained by the host employer or controlling contractor 
while its own employees had worked in or near the spaces, or if it 
obtained the location of a confined space from other contractors who 
worked in or near the spaces, that information must be shared with the 
next employer it contracts to work in or near those confined spaces.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i). For each confined space identified in 
paragraph (a)(1) above, the host employer and controlling contractor 
would be required to inform the contractor of any hazards in or near 
the space that the host employer or controlling contractor knows about. 
These may be known atmospheric or physical hazards. Examples of these 
include, but are not limited to: atmospheric contaminants; the presence 
of energized electrical conduits; construction operations performed 
near the confined space that may result in a ruptured sewer line; or 
the existence of construction work that may cause the confined space to 
collapse. If the host employer or controlling contractor does not have 
this information, it is not required by this proposed provision to 
obtain it.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii). The host employer and/or controlling 
contractor

[[Page 67361]]

would be required to provide information that it has to the contractor 
about the classifications of previously classified confined spaces on 
the worksite. For example, if the host employer or controlling 
contractor knows that an employer had previously classified an 
electrical vault as an Isolated-Hazard Controlled Space (IHCS), the 
controlling contractor would have to provide that information to the 
next employer that it contracts to do work in or near that space. 
However, if the host employer or controlling contractor does not have 
this information, it is not required by this proposed provision to 
obtain it.
    During the SBREFA process, some small-business representatives 
expressed the concern that, as a result of having this provision in the 
draft proposed standard, some controlling contractors would require the 
contractor to classify all confined spaces as PRCSs, including those 
that could be classified as IHCSs or CACSs. This proposed provision 
would not require the contractor to base its classification 
determination solely on a previous classification that it learned of 
from a host employer or controlling contractor. The contractor is 
responsible, under other sections of the proposed standard, for 
properly classifying the space; the information provided to the 
contractor under this proposed paragraph may assist the contractor in 
making the classification. However, this proposed standard would not 
preclude a controlling contractor from requiring a contractor, for 
example, to apply a higher level classification to confined spaces than 
the level required under the proposed standard.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(iii). The host employer and controlling contractor 
would be required to share with all contractors who work inside a 
confined space the precautions and procedures, if any, it previously 
implemented to enter that confined space. However, this proposed 
provision does not require the host employer or controlling contractor 
to develop entry programs for its contractors. Also, it is not 
mandatory for a host employer or controlling contractor to provide 
previously implemented confined-space entry procedures that are not 
applicable to the space(s) the contractor must enter (that is, entry 
procedures used for a different space.)
    Paragraph (b). The contractor would be required to first determine 
what spaces are confined spaces and, if so, whether they are subject to 
any hazards. Provisions (b)(1) through (b)(4) of this proposed section 
spell out the procedures for making these assessments. The Agency 
believes that these procedures are necessary to ensure that the spaces 
are correctly assessed and to ensure that the employees are protected 
while conducting the assessments.
    Paragraph (b)(1). The contractor would be required to consider 
information provided by the host employer and controlling contractor 
(if any), and the contractor's own inspection information (see 
following paragraph), to determine if the space is a confined space 
and, if so, if there are any physical or atmospheric hazards. OSHA 
believes that information obtained from the host employer or 
controlling contractor would be useful to contractors because it often 
would be based on work previously done safely within the affected 
space. Except as noted in paragraph (b)(2) of this proposed section, 
this initial evaluation must be done without entry into the space by 
the contractor or their employees.
    Paragraph (b)(2). In some cases it may not be feasible to make the 
required determinations about the space and hazards without entering 
the space. When the contractor can demonstrate that obtaining the 
information without entering the space is infeasible, employees may 
enter, but only to inspect for that information. In doing so, an 
employer must ensure that any employee entering the unclassified space 
meets the requirements of proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 
1926.1214 for Permit-Required Confined Spaces and, if applicable, 
proposed Sec.  1926.1215 for Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined 
Spaces.
    Entry into the space before identifying its hazards is potentially 
dangerous; therefore, OSHA believes it is reasonable to require 
contractors to be able to demonstrate that a proper assessment of the 
space without entry is infeasible before employees are allowed to 
enter. This proposal calls for contractors to follow the entry 
requirements of a PRCS (or, where applicable, a CS-PRCS) in these 
situations because, with the hazards as yet undetermined, taking these 
precautions will ensure the safety of the employees.
    Paragraph (b)(3). The contractor would have to determine if there 
are any atmospheric hazards in the confined space. It would be required 
to comply with proposed Sec.  1926.1205 (Atmospheric testing and 
monitoring) below to properly perform atmospheric testing and 
monitoring. In following proposed Sec.  1926.1205, all testing of the 
internal atmosphere of the confined space must be done without use of 
mechanical ventilation or changes to the space's natural ventilation. 
This is to ensure that the natural atmospheric conditions within the 
space are assessed for hazards that may affect those employees working 
in the space.
    Paragraph (b)(4). Contractors would be required to meet applicable 
OSHA requirements, including training requirements, for the use of 
personal and other protective equipment required by paragraph (c)(2) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1213. The training would ensure, as applicable, 
that the employees have the understanding, knowledge, and skills 
necessary to use the personal and other protective equipment 
effectively.
    Paragraph (c). This proposed paragraph sets forth the information-
exchange requirements for contractors who classify a space as a PRCS, 
CS-PRCS, CACS, or IHCS.
    Paragraph (c)(1). Contractors would have to inform the host and 
controlling contractor of the procedures the contractors will follow 
for entry into the space. This proposed requirement will enable the 
host employer and controlling contractor to provide this information to 
other contractors who enter the space. Such information would help 
other contractors in planning their safe entry procedures.
    Paragraph (c)(2). When contractors classify a space as a PRCS, CS-
PRCS, CACS, or IHCS, they would be required, at the conclusion of entry 
operations, to inform the host employer and controlling contractor 
employer about any hazards that were present or that developed during 
the entry operations. This information would be useful to other 
employers that the host employer and controlling contractor contracts 
to do work within the space since it would be relevant to their hazard 
assessments of the space. OSHA believes that the host employer and 
controlling contractor are in the best position to disseminate this 
information to other affected employers on the site.
    Paragraph (d). The controlling contractor would be required to 
coordinate confined-space entry operations when multiple contractors 
will have employees working within the confined space at the same time. 
The Agency believes that the controlling contractor is in the best 
position to ensure adequate coordination between contractors whose work 
(and associated hazards) may affect one another. Note that this 
proposed paragraph does not specify any particular process by which the 
controlling contractor would coordinate entry operations. The purpose 
of this proposed provision is to ensure that employees are protected 
from hazards that could result from a

[[Page 67362]]

lack of coordination between contractors in the space. This paragraph 
works in concert with the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this 
proposed section, which specifies that contractors must inform the 
controlling contractor and host employer of their precautions and entry 
procedures. The controlling contractor can use this information to 
coordinate the entry operations performed by multiple contractors in or 
near a confined space to ensure the safety of employees.
    Paragraph (e). This proposed paragraph addresses employee 
participation and notification, and would require the employer to 
provide its employees who enter a confined space, and their authorized 
representatives, an opportunity to observe evaluations of the confined 
space performed under paragraph (b) of this proposed section, 
reassessments conducted under proposed Sec.  1926.1207 (Reassessment), 
and any atmospheric testing and monitoring required by this proposed 
standard. This proposed paragraph does not require employees and their 
authorized representatives to observe the specified activities; 
however, it provides employees and their authorized representatives 
with the option of observing should they choose to do so. OSHA believes 
that allowing employees and their authorized representatives to 
participate in this manner will contribute to the successful 
implementation of safe entry operations by enhancing their awareness of 
the hazards present in the confined space.

Section 1926.1205--Atmospheric Testing and Monitoring

    This proposed section prescribes minimum procedures for atmospheric 
testing and monitoring that employers would be required to perform to 
adequately assess the atmospheric conditions which exist within a 
confined space. Information of this type is vital to the identification 
of atmospheric hazards within the space, and is also needed to make 
accurate determinations for later classification of the space. 
Maintaining safe atmospheric conditions is essential to the safety of 
all employees working in the space.
    Paragraph (a). Employers would be required to test or monitor a 
confined space for certain atmospheric hazards in a specific order 
(oxygen deficiency, combustible gases and vapors, and toxic gases and 
vapors) unless they test or monitor these hazards simultaneously, and 
for other atmospheric hazards specified in applicable OSHA requirements 
(such as those in other OSHA standards). Employers must test or monitor 
for oxygen deficiency, combustible gases and vapors, and toxic gases 
and vapors because these are well-recognized atmospheric hazards in 
confined spaces (see discussion of atmospheric hazards in the general 
industry final rule for confined spaces at 58 FR 4465). Employers must 
continue to test or monitor the confined-space atmosphere while 
employees are operating in the space.
    The Agency adopted the requirement to test or monitor for oxygen 
deficiency, combustible gases and vapors, and toxic gases and vapors in 
this specific order (unless employers test or monitor these atmospheric 
hazards simultaneously) from the general industry and the ANSI Z117.1-
2003 confined-spaces standards. The preamble to the final general 
industry confined-spaces standard noted that this procedure represents 
generally accepted safe work practices, and explained the specified 
order as follows:

    A test for oxygen must be performed first because most 
combustible gas meters are oxygen dependent and will not provide 
reliable readings in an oxygen deficient atmosphere. In fact, the 
Johnson Wax Company (Ex. 14-222) stated that ``there is [a] specific 
(sensor dependent) oxygen level below which the combustible gas 
sensor will not respond at all [emphasis was supplied in 
original].'' Combustible gases are tested for next because the 
threat of fire or explosion is both more immediate and more life 
threatening, in most cases, than exposure to toxic gases.

(58 FR 4499.) OSHA remains convinced that the priority assigned to 
testing or monitoring atmospheric hazards by this proposed provision 
remains valid, and is critical to the health and safety of employees 
involved in confined-space operations.
    Monitoring must be done periodically and as necessary unless other 
provisions of this proposed standard or other OSHA requirements specify 
differently. ``As necessary'' refers to the monitoring reasonably 
required to detect atmospheric hazards. Some factors that may affect 
frequency are: results of tests allowing entry; regularity of entry 
(daily, weekly, or monthly); effectiveness of previous monitoring 
activity; and knowledge of the hazards that affect the confined space. 
Monitoring must be of a frequency and performed in a manner sufficient 
to protect employees operating in confined spaces from atmospheric 
hazards.
    Paragraph (b). Employers would have to provide medical facilities 
that treat employees exposed to certain atmospheric hazards (those 
hazards that could cause an immediate threat to life and health) with 
information the employer is required to keep under proposed Sec.  
1926.1219 (Records) regarding such hazards; if the exposure involves a 
chemical hazard described by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that 
the employer must maintain at the job site under 29 CFR 1910.1200 
(Hazard Communications), the employer must ensure that the medical 
facility receives the MSDS as well. The information must be provided to 
the treating medical facilities as soon as is practical after the 
exposure. Employers can comply with this proposed provision by having 
that information accompany the employee to the medical facility or by 
providing it to the facility as soon as practicable after the 
employee's arrival there.
    The Agency recognizes that such information may already be 
available to medical facilities from other sources (such as state 
emergency-planning commissions), and that MSDSs or similar written 
information may not be available in some instances. However, OSHA 
believes that it would be reasonable and prudent to require employers 
to provide MSDSs or other written information to a treating medical 
facility when such MSDSs or other similar written information already 
is required to be kept at the worksite; for example, as noted earlier, 
the Agency's Hazard Communication standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200 may 
require construction employers to keep MSDSs at the job site. Such 
information may significantly help the medical facility correctly 
diagnose and treat the employee.

Section 1926.1206--Classification and Precautions

    This proposed section would require an employer to use the 
information about the space that it obtained under proposed Sec.  
1926.1204 (Worksite evaluation, information exchange, and coordination) 
and classify the confined space(s) in which their employees will be 
working. The employer must then follow the precautions and safety 
procedures listed in the applicable section. The classifications are: 
Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space (CS-PRCS); Permit-
Required Confined Space (PRCS); Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space 
(CACS); and Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS).
    Paragraph (a). This proposed paragraph lists the elements of a 
Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space (CS-PRCS). A 
``confined space,'' as defined in proposed Sec.  1926.1203 (Definitions 
applicable to this subpart), would be classified as a CS-PRCS if it has 
all the

[[Page 67363]]

elements listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3) of this proposed 
section. Such spaces would be protected in accordance with the safety 
provisions and procedures specified by proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 
through 1926.1215. The Agency believes that employees in this type of 
space are vulnerable to hazards that can migrate from a larger, 
contiguous confined space and overwhelm personal protective equipment 
and/or hazard controls, resulting in a hazard that is immediately 
dangerous to life and health. For example, employees in one part of a 
sewer system could be drowned by an unexpected flow of water from 
upstream in the system. Therefore, a means of warning the employees 
needs to be in place to protect them.
    Paragraph (a)(1). The first element of a CS-PRCS is that the 
confined space is part of, and contiguous with (connects or contacts), 
a larger confined space--irrespective of whether the larger space is a 
CS-PRCS, an Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS), a Controlled-
Atmosphere Confined Space (CACS), or a Permit-Required Confined Space 
(PRCS). The space to be classified must be contiguous with part of the 
larger system. For example, if an employer were to perform work in a 
section of a sewer system, that section would be considered part of and 
contiguous with a larger space (the entire sewer). As such, it would 
meet this element.
    Paragraph (a)(2). The second element of a CS-PRCS is that the space 
is not isolated from the larger confined space. In the context of this 
proposed paragraph, the term ``isolated'' means completely sealed off 
from the larger space such that passage of the hazards from the larger 
space is impossible.
    Paragraph (a)(3). The third element of a CS-PRCS is that the space 
is subject to a potential hazard release from the larger confined space 
that would overwhelm personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or hazard 
controls used in the space. In this context, ``overwhelm'' means that 
the PPE and/or hazard controls would not be able to cope with the 
hazard and would not protect employees, posing an immediate danger to 
the life and health of any employee working in the space. An example 
would be where employees are in a confined space that is contiguous 
with a sewer and the water level in the space is being maintained at a 
safe level with pumping equipment. However, the pumping equipment could 
not maintain that safe level if there were a surge of storm water from 
the sewer.
    Paragraph (b). For confined spaces other than CS-PRCSs, the 
employer would have the flexibility to use a PRCS, CACS or IHCS 
classification, as long as the applicable classification requirements 
are met. The elements of each classification are in proposed Sec. Sec.  
1926.1208 (PRCS), 1926.1216 (CACS), and 1926.1217 (IHCS). OSHA had 
planned on proposing that the employer be required to classify the 
space to the ``lowest'' classification possible (that is, as an IHCS 
or, if that was not possible, then as a CACS, and if that was not 
possible, then as a PRCS). However, one of the recommendations that 
resulted from the SBREFA review process was that OSHA should consider 
allowing employers greater flexibility in this regard. The Agency has 
decided that allowing flexibility in choosing the classification will 
increase compliance with the standard, and has, therefore, allowed for 
flexibility in this proposed provision.
    Paragraph (c). The employer would be required to meet the accident-
prevention and -protection requirements applicable to the confined 
space as classified. The employer would have to meet those requirements 
before any employee enters the space. The accident-prevention and -
protection requirements for each classification are in proposed 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214 (PRCS), 1926.1215 (CS-PRCS), 
1926.1216 (CACS), and 1926.1217 (IHCS). The Agency structured the 
proposed standard in this way so that the accident-prevention and -
protection requirements would be tailored specifically to the space 
classification being used. OSHA believes that this approach will both 
ensure the protection necessary for the employees and give the 
employers some flexibility in selecting the classification.

Section 1926.1207--Reassessment

    Paragraph (a). This proposed paragraph would require employers to 
reassess the determinations made in proposed Sec.  1926.1204 (Workplace 
evaluation, information exchange, and coordination) for a confined 
space that the contractor had previously determined did not contain any 
atmospheric or physical hazards when there is an indication that the 
conditions under which the determinations were made have changed. The 
Agency believes that this is necessary because conditions around and 
within confined spaces may change, especially when construction 
activities are performed around or within it. Consequently, when 
indications of changes in the previous conditions arise, and to ensure 
that employees are protected, it is necessary to conduct a reevaluation 
of the confined space. Such indications include but are not limited to: 
(1) A change in the configuration or use of, or the type of work 
conducted or materials used in, the confined space; (2) new information 
regarding a hazard in or near a confined space; and (3) an employee or 
authorized representative provides a reasonable basis for believing 
that a hazard determination is inadequate. OSHA believes that, to 
ensure the safety of the employees, if any of these three indications 
occur it is necessary to check to see if new hazards have arisen in the 
confined space.
    Paragraph (b). When an employer has made a determination under 
proposed Sec.  1926.1204 (Workplace evaluation, information exchange, 
and coordination) that a confined space was subject to a hazard and the 
employer implemented protective measures and procedures, the employer 
would be required to reassess its confined space worksite operations 
and procedures if there is an indication that those measures may not 
protect employees working in or near the confined space. This proposed 
provision lists seven examples of indications that would require the 
contractor to reassess the confined space in light of the triggering 
event or new information. These events include, but are not limited to: 
(1) A change in the configuration or use of, or the type of work 
conducted or materials used in, the confined space; (2) new information 
regarding a hazard in or near a confined space; (3) an employee or 
authorized representative provides a reasonable basis for believing 
that a hazard determination or protective measure is inadequate; (4) an 
unauthorized entry into a PRCS; (5) detection of a hazard in or near a 
PRCS that is not addressed by the entry permit; (6) detection of a 
hazard level in or near a PRCS that exceeds the planned conditions 
specified in the entry permit; and (7) the occurrence, during an entry 
operation, of an injury, fatality or near-miss.
    While some specified events, such as the presence of a new hazard 
in or near the confined space, detection of a hazard not covered by the 
entry permit, or detection of a hazard that exceeds acceptable levels 
(see paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(5), and (b)(6) of this proposed section, 
respectively) may necessitate a full physical and atmospheric retest of 
the space, full retesting would not be required in all cases. For 
example, it is unlikely that the unauthorized entry into a space 
(paragraph (b)(4) of this proposed section) or an accident unrelated to 
any atmospheric hazard (paragraph (b)(7) of this proposed section) 
would necessitate a complete review of the atmospheric conditions in 
the confined space. OSHA recognizes

[[Page 67364]]

that while working in a confined space, the environment and/or working 
conditions may change as a result of unforeseen occurrences. As such, 
the employer must identify the need for a reassessment of the hazards 
and working conditions based on changes that may adversely affect 
safety or health in the confined space.
    The indicators specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(7) of 
this proposed section are not meant to be a comprehensive list; rather, 
these indicators are likely or common events that would require a 
reassessment. The employer also would be required to conduct a 
reassessment where other, unlisted conditions occur that indicate a 
need to reassess the effectiveness of hazard controls used in the 
space.
    Paragraph (c). This proposed paragraph specifies the requirements 
for reassessing a confined space. Prior to performing a reassessment, 
the contractor must ensure that all employees exit the confined space 
immediately. The proposed provision also requires the contractor to 
ensure that no employee reenters the space until the contractor 
identifies the physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance with 
paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204; follows the classification 
procedures specified by proposed Sec.  1926.1206 (Classification and 
precautions); and meets the accident-prevention and -protection 
requirements applicable to the space classification selected by the 
contractor before any employee reenters the space.
    The Agency believes this proposed requirement is necessary because 
once an emergency occurs, the protective systems in place in the PRCS 
can no longer be relied on to protect the entrants; their safety then 
depends on their immediately getting out of the PRCS. The Agency also 
believes that this proposed requirement is necessary to ensure that 
the: spaces are correctly assessed; employees are protected while 
conducting a reassessment; and employees receive appropriate protection 
prior to reentering the confined space.

Section 1926.1208--Permit-Required Confined Spaces

    This proposed section would establish (1) the criteria for 
identifying and classifying a Permit Required Confined Space (PRCS), 
and (2) the basis for defining the conditions that would enable 
authorized entrants to work safely in the PRCS (the planned 
conditions).
    Paragraph (a). This proposed paragraph specifies the classification 
requirements for PRCSs.
    Paragraph (a)(1). This proposed paragraph lists several 
characteristics of PRCSs as defined in proposed Sec.  1926.1203 
(Definitions applicable to this subpart): a hazardous atmosphere; 
inwardly converging, sloping, or tapering surfaces that could trap or 
asphyxiate an employee; or an engulfment hazard or other physical 
hazard. The presence of any one of these characteristics in a confined 
space would require the employer to identify and classify it as a PRCS. 
For example, a space between walls that narrows towards the base 
(including but not limited to, funnels and hoppers) would be a PRCS.
    Paragraph (a)(2). This proposed paragraph sets forth the 
requirements regarding physical and atmospheric hazards in PRCSs.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i). In this proposed provision, for each physical 
hazard identified under paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204, the 
employer would have to design either an isolation method or use another 
method of protecting employees from each hazard. The means and methods 
designed by the employer must meet applicable OSHA requirements. For 
example, if the confined space contains a physical hazard associated 
with electrical equipment, the means of isolation or protection must 
comply with the appropriate OSHA electrical standard (e.g., 29 CFR part 
1926 subpart K (Electrical)).
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii). In this proposed provision, for each 
atmospheric hazard identified under proposed 29 CFR 1926.1205 
(Atmospheric testing and monitoring), the employer must isolate or 
control the atmospheric hazards within the PRCS by either: (1) Ensuring 
that these hazards are reduced to a safe level \3\ in the space without 
the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) (see, for example, 29 
CFR 1926.55, 1926.152, 1926.1100 through .1152); or (2) using PPE to 
protect the employees from the hazard. For example, for non-explosive 
atmospheric hazards (such as oxygen deficiency or toxic atmosphere), if 
the employer does not reduce the hazard in the space to a safe level, 
the method used to protect the employees must include PPE that is 
sufficient to protect them in accordance with OSHA requirements 
applicable to the hazard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ ``Safe level'' is a defined term in proposed 1926.1203 
(Definitions applicable to this subpart) of this proposed standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    OSHA initially considered requiring employers to isolate all 
hazards and meet the accident-prevention and -protection requirements 
of proposed Sec.  1926.1217 (Isolated-hazard confined spaces--
classification and accident-prevention and -protection requirements) 
unless they could demonstrate that isolation of a hazard is infeasible. 
When employers could demonstrate that they could only isolate physical 
hazards but not atmospheric hazards, they would have to control the 
atmospheric hazard and protect their employees in accordance with 
proposed Sec.  1926.1216 (Controlled-atmosphere confined spaces--
classification and accident-prevention and -protection requirements). 
Only when they could not isolate or control a hazard could employers 
use personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet the requirements of 
proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214 and 1926.1215 
(requirements for PRCSs and Continuous System-PRCSs). However, during 
the SBREFA process, several Small Entity Representatives (SERs) noted 
that they and their controlling contractors prefer to classify all 
confined spaces as PRCSs, thereby providing consistency in training and 
equipment when working in confined spaces.
    OSHA's initial position was consistent with other OSHA standards 
such as 29 CFR 1926.55 (Gases, Vapors, Fumes, Dusts, and Mists), which 
require employers to eliminate hazards first using engineering and 
work-practice controls, and only then with PPE. Nevertheless, the 
Agency agreed with the comments of the SERs and revised its initial 
position to allow employers to meet the accident-prevention and -
protection requirements of an IHCS or CACS as an option to complying 
with the PRCS requirements of the proposed standard. OSHA believes this 
approach to classification of confined spaces will protect employees 
while allowing employers some flexibility in the methods they choose to 
manage confined-space hazards. This conclusion is particularly true 
given the information the Agency received during the SBREFA process 
when the SERs stated that contractors often prefer to classify all 
confined spaces as PRCSs so as to provide consistency in training and 
work practices. The Agency believes that in the construction industry, 
where there are constantly changing work environments, allowing such an 
approach may provide additional safety benefits to employees.
    Paragraph (b). The two provisions of this proposed paragraph 
require the employer to define the planned conditions under which 
authorized entrants can work safely in a PRCS.
    Paragraph (b)(1). Under this proposed paragraph, the employer would 
be required to use the determinations made

[[Page 67365]]

under paragraph (a)(2) of this proposed section to define the planned 
conditions under which the employees can safely work in the PRCS.
    Accordingly, the required information would include the hazard 
levels at which employees can safely work and the procedures and 
equipment used to protect the employees. For example, when an employer 
decides to use PPE to protect employees from an atmospheric hazard, the 
planned conditions would typically include the type of PPE to be used 
(such as type of respirator) and the levels at which the PPE would 
protect the employees from the atmospheric hazard.
    Paragraph (b)(2). Employers would be required to determine that, in 
the event the ventilation system stops working, the monitoring 
procedures will detect an increase in atmospheric hazard levels in 
sufficient time for the entrants to safely exit the PRCS. As explained 
for a similar provision in the general industry standard (see 29 CFR 
1910.146(c)(5)(i)(B)), for the PRCS to be considered safe, the 
mechanical ventilation must control the atmospheric hazards at levels 
that are below the levels at which they are harmful to entrants (that 
is, at a sufficiently low level that entrants will have time to exit 
the PRCS safely). In addition, should the forced-air ventilation system 
cease to function during entry (such as from a power loss), the 
atmosphere must remain at safe levels until monitoring procedures 
detect rising atmospheric hazard levels and entrants can safely exit 
the space or ventilation is restored. The Agency believes that 
monitoring is the primary method for detecting an increase in 
atmospheric hazard levels and, therefore, this proposed standard 
generally requires the use of monitoring to detect ventilation system 
failure. However, other indicators may be useful in detecting such 
failures, including changes in noise levels, air flow, and/or pressure; 
and signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects of exposure to the 
atmospheric hazard.
    In the event the control methods fail, meeting the requirements of 
this proposed paragraph would provide employees with a safe atmosphere 
within the PRCS until they evacuate from the confined space, thereby 
reducing the risk of serious injury and death. Nevertheless, OSHA 
believes that if the atmospheric hazards would rapidly rise to unsafe 
levels in the event of a failure in the mechanical-ventilation system, 
and employees could not exit safely from the PRCS under these 
conditions, then mechanical ventilation may be an inappropriate method 
for controlling atmospheric hazards in the PRCS.

Section 1926.1209--PRCS--Initial Tasks

    Paragraph (a). One of the keys to protecting employees from PRCS 
hazards is for both employers and employees to know the location of the 
PRCSs at the job site, the characteristics of the hazards, and their 
associated dangers. The provisions in this proposed paragraph are 
designed to achieve this goal.
    Paragraph (a)(1). The contractor would be required to notify its 
employees that it anticipates will be in or near the PRCS and their 
authorized representatives, and the controlling contractor, about the 
location of, and the hazards/dangers posed by the PRCSs located at the 
job site. The Agency believes that it is important for the contractor 
to provide the controlling contractor with this information because the 
controlling contractor is in the best position to convey the 
contractor's information to other employers at the site. This proposed 
provision will help facilitate the effective sharing of this important 
information among other contractors at the site, as well as the 
employees of these contractors that they anticipate will be in or near 
the PRCS. It also ensures that the contractor's own employees who will 
be in or near the PRCSs have this information.
    Paragraph (a)(2). The employer would be required to post a danger 
sign at or near the PRCS entrances, which the Agency believes is 
necessary to ensure that employees are warned of the presence and 
danger of a PRCS. If the employer can demonstrate that a sign is 
infeasible, it would have to use an equally effective means of alerting 
employees. The Agency believes that employees need this information to 
understand the seriousness of potential hazards in the PRCS. Compliance 
with this proposed requirement would ensure that employees who are not 
involved in PRCS operations would be sufficiently informed so that they 
would not attempt to enter the spaces. However, OSHA notes that only 
employees who work in PRCSs would need to know more details about the 
potential hazards. Therefore, this proposed provision would not require 
employers to list specific PRCS hazards on each sign. The Agency 
believes that, when properly warned, employees who are not authorized 
to enter the space would avoid entering the PRCS, thereby preventing 
harm that could result from the PRCS hazards.
    The sign must convey that entering the space is dangerous and that 
entry without authorization is prohibited. Language such as ``Danger--
Permit-Required Confined Space--Authorized Employees Only'' and 
``Danger--Do Not Enter Without a Permit'' would convey this 
information. Similar language that prevents unauthorized entry also 
would meet the requirements of the proposed rule.
    OSHA considered allowing the use of a posted copy of the entry 
permit to meet the sign requirement. However, the Agency rejected this 
idea because the entry permit is not designed to serve as a warning 
sign. Unlike a sign that reads ``Danger--Permit Required Confined 
Space--Authorized Employees Only'' or ``Danger--Do Not Enter Without a 
Permit,'' or similar language, the design and content of an entry 
permit is unlikely to clearly express to employees (especially those 
not authorized to enter the PRCS) that entering the space could be 
dangerous.
    When the employer demonstrates that posting a sign at every 
possible entrance to a PRCS is infeasible, it instead would be 
permitted to use an equally effective means to warn employees of the 
presence and danger of the PRCS. Such means must go beyond just generic 
training in this standard, for example, since generic training would 
not identify the location of permit spaces at a specific worksite. 
Therefore, an equally effective means would identify the PRCS locations 
so that employees at the job site who may work near the PRCSs would be 
aware of these locations and would understand the importance of not 
entering them.
    Paragraph (b). The employer would be required to decide if any 
employees would be authorized to enter the PRCS. If no employees will 
be authorized to enter, entry must be prevented by implementing the 
three measures specified below in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of 
this proposed section. The Agency believes that these measures would 
effectively prevent unauthorized entry into PRCSs and so protect 
employees from encountering PRCS hazards.
    Paragraph (b)(1). The employer would be required to use barriers to 
permanently close the PRCS to prevent access to the PRCS. The use of 
barriers helps ensure that the PRCS remains inaccessible to employees. 
A barrier is a physical obstruction that blocks access to the PRCS; for 
example, a plywood sheet could be installed to cover the entrance, or 
2x4s installed in such a manner that some or all of the barrier would 
have to be removed to easily enter the space.
    Paragraph (b)(2). Under this proposed provision the employer would 
be

[[Page 67366]]

required to post danger signs in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1209. The Agency believes that it is necessary to 
use such signs in conjunction with the barrier because, without such 
signs, an employee may not understand that the purpose of the barrier 
is to keep all employees out of the PRCS. Such signs are particularly 
important at construction sites, where construction employees are 
accustomed to removing material to gain access to an area.
    Paragraph (b)(3). Employers would be required to inform their 
employees and the controlling contractor of the location of the closed 
PRCS and the measures used to prevent entry into the space. The purpose 
of this proposed paragraph is to ensure that all employees, including 
employees who are not authorized to enter a PRCS, are informed directly 
of the locations of the closed PRCSs and the dangers they pose. As a 
result, employees, including those employees who have no experience 
working near or within a PRCS, would recognize, and avoid entering, a 
PRCS.
    Paragraph (c). Under this proposed paragraph, if the employer 
decides that one or more employees will be authorized to enter the 
PRCS, it would be required to implement specific measures to limit 
entry into the PRCS to only those employees authorized to enter. 
Compared to the general industry standard, the provisions in this 
proposed paragraph provide more specific information to employers about 
how to limit PRCS access to authorized entrants at construction 
worksites.
    Paragraph (c)(1)(i). OSHA believes that to effectively limit entry 
into a PRCS, it is necessary to make it physically difficult for non-
authorized employees to enter the space since employees may not take 
note of other types of warnings (such as signs) before entering the 
space. Therefore, under this proposed provision, employers would be 
required to use either barriers or high-visibility physical 
restrictions, such as warning lines with flags, installed across the 
entrances to the PRCS. High-visibility physical restrictions such as 
warning lines with flags would be allowed as an option in this proposed 
provision since these restrictions allow authorized employees to enter 
the space. Unlike the barriers described above in paragraph (b)(1) of 
this proposed section, which must prevent any employee from entering 
the PRCS, the purpose of the barriers required by this paragraph is to 
warn non-authorized employees not to enter the space while allowing 
entry into the PRCS by authorized entrants.
    This proposed provision serves a different purpose than the barrier 
required below in paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210. As 
discussed below, the barrier in paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1210 would be designed to protect authorized entrants from 
external hazards presented by pedestrians and vehicles. In contrast, 
the barrier or high-visibility physical restriction in this proposed 
provision is designed to prevent non-authorized entrants from entering 
the PRCS, while allowing authorized entrants ready access to the PRCS.
    Paragraph (c)(1)(ii). Employers would be required to post signs 
that comply with paragraph (a)(2) of this proposed section at or near 
the entrances to the PRCS. The sign required by this proposed paragraph 
would warn employees that it is dangerous to enter the PRCS. The sign 
would work in conjunction with the physical restrictions specified in 
paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this proposed section to communicate the 
presence of hazards within the PRCS.
    Paragraph (c)(1)(iii). The employer would have to inform its non-
authorized employees and the controlling contractor of the location of, 
and hazards in, the PRCS and the measures used to prevent unauthorized 
entry. As with the requirements in paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(3) of this 
proposed section, OSHA believes that it is important for the employer 
to communicate the location and hazards of the PRCS to its non-
authorized employees. In addition, the controlling contractor is 
typically in the best position to disseminate the information about the 
PRCS to the other affected employers. OSHA believes that inadvertent 
entry into the PRCS by non-authorized employees is less likely to occur 
where this information is disseminated.
    Paragraph (c)(2). The employer would be required to allow only 
employees who are ``authorized entrants'' as defined above under 
proposed Sec.  1926.1203 (Definitions applicable to this subpart) to 
enter the PRCS. Paragraph (g) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210 would require 
the employer to designate which employees are authorized entrants and 
to ensure that these individuals are identified on the current entry 
permit in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1214. Only these individuals may enter the PRCS. The Agency 
believes that this proposed requirement will help maintain safe PRCS 
operations, which to a significant extent depend on the entrants 
knowing about the hazards and proper PRCS procedures. Non-authorized 
entrants would not typically be trained regarding the hazards and 
safety procedures required by the applicable sections of this proposed 
standard. Consequently, their presence could compromise not only their 
own safety and health, but also the safety and health of other 
employees in the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d). This proposed paragraph establishes an employer's 
duties to train employees the employer anticipates will be in or near 
the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d)(1). The employer would have to ensure that employees 
who will be in or near a PRCS acquire the knowledge and skills 
necessary for the safe performance of their duties as specified by the 
applicable sections of this proposed standard. The proposed provision 
specifically identifies ``employees who will be in or near a PRCS'' as 
entry supervisors, attendants, authorized entrants, and rescue-service 
employees. The training must also result in the employees understanding 
the hazards in the PRCS that they will be working in or near, and the 
methods used to isolate, control, or protect them from these hazards. 
For example, if an authorized entrant enters the space to isolate an 
identified hazard or to set up ventilation to control an atmospheric 
hazard, the employer would be required to ensure that the employee is 
trained not only in accordance with the PRCS entry requirements, but 
also to perform the tasks necessary to isolate and control the specific 
hazards in accordance with other appropriate OSHA requirements 
applicable to construction. All employees who enter the space 
thereafter must also be trained to understand how the hazards within 
the space, if any, have been isolated or controlled. OSHA believes that 
the training employees receive under this provision will enable them to 
associate the signs, symptoms and characteristic effects (discussed 
elsewhere in this preamble) to failure of methods to control or isolate 
the hazards. Therefore, this training will enable employees to safely 
perform their requisite duties while working in or near the PRCS, and 
to respond appropriately if the hazard-protection methods fail.
    Paragraph (d)(2). Multiple fatalities could occur when one employee 
discovers that another employee has been incapacitated inside a 
confined space and goes into the space to rescue the victim, only to 
become incapacitated as well. OSHA believes one of the ways the 
proposed standard would prevent this type of tragic sequence is by 
having separate requirements for those employees who are specifically 
authorized to enter the PRCS for rescue and those employees who are 
not.

[[Page 67367]]

    Under this proposed paragraph, the employer would be required to 
train employees the employer anticipates will be in or near the PRCS, 
and who are not authorized to perform entry rescues, about the dangers 
of trying to perform a rescue. This training is especially important 
for authorized entrants, attendants, and supervisors since they are 
most likely the first to become aware that an employee in the PRCS is 
incapacitated.
    Paragraph (d)(3). This proposed paragraph specifies when the 
employees, notably entry supervisors, attendants, authorized entrants, 
and rescue-service employees, would have to be trained under the 
requirements of paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this proposed section. 
The provisions of this proposed paragraph are designed to ensure that 
the training would be provided before the employees encounter a PRCS 
hazard, thereby ensuring that they can respond promptly and 
appropriately to hazards, and that they are aware of the dangers of 
attempting entry rescues.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(i). The employer would have to ensure that 
specified employees (that is, entry supervisors, attendants, authorized 
entrants, and rescue-service employees) receive the training required 
above in paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this proposed section prior to 
the beginning of PRCS entry operations (that is, when an authorized 
entrant enters the PRCS). This proposed requirement ensures that 
employees receive adequate training regarding PRCS hazards before 
authorized entrants are exposed to these hazards.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(ii). Under this proposed provision, if employees 
receive a change in assigned tasks and these changes affect the planned 
conditions for the PRCS, then the employer must train these employees 
before they enter the PRCS on the newly assigned tasks, including how 
to maintain the conditions of the PRCS classification when performing 
the tasks. For example, an employee's assignment changes so that he/she 
must maintain the proper functioning of ventilation equipment in the 
PRCS or perform atmospheric monitoring; before reentering the space, 
the employee must be trained to perform such tasks and to understand 
their significance to safe PRCS entry operations. This additional 
training only applies when employees have not received previous 
training on these newly assigned tasks. This proposed provision would 
ensure that employees have the knowledge and skills necessary to 
perform their newly assigned tasks safely within a PRCS, thereby 
preventing errors that could result in substantial harm to themselves 
and/or other employees.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(iii). The employer would be required to ensure 
that authorized entrants exit the PRCS when a new hazard is introduced 
or occurs in the PRCS for which the authorized entrants have not 
previously received training. The employer then would have to ensure 
that all untrained employees the employer anticipates will be in or 
near the space to complete training that provides the necessary skills 
and knowledge regarding the new hazard before the space is reentered.
    An example would be authorized entrants working in a PRCS who, in 
the course of their work, discover a previously unknown gas line; none 
of the authorized entrants has been trained on the hazards associated 
with working in a PRCS that has a gas line. This proposed provision 
would require that the employees exit the PRCS (not just the area near 
the gas line) until they receive the required training.
    Paragraph (d)(4). The employer would have to ensure that employees 
that the employer anticipates will be in or near the PRCS can 
demonstrate proficiency in the duties required by this proposed 
standard, including any new or revised PRCS procedures. This proposed 
provision would ensure that employees would not enter a PRCS without 
being able to apply the knowledge and procedures addressed in their 
training. In other words, the employer must determine that, for each 
employee, the training has been effective--that it has resulted in the 
employee understanding the information sufficiently so that he/she can 
apply it and be proficient in the required duties.
    Paragraph (d)(5). The employer would be required to maintain 
training records for each employee. The training records would have to 
meet several requirements specified by this proposed paragraph. As 
explained in the following paragraph, the Agency believes that 
maintaining such records is necessary to ensure that employees that 
need to be trained in PRCS hazards have received the appropriate 
training.
    Paragraphs (d)(5)(i) and (d)(5)(ii). The training records would 
have to show that the employee accomplished the training requirements 
specified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(4) of this proposed section 
when required. This documentation can take any form that reasonably 
demonstrates the employee's completion of the training. Examples 
include attachment of test scores, a photocopied card certifying 
completion of a class, or any other reasonable means. The records would 
also have to contain the employee's name, names of the trainers, and 
dates of the training. These records may be stored electronically.
    OSHA recognizes that the turnover rate for employees on 
construction sites is higher than in many other industries, and that 
employees are also likely to work at several different worksites based 
on the type of work that needs to be performed. For example, an 
employer could designate an employee to be an authorized entrant in 
several different confined spaces at the same worksite, which may 
require the employee to perform different assigned tasks under various 
planned conditions. In this situation, OSHA believes that this 
documentation is necessary to keep track of whether the employee has 
been effectively trained to perform the various tasks under the planned 
conditions. Compliance with this provision would provide employers with 
an administrative tool that they can use to confirm which employees 
will be able to perform the duties required by this proposed standard. 
By providing an easily accessible reference for determining employee 
training status, this provision would ensure a safer workplace within 
the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d)(6). The provisions of this proposed paragraph would 
require that an employer ensure that employees be retrained when 
specified circumstances occur.
    Paragraph (d)(6)(i). Retraining would be required when the employer 
has reason to believe that the employee has deviated from the PRCS 
entry procedures in proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1209 through 1926.1214. By 
retraining employees who deviate from entry procedures, the employer 
can better ensure the safety of all employees in a PRCS. OSHA believes 
that even one employee can adversely affect the safety of others in a 
confined space if he/she deviates from correct entry procedures.
    Paragraph (d)(6)(ii). Retraining would also be required when the 
employer finds indications that the employee does not have adequate 
knowledge and skills regarding PRCS entry procedures. OSHA believes 
that employees in a PRCS with inadequate knowledge or skills regarding 
these procedures could endanger their lives and also the lives of other 
employees in the space.
    Paragraph (e). Before any employees enter a PRCS, the employer 
would be required to complete arrangements for the rescue of these 
employees in accordance with proposed Sec.  1926.1213 (PRCS--rescue 
criteria). The Agency believes that this proposed provision is 
necessary to ensure that rescue and emergency services will actually be 
readily available if they are needed.

[[Page 67368]]

Note that, in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210, the 
entry supervisor is specifically required to verify that this 
arrangement has been made before authorizing a PRCS entry.
    Paragraph (f). The employer would have to develop procedures for 
safely terminating entry operations under both planned and emergency 
conditions. For example, if ventilation equipment is being used to help 
control an atmospheric hazard, safe termination procedures under 
planned conditions or emergency conditions would include sequencing 
shut-down operations so that the ventilation was not turned off until 
the end of the termination process (that is, after employees exit the 
PRCS).

Section 1926.1210--PRCS--Preparing for Entry

    Once the initial tasks under proposed Sec.  1926.1209 (PRCS--
initial tasks) have been completed, the employer would then have to 
meet several requirements under this proposed section before allowing 
an employee to enter a PRCS.
    Paragraph (a). Before any authorized entrant enters a PRCS, the 
employer would be required to prepare an entry permit that meets the 
requirements of proposed Sec.  1926.1214 (PRCS--entry permits), and 
then post this entry permit where the authorized entrants enter the 
PRCS. OSHA believes that making the permit available to all authorized 
entrants is necessary because they need to know, and be able to refer 
back to, the information that is in the permit to work safely in the 
PRCS.
    Paragraph (b). This proposed paragraph would require, prior to 
removing an entrance cover, that employers eliminate any condition that 
makes it unsafe to remove the entrance cover. For example, conditions 
such as heat and pressure within the PRCS may pose a danger to 
employees removing an entrance cover. In such cases, the cover may be 
blown off in the process of its removal, or superheated steam may 
suddenly escape and burn the employee. Another example would be where a 
sealed cover is removed and toxic gases are released.
    To protect employees from these hazards inside the PRCS, the 
employer would be required to make a hazard assessment before any cover 
is removed. Removal of the cover to the PRCS would not be permitted 
until the employer identifies any hazardous conditions related to the 
cover's removal and then eliminates those hazards.
    Paragraph (c). The purpose of this proposed paragraph is to protect 
employees in and around the PRCS from being struck by individuals or 
objects outside the PRCS that may fall into the space, or that could 
injure the employees when they are near the PRCS. When necessary to 
achieve this purpose, this proposed provision requires employers to 
promptly: use guardrails or covers as specified in 29 CFR 1926.502 
(Fall protection systems criteria and practices) of subpart M (Fall 
Protection) to guard holes and openings into the space from falling 
individuals and objects, and institute measures to control pedestrian 
and vehicle traffic in accordance with the requirements in 29 CFR Part 
1926 subpart G (Signs, Signals, and Barricades).
    Paragraph (d). Employers would be required to ensure that a safe 
method of entering and exiting a PRCS (such as stairways or ladders) is 
provided and used, and that it meets applicable OSHA requirements (such 
as 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart X (Stairways and Ladders)). For example, 
where the employees are working in an underground vault, the employer 
would be required to provide and ensure the use of a safe means of 
entry into and exit from an underground vault, and, if applicable, 
ensure that the method complies with OSHA standards.
    This proposed paragraph also would require that if a hoisting 
system is used, it must be designed and manufactured for personnel 
hoisting. This proposed provision also allows for the use of job-made 
hoisting systems if these systems are approved for personnel hoisting 
by a registered professional engineer prior to use in PRCS entry 
operations.
    However, commercial hoisting systems not designed and manufactured 
specifically for personnel hoisting would not be permissible under this 
proposed provision because OSHA believes they cannot be used safely for 
this purpose. This proposed requirement would eliminate further 
injuries and deaths of employees that could occur from the use of a 
hoisting system that was not designed specifically for personnel 
hoisting. The provision would give the employer flexibility in its 
choice of personnel hoisting systems by allowing a registered 
professional engineer to approve a job-made system. OSHA believes that 
either option would ensure that the personnel hoisting system will meet 
the design specifications needed for employees to safely access the 
PRCS.
    This proposed provision would ensure that authorized entrants 
always have a safe and effective means of entering and exiting the 
space, including escaping from it in an emergency. These means include 
systems that are designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting and 
job-made hoisting systems approved by a registered professional 
engineer, even when these systems are not covered by an OSHA standard.
    Paragraph (e). The provisions under this proposed paragraph 
delineate the requirements for an entry supervisor. These proposed 
requirements focus overall coordination of PRCS entry operations on the 
entry supervisor, and provide that person with authority to terminate 
PRCS entry operations and to cancel the entry permit. By centralizing 
these duties in a single individual who is highly knowledgeable 
regarding PRCS entry operations, these proposed requirements would 
substantially enhance the safety of affected employees, especially 
authorized entrants.
    Paragraph (e)(1). The employer would be required to assign at least 
one entry supervisor for each worksite where there is a PRCS. OSHA 
believes that many of the accidents that occur in confined spaces are 
the result of an employer's failure to implement confined-space entry 
procedures. To help prevent such accidents, the Agency believes that it 
is necessary for the employer to not only establish safe procedures for 
PRCS entry, but to also ensure that these protective procedures are 
implemented. Therefore, to ensure that the protective entry procedures 
are implemented, this proposed paragraph requires the employer to 
assign an entry supervisor for the PRCS who would coordinate procedures 
for entering the PRCS. Accordingly, the entry supervisor has specific 
duties that must be fulfilled to ensure a safe workplace for those 
employees the employer anticipates will be in or near the PRCS. The 
employer would be required to ensure that the assigned individual meets 
the qualifications and performs the duties specified in paragraph 
(e)(2) of this proposed section.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor knows the physical and atmospheric hazards in the 
PRCS. It is essential for the entry supervisor to know this information 
since it forms the basis for the PRCS procedures that would be used to 
protect the affected employees.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(ii). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor knows how the hazards enter the body (for example, 
by skin contact or inhalation), as well as the signs, symptoms, and 
characteristic effects (including behavioral effects) of exposure to 
these hazards. As an individual with the authority to order the 
evacuation of the PRCS and cancel the entry permit, it is essential 
that the entry supervisor recognize hazardous conditions and telltale 
indications

[[Page 67369]]

(signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects) that a hazard is 
affecting employees in or near the PRCS operations. By meeting the 
knowledge requirements of this proposed paragraph, the entry supervisor 
would be better prepared to identify emergency situations by observing 
employees involved in entry operations.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(iii). The employer would have to ensure that the 
entry supervisor verifies (by checking appropriate entries in the 
permit) the completion of atmospheric testing specified in the entry 
permit, that the conditions in the PRCS are within the planned 
conditions as defined in accordance with paragraph (b) of proposed 
1926.1208 and as listed in the entry permit, and that any other 
procedures and equipment specified in the entry permit are in place. 
These preliminary checks are necessary to ensure that the conditions in 
the space are within the planned conditions--hazard levels are as 
planned, and protective measures are already in place, working 
properly, and are effective--before entry operations commence.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(iv). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor verifies that the entry rescue service (selected 
in accordance with paragraph (e) of proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1209 and 
proposed 1926.1213) is available to perform their rescue duties and 
that the means for timely summoning the entry rescue service is 
operating properly. Since the employer would be required to assign 
authority for safe permit entry operations to the entry supervisor, it 
is reasonable and consistent with the rescue provisions to specify that 
the entry supervisor verify that the entry rescue service is available 
and the means of summoning it in a timely manner is functioning 
properly.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(v). After the entry supervisor makes the 
verifications required by paragraphs (e)(2)(iii) and (e)(2)(iv) of this 
proposed section, the employer would be required to ensure that the 
entry supervisor signs the entry permit to authorize employees to enter 
the PRCS. OSHA believes that it is important for all employees the 
employer anticipates will be in or near the PRCS to be able to know who 
the persons are who have authority and responsibility with respect to 
maintaining safe conditions during entry operations. If an employee 
discovers an unsafe condition or symptoms caused by an unsafe 
condition, it is important for the employee to be able to notify a 
person (such as the entry supervisor) with the authority and 
responsibility for correcting the hazard and for evacuating the PRCS. 
In addition, the signature requirement underscores to the employer and 
the entry supervisor the importance of their determination that the 
prerequisites for safe entry listed in the permit have been met.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(vi). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor terminates PRCS entry operations in accordance 
with paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1212 (Supervisor 
requirements) of this proposed standard. For an explanation of this 
proposed requirement, see the discussion under paragraph (b) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1212 of this preamble.
    Paragraph (f). The provisions of this proposed paragraph specify 
the requirements for attendants. These proposed requirements would help 
to ensure the safety of employees in or near the PRCS.
    Paragraph (f)(1). The employer would be required to station an 
attendant outside the PRCS for the duration of the entry operation. The 
rationale for assigning attendants to a PRCS is similar to the 
rationale for assigning entry supervisors to these confined spaces (see 
paragraph (e)(1) of this proposed section). Although an attendant does 
not have the overall responsibility for employee safety and health 
assigned to the entry supervisor, the attendant is a crucial link in 
the communication chain between the entry supervisor, rescue 
operations, and the authorized entrants.
    It is extremely important that the attendants understand their 
duties, stay in contact with the entrants, and remain alert to 
conditions inside and outside the PRCS. The attendant may be in the 
best position to warn the entrants of hazardous conditions developing 
outside the space and impending danger within the space, and to 
recognize physical and behavioral changes in the entrants that would 
indicate that conditions within the space may be deteriorating. In 
cases where the entrant becomes incapacitated, the attendant often is 
an entrant's only contact with individuals outside the confined space. 
Without the attendant, many emergencies in the space would not be 
detected and help would not be summoned until it is too late.
    One of the main duties of the attendant is to recognize hazardous 
conditions that are occurring inside the PRCS and to communicate this 
information to rescue personnel in emergency situations. If the 
attendant was inside the space, the attendant could become 
incapacitated if an emergency occurred and rendered unable to perform 
the very duties that are necessary to protect the other employees. The 
attendant would often be the first (and sometimes only) person to 
recognize unacceptable conditions or signs of hazardous conditions 
within the space. Therefore, it is imperative that the attendant remain 
outside of the PRCS to monitor the space and to contact and help 
coordinate rescue personnel during times of emergency.
    Paragraph (f)(2). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
attendant knows the hazards associated with the PRCS, how these hazards 
enter the body, and the signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects 
that can result from those hazards. Knowing this information is crucial 
for the attendants to perform their duties because they must be able to 
recognize when there are indications that the planned conditions in the 
PRCS are not being met--that something is wrong with the system of 
employee protection. Because attendants would be able to easily 
communicate with entrants and entry supervisors, their recognition of 
deviations from the planned conditions and of the signs, symptoms and 
characteristic effects that might indicate exposure to a hazard will 
help enable a timely evacuation of the PRCS.
    Paragraph (f)(2)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
attendants know the physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS. OSHA 
believes that knowing the hazards within the space includes being able 
to both recognize and understand them.
    Paragraph (f)(2)(ii). The employer would be required to ensure that 
attendants know how the hazards may potentially enter the body (for 
example, skin contact and inhalation), the signs and symptoms of coming 
into contact with a hazard, and characteristic effects (including 
behavioral effects) of the hazards. OSHA believes this proposed 
requirement is necessary because the attendant is likely to be in a 
position to quickly recognize deteriorating conditions within the space 
and communicate the need for an immediate evacuation. For instance, 
subtle behavioral changes/effects detected in an entrant's speech or 
deviations in established communication procedures could alert the 
attendant that it is necessary for the entrant to evacuate the space or 
to be rescued.
    Paragraph (f)(3). Under this proposed provision, the employer would 
be permitted to assign a single attendant to monitor more than one PRCS 
only when the requirements in this proposed paragraph are met. OSHA 
acknowledges that, although it is best to have one attendant outside 
each PRCS, there may be situations when one attendant can

[[Page 67370]]

effectively monitor multiple PRCSs. The ability to monitor multiple 
PRCS sites allows employers maximum flexibility in providing for the 
safety of employees where site-specific factors permit the attendant to 
do so. For instance, in some circumstances a single attendant equipped 
with modern technologies such as automated monitor/alarm systems and 
audio-video equipment may be able to monitor multiple sites and react 
to emergency conditions as effectively as a single attendant at each 
space.
    Paragraph (f)(3)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
attendants are able to completely and accurately perform all duties 
assigned to them under paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 
(Attendant duties). The attendants must be able to perform these duties 
at each individual PRCS without compromising the performance of their 
duties at any other PRCS site they are responsible for monitoring. 
Therefore, OSHA believes that to effectively monitor multiple PRCSs 
without compromising the safety of the entrants in any one of the 
PRCSs, employers must meet the requirements of paragraph (f) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1211 for each PRCS.
    Paragraph (f)(3)(ii). The employer would be required to provide the 
equipment and procedures needed by an attendant to respond to an 
emergency affecting any of the PRCSs he/she is assigned to monitor. 
Examples of such equipment include electronic equipment (for example, 
electronic audio and video tools) that enables the attendant to detect 
what is occurring inside the multiple PRCSs without the attendant 
having to simultaneously be physically present at each PRCS entrance. 
If an employer chooses to require an attendant to monitor multiple 
PRCSs, the employer would have to provide all of the equipment 
necessary for the attendant to fulfill the required duties. OSHA 
believes that it is unrealistic to expect an attendant to be able to 
adequately perform those duties without the equipment necessary to 
accomplish the tasks assigned in paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1211. z
    Paragraph (g). The provisions of this proposed paragraph address 
requirements regarding authorized entrants. OSHA believes that these 
employees face the greatest danger from the PRCS because they will be 
working in or near the hazards that pose serious safety and/or health 
risks. To ensure safe PRCS entry operations it is necessary for 
employers to limit PRCS entry to those employees who have the requisite 
knowledge about the hazards.
    Paragraph (g)(1). The employer would be required to designate which 
employees are authorized to enter a specific PRCS. For example, when 
there is a worksite with five separate PRCSs where employees will be 
performing construction activities, the employer would be required to 
designate the specific employees who are authorized to enter specific 
PRCSs. Only those employees whom the employer designates as authorized 
(and are documented in the entry permit) are allowed to enter the 
designated PRCS.
    Paragraph (g)(2). This proposed paragraph would require the 
employer to ensure that the authorized entrants know about the hazards 
associated with the PRCS they will be entering, and the characteristics 
associated with each particular hazard. This knowledge would afford 
authorized entrants with the information they need to protect 
themselves from these hazards.
    Paragraph (g)(2)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the authorized entrants know the physical and atmospheric hazards in 
PRCSs they are authorized to enter. This proposed requirement is 
similar to requirements described above for entry supervisors and 
attendants in Sec. Sec.  1926.1210(e) (Entry supervisor) and (f) 
(Attendant) of this proposed section.
    Paragraph (g)(2)(ii). The employer would be required to ensure that 
authorized entrants know how the hazards may enter the body (skin 
contact, inhalation), as well as signs and symptoms, and characteristic 
effects (including behavioral effects) that the hazards may cause. This 
proposed provision is similar to paragraphs (e)(2)(ii) and (f)(2)(ii) 
of this proposed section, which specify knowledge requirements for 
entry supervisors and attendants. It is particularly important for the 
authorized entrants to have this knowledge, since it may help them 
avoid PRCS hazards. For example, if an accident occurs in which an 
employee's protective equipment is cut, a hazardous chemical gets on 
his/her skin, and the employee knows that the chemical can enter the 
body through skin contact, the likelihood that the employee will 
immediately seek help is enhanced. Another example is if an authorized 
entrant sees unusual behavior in another authorized entrant and knows 
that the behavior is a symptom of exposure to a hazard, the authorized 
entrant will more likely recognize that an emergency is occurring and 
take appropriate action.
    Paragraph (h). This proposed paragraph sets forth the criteria for 
assigning simultaneous roles to authorized entrants, attendants, and 
entry supervisors.
    Paragraph (h)(1). The employer would be required to ensure that 
employees do not serve as authorized entrants and attendants 
simultaneously. OSHA believes that the roles of authorized entrant and 
attendant are fundamentally incompatible since, under paragraph (f)(1) 
of proposed Sec.  1926.1210, the attendant must be stationed outside 
the space for the duration of the entry operation (as explained in the 
discussion of paragraph (f)(1) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210). In 
addition, the Agency believes that trying to perform both roles 
simultaneously would be too distracting to perform either position 
effectively.
    Paragraph (h)(2) and (h)(3). An employer would be permitted to have 
an attendant or authorized entrant serve simultaneously as an entry 
supervisor only if the employer ensures that the person meets all the 
requirements under this proposed standard applicable to that person's 
assigned roles. These provisions would, in effect, require employers to 
first assess the type and extent of the assigned tasks associated with 
each role and determine that the roles do not interfere with each 
other.
    Paragraph (i). OSHA is reserving this paragraph because it is 
difficult for readers to have to distinguish if the letter (i) is being 
used as a letter or as a roman numeral.
    Paragraph (j). The employer would be required to provide, and 
ensure the use of, equipment necessary to maintain safe conditions in a 
PRCS. OSHA believes that providing such equipment, and using it 
correctly, would prevent injuries and fatalities in PRCSs. Accordingly, 
the purpose of this proposed paragraph is to ensure the availability 
and proper use of whatever equipment is necessary to reduce the dangers 
posed by PRCSs.
    Paragraph (j)(1). The employer would be required to provide 
communication equipment necessary for compliance with paragraphs 
(f)(5), (g)(2), and (h)(2) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 (requirements 
for entrant-to-attendant communication and rescue-service summoning 
requirements, respectively). Such equipment may be of a variety of 
types (for example, cell phones, two-way hand-held radios), so long as 
it is effective. If there is weak or unpredictable signal strength 
where the device is used, the device would not meet the requirements of 
the proposed standard. Properly operating communication equipment is 
essential in relaying information to persons of authority regarding 
potentially dangerous changes in the PRCS

[[Page 67371]]

conditions. Such information is necessary to monitor the hazards within 
the space and to provide guidance on methods appropriate for protecting 
or removing employees from those hazards.
    Paragraph (j)(2). The employer would be required to provide 
lighting equipment to illuminate PRCSs that provides the illumination 
levels specified by 29 CFR 1926.56 (Illumination). OSHA believes that 
this proposed requirement would assist employees in conducting safe 
PRCS operations, including safe escape from a PRCS if necessary.
    Paragraph (j)(3). The employer would be required to provide 
railings, covers, or barriers as required in paragraphs (b) and (c) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1209 and paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210. 
OSHA believes that this proposed requirement is necessary to keep 
unauthorized employees from entering the PRCS and to help protect 
employees inside the PRCS from being struck by objects and individuals 
falling into the PRCSs. When providing this equipment, employers must 
ensure that it complies with the requirements of other applicable OSHA 
standards (for example, guardrails must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 
1926.502(b) (Guardrail systems), covers must conform to 29 CFR 
1926.502(i) (Covers)).
    Paragraph (j)(4). The employer would be required to provide and 
ensure the use of equipment, such as ladders, needed for safe entry 
into and exit from the PRCS. In doing so, employers must ensure that 
this equipment, including its use by employees, complies with the 
requirements of the applicable OSHA standards (for example, 29 CFR Part 
1926 subpart X for ladders and stairways, 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart L 
for scaffolds). This equipment is critical under emergency-egress 
conditions to ensure that employees exit a PRCS in a timely and safe 
manner.
    Paragraph (j)(5). The employer would be required to provide rescue 
and emergency equipment that complies with proposed Sec.  1926.1213 
(PRCS--rescue criteria), unless an entry rescue service provides its 
own rescue and emergency equipment. This proposed paragraph would 
ensure that the proper equipment is provided for rescuing authorized 
entrants in the event of an emergency in a PRCS.
    Paragraph (j)(6). The employer would be required to provide any 
other equipment necessary for the safe rescue of employees working in 
or near a PRCS. OSHA believes this proposed requirement would address 
hazards that are unique to a PRCS rescue, thereby ensuring that 
employees receive adequate protection from these hazards under 
emergency conditions. Accordingly, the employer would have to identify 
this additional equipment, if any, after conducting an assessment of 
the PRCS as required by the applicable sections of this proposed 
standard.
    Paragraph (k). The employer would be required to document in the 
entry permit determinations made and actions taken pursuant to the 
paragraphs (b) through (j) of this proposed section. OSHA believes that 
proper implementation of these complex and critical safe-entry 
procedures depends on adequate documentation. Therefore, this proposed 
provision requires employers to document relevant information about the 
PRCS in the permit that it obtains while preparing for entry 
operations; this information pertains to the isolation of hazards, 
planned conditions, and other information required for safe PRCS entry. 
For example, the actions an employer takes to remove a pressurized or 
extremely heavy manhole cover (a physical hazard) as required by 
paragraph (b) of this proposed section is the type of information that 
employers would have to include in the entry permit. In contrast, this 
provision would not require employers to document all the information 
specified in paragraphs (b) through (j) of this proposed section, 
``only determinations made'' and ``actions taken''; for example, 
employers would not have to document on the entry permit whether an 
entry supervisor meets the requirements specified in paragraph (e)(2) 
of this proposed section (Entry supervisor requirements) before 
assigning the applicable duties, nor would they have to document 
information already required under paragraph (a) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1214. (See the sample entry permit in Appendix B of this proposed 
standard for an example of the type of information that may be required 
under this proposed provision.)
    The information provided in the entry permit under this proposed 
paragraph would help the entry supervisor ensure that all required 
safety steps are complete before authorizing entry into the PRCS. 
Furthermore, including this information in the entry permit provides a 
ready reference for questions that may arise from authorized entrants 
and their authorized representative about whether conditions in or 
around the PRCS deviate from planned conditions and, if so, for the 
entrants to initiate an evacuation of the PRCS.

Section 1926.1211--PRCS--During Entry

    This proposed section details the requirements that would apply 
while any employee is in a PRCS. The proposed requirements address the 
duties of entry supervisors, attendants, and authorized entrants, as 
well as hazard monitoring and rescue.
    Paragraph (a). The employer would be required to ensure that 
physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS remain isolated or 
controlled, or that the employees remain protected from them, in 
accordance with the determinations made under proposed Sec.  1926.1208 
(Permit-required confined spaces), while any employee is in the PRCS. 
If the employer cannot maintain isolation or control of the physical 
and atmospheric hazards, or protect employees from these hazards, 
within the parameters established under proposed Sec.  1926.1208, then 
the employer would be required to terminate the entry.
    Paragraph (b). The employer would be required to monitor 
atmospheric hazards in accordance with the requirements specified in 
proposed Sec.  1926.1205 (Atmospheric testing and monitoring) while 
employees are in the PRCS. Monitoring must be continuous unless the 
employer can demonstrate that the equipment is not commercially 
available or periodic monitoring is sufficient. In contrast to many 
general industry PRCSs, in the typical PRCS construction setting, it is 
often difficult for the employer to predict with reasonable certainty 
the levels of hazardous atmospheres. In many instances the employer 
will have little or no past experience with the particular PRCS, and 
will lack reliable historical data on hazard levels. Also, the PRCS may 
be altered as construction work progresses in ways that may cause 
unexpected increases in hazard levels. For example, changes to the wall 
of a PRCS may allow hazardous gasses to enter the space at higher 
levels than before the wall was altered.
    In addition, construction equipment in the space may not operate as 
expected and may discharge hazardous gasses at a higher rate than 
anticipated. In short, construction work tends to follow a less 
predictable course than work covered by the general industry standard 
and, thus, requires atmospheric monitoring more frequently. Because of 
this high level of unpredictability, OSHA believes that continuous 
monitoring will normally be needed to ensure that affected employees, 
especially the entrants, are protected. This proposed provision

[[Page 67372]]

would enable deteriorating conditions to be recognized quickly and new 
atmospheric hazards identified in time to take the actions required to 
protect the employees.
    The Agency recognizes, however, that in some PRCSs, especially when 
the same PRCS has been repeatedly entered and monitored and found to 
have a stable atmosphere (such as a remote location that is not 
proximate to potential sources of atmospheric hazards), the employer 
may be able to show that periodic monitoring will be sufficient to 
ensure that the conditions in the PRCS remain within planned 
conditions. However, when periodic monitoring is used, it must be of 
sufficient frequency to ensure that atmospheric hazards are being 
controlled as planned and that new hazards would be detected in time to 
protect the employees. In some cases, continuous monitoring may not be 
possible; for example, continuous monitoring typically is not available 
when the atmospheric hazard is a particulate. Therefore, when the 
employer can show that periodic monitoring is adequate, or demonstrate 
that the technology for continuous monitoring is not available, OSHA 
would permit the employer to use effective periodic monitoring instead 
of continuous monitoring.
    Paragraph (c). This proposed paragraph specifies that the employer 
must document the procedures used, and the monitoring results obtained, 
under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this proposed section by entering this 
information in the entry permit in accordance with paragraph (a) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1214 (Contents). OSHA believes that it is important 
that the entry supervisor have before him/her readily available 
evidence that pre-entry conditions have been checked and the results of 
the tests noted. Additionally, the authorized entrants will be able to 
check the permit to confirm that testing has been done and that safe 
conditions exist. The entrants and attendants would have this 
information readily available to facilitate identifying when current 
conditions in or near the confined space begin to deviate from pre-
entry conditions and take appropriate precautions.
    Paragraph (d). This proposed paragraph specifies the duties of the 
entry supervisor that the employer would have to ensure are met while 
employees are in the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d)(1). The entry supervisor would have the duty of 
ensuring that entry conditions are being properly monitored and that 
they remain consistent with the planned conditions specified in the 
entry permit. By requiring the employer to have an individual on site 
with this authority, the likelihood that the required monitoring and 
adherence to planned conditions will be met, which is critical to the 
successful implementation of safe PRCS procedures, would be enhanced.
    Paragraph (d)(2). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
entry supervisor removes individuals who are not authorized entrants 
who enter or attempt to enter a PRCS. Unauthorized entrants lack the 
safety training necessary to work in the PRCS, and their presence was 
not planned for in developing the entry permit. Their presence not only 
poses a danger to themselves, but may also endanger the authorized 
entrants in the space.
    Paragraph (d)(3). The provisions of this proposed paragraph 
identify the conditions under which employers are to ensure that an 
entry supervisor evacuates authorized entrants from a PRCS as quickly 
as possible. For example, the employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor orders authorized entrants to exit the PRCS when 
the entry supervisor detects (such as by seeing a reading on a gas 
monitor) or learns of (such as by hearing a warning from an employee) 
one of the conditions listed in paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this proposed 
section. OSHA believes that each of these conditions represents 
potential precursors to serious safety hazards that threaten the health 
and well being of employees working in and near the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(i)(A). The employer would be required to ensure 
that the entry supervisor orders authorized entrants to exit the PRCS 
when the entry supervisor detects or learns of an unplanned condition 
(for example, a new hazard or a hazard level that exceeds the planned 
level) in or near the PRCS. Employees need to be removed from the PRCS 
as quickly as possible in such cases because the safety procedures 
delineated in the permit are designed to work in the context of 
conditions in the space staying within the planned parameters.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(i)(B). The employer would be required to ensure 
that the entry supervisor orders the PRCS evacuated if he/she detects 
or learns of a sign, symptom, unusual behavior, or other effect of a 
hazard in authorized entrants. OSHA believes that these effects may 
indicate that conditions within the PRCS are deviating from the 
conditions specified in the entry permit. Such indications may result 
from a new hazard, a hazard level that exceeds planned levels, or from 
personal protective equipment that is not working as planned. In such 
circumstances, removal from the space is necessary to protect the 
employees.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(i)(C). The employer would be required to ensure 
that the entry supervisor orders authorized entrants to exit the PRCS 
when an evacuation alarm, if used, indicates an emergency. These alarms 
may be atmospheric or engulfment-hazard monitor alarms or alarms 
manually activated by an authorized entrant or other employee. This 
proposed provision would provide protection to entrants by removing 
them from a PRCS in the event of a warning of impending danger.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(i)(D). The employer would be required to ensure 
that the entry supervisor orders the authorized entrants to exit the 
space when a situation outside the PRCS occurs that could endanger the 
entrants. OSHA recognizes that the work environment on construction 
sites often involves multiple tasks occurring simultaneously, often by 
different contractors. Sometimes conditions or activities outside the 
PRCS can pose a hazard for employees inside the PRCS. Some examples are 
equipment or materials blocking a PRCS entrance, dangerous approaching 
storms, and exhaust from vehicles or generators. Another example that 
would trigger this proposed requirement would be a spilling of a toxic 
chemical outside the PRCS where there is a possibility that the 
chemical or its gasses could migrate into the PRCS.
    Paragraph (d)(3)(ii). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry supervisor orders the authorized entrants to exit the space 
if the entry supervisor can no longer perform effectively and safely 
all of the duties specified by paragraph (e)(2) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1210 (Entry supervisor requirements), and no new entry supervisor 
was immediately available to serve as a replacement. OSHA believes this 
proposed requirement is necessary because of the importance of the 
entry supervisor in implementing safe entry procedures.
    Paragraph (d)(4). Under this proposed paragraph, employers must 
ensure that the entry supervisor cancels the entry permit under the 
three specified circumstances. Nothing in this proposed standard 
precludes an entry supervisor from being given authority to cancel 
permits for additional reasons not specified by this proposed 
paragraph. However, under this proposed provision, if any of these 
three circumstances occurs, then the employer must ensure that the 
entry supervisor cancels the entry permit.

[[Page 67373]]

    If an evacuation is required under paragraph (d)(3) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1211 (Evacuation), or any of the conditions that require a 
reassessment under paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1207 occurs, 
the entry supervisor would be required to cancel the entry permit. This 
proposed requirement is necessary because if either of these 
circumstances arises, safe operations cannot be assured until the entry 
conditions and entry procedures are reassessed. It also is necessary to 
cancel the entry permit once the entry operations covered by the entry 
permit have been completed because, at the completion of those 
operations, conditions in the space may have changed. Safe re-entry 
would, therefore, necessitate a new permit.
    Paragraph (e). In the event that supervisor duties are transferred 
from one entry supervisor to another entry supervisor, the employer 
would be required to ensure that the new entry supervisor meets the 
requirements specified for entry supervisors before assuming these 
duties. OSHA recognizes that entry supervisors will need to be replaced 
occasionally for various reasons (for example, shift changes, lunch 
breaks, and regular rotations to other tasks at the job site). This 
proposed requirement is necessary to ensure that the new entry 
supervisor has the requisite knowledge and authority to assume this 
role.
    Paragraph (e)(1). The employer would be required to ensure that a 
new entry supervisor meets the requirements specified in paragraph 
(e)(2) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210 (Entry supervisor requirements). In 
such cases, it is imperative that the replacement supervisor have the 
requisite knowledge and authority for serving as the entry supervisor.
    Paragraph (e)(2). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
new entry supervisor reviews the entry permit and verifies that entry 
conditions are consistent with the planned conditions specified in the 
entry permit. OSHA believes that it is important for a new entry 
supervisor to review the entry permit and determine whether the planned 
entry conditions have been maintained, just as it was important for the 
original entry supervisor to do so upon initial entry into the space. 
Furthermore, by reviewing the permit the new entry supervisor will 
become familiar with the current entry conditions and check for 
consistency with the planned entry conditions specified in the permit. 
By ensuring that each entry supervisor verifies entry conditions 
immediately upon taking responsibility for the PRCS, the overall 
continuity of safety can be better maintained.
    Paragraph (e)(3). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
new entry supervisor also signs the entry permit. The purpose of this 
proposed requirement is to distinguish the current entry supervisor on 
the job site from the individual he/she has replaced. Because the entry 
supervisor may need to be summoned in time of emergency, it is a 
benefit to have information about the conditions of the PRCS, and the 
persons responsible for safe entry into the space, available in one 
place. In addition, the signature requirement underscores to the 
employer and the entry supervisor the importance of his/her 
determination that the prerequisites for safe entry listed in the 
permit are being met.
    Paragraph (f). The provisions of this proposed paragraph list the 
duties an attendant must perform to maintain a safe work environment in 
the PRCS while any authorized entrant is in a PRCS.
    Paragraph (f)(1). The employer would be required to ensure that 
each attendant continuously maintains an accurate count of the 
authorized entrants who are in the PRCS. A continuously accurate count 
is necessary because, in the event of an evacuation, it would be needed 
to ascertain if all of the entrants have exited the space.
    Paragraph (f)(2). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
attendant has the means to accurately identify authorized entrants who 
are in the PRCS; paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of proposed Sec.  1926.1214 
(Personnel, equipment, and procedures) provides information regarding 
methods that employers may use to meet this proposed requirement. The 
Agency believes that this proposed requirement is necessary because in 
some instances, in the event of an evacuation in which not all 
authorized entrants exit the space, having the names of the authorized 
entrants can help in determining the location of the employees who 
remain in the PRCS, thereby assisting in their rescue.
    Paragraph (f)(3). The employer would be required to ensure that an 
attendant remains at a location outside of the PRCS that allows the 
attendant to fully perform the duties and responsibilities specified in 
this proposed section, and does so until properly relieved by another 
attendant. Accordingly, the attendant would be prohibited from entering 
the PRCS while performing attendant duties. The reasons for prohibiting 
the attendant from entering the space were explained above with respect 
to paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210 (Attendant). The attendant 
also is prohibited from entering for rescue purposes unless all of the 
following occur: He/she is relieved of his/her assignment as an 
attendant and replaced by another attendant, and has been trained and 
equipped to perform an entry rescue in accordance with proposed Sec.  
1926.1213 (PRCS--rescue criteria).
    Note that, under this proposed provision, an attendant must remain 
outside the PRCS and therefore is prohibited from simultaneously 
serving as an attendant and authorized entrant. This prohibition is 
needed because the two functions are incompatible. The attendant must 
be outside the space at all times so that, if an unsafe condition 
arises in the space, the attendant will not be affected by that 
condition. As the key link in arranging for the rescue of the entrants, 
it is critical that the attendant not be affected by those conditions.
    Paragraph (f)(4). The employer would be required to ensure that an 
attendant monitors entry conditions to determine if they are consistent 
with the entry permit. Given the speed with which some PRCS hazards can 
incapacitate and kill authorized entrants, it is essential that the 
attendant recognize any changes in entry conditions that would indicate 
that the PRCS must be evacuated. OSHA believes that the earlier the 
attendant detects changes in entry conditions, the more probable that 
self-rescue of the entrants can be achieved in lieu of performing other 
rescue procedures. Monitoring the conditions within the PRCS is a 
critical element in such a system.
    Paragraph (f)(5). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
attendant communicates with authorized entrants as necessary to monitor 
their status and to alert them of the need to evacuate the PRCS as 
specified below in paragraph (g)(2) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211. OSHA 
believes that an authorized entrant's communication with the attendant 
provides information that the attendant needs to determine if the entry 
can be allowed to continue. For example, subtle behavioral changes 
detected in the entrant's speech or deviation from set communication 
procedures could alert the attendant that it is necessary to evacuate 
or rescue the entrant. In addition, if the need arises, the attendant 
must communicate an order to evacuate to the entrants since the 
entrants may not know that there is an emergency.
    Paragraph (f)(6). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
attendant monitors activities inside and outside the PRCS to determine 
if the PRCS remains safe for authorized entrants.

[[Page 67374]]

This proposed requirement is similar to paragraph (f)(4) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1211, except the focus is on activities that may adversely 
influence conditions in the PRCS. As explained below regarding 
paragraph (f)(12)(i)(D) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211, activities outside 
the space may pose dangers to the authorized entrants in the PRCS. 
Typically, the authorized entrants will not be able to see or hear what 
is going on outside the PRCS, and will be preoccupied with their tasks 
in the space. Also, the authorized entrants may not be aware of adverse 
effects of activities that are taking place inside the space. 
Consequently, the attendant needs to have a high level of awareness 
about how activities occurring inside and outside the space may affect 
the authorized entrants.
    Paragraph (f)(7). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
attendant informs the employer when a non-entry or entry rescue begins, 
or when an authorized entrant may need medical aid or assistance in 
escaping from the PRCS. Initiation of a rescue, or a belief by the 
attendant that there may be a need for medical assistance or assistance 
in escaping the PRCS, signals a serious incident in which additional 
help may be needed. That information needs to be conveyed to the 
employer so that arrangements for such additional help, if necessary, 
can be facilitated. It also informs the employer that the PRCS may need 
to be reassessed before additional work can take place inside the 
space.
    Paragraph (f)(8). This proposed provision would require employers 
to ensure that the attendant performs non-entry rescues as specified 
below by paragraph (h)(1) of this proposed section and by paragraph (a) 
of proposed Sec.  1926.1213 (Non-entry rescue criteria). When properly 
executed, the attendant's performance of non-entry rescue can be the 
fastest and most effective means of successfully rescuing an entrant, 
while preventing injuries and deaths that may result from improperly 
executed entry rescue operations.
    Paragraph (f)(9). The employer would be required to prohibit the 
attendant from entering the PRCS for rescue purposes unless the 
employer provides the appropriate training and equipment specified 
below in paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  1926.1213 (Protecting and 
training rescue-service employees), and ensures that another attendant 
properly relieves the attendant prior to performing the entry rescue. 
As discussed above in paragraph (f)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211, the 
attendant must remain outside of the PRCS during a rescue operation 
until relieved by another attendant. Only when the relieved attendant 
is equipped and trained to perform a rescue in accordance with this 
proposed standard would that person be permitted to enter the PRCS for 
a rescue.
    OSHA believes that these requirements are necessary to prevent 
multiple fatalities occurring when an untrained and unequipped 
attendant discovers that a co-worker has been incapacitated inside a 
PRCS and enters the PRCS to rescue the victim, only to also become 
incapacitated. Proper training and equipment, as well as an attendant 
outside the space, are prerequisites for safely rescuing, and rendering 
appropriate medical assistance to, the injured or incapacitated 
authorized entrant.
    Paragraph (f)(10). The employer would be required to prohibit the 
attendant from performing any task that would interfere with the 
primary duty of monitoring and protecting the authorized entrants. The 
Agency believes that authorized entrants will be endangered if the 
attendant is distracted from these duties. If an attendant performs a 
task that diverts his/her attention from the attendant duties, an 
emergency condition inside or outside the space could go undetected 
until it is too late. OSHA also recognizes that some tasks, 
particularly those that enhance the attendant's knowledge of conditions 
in the permit space, can be performed safely by the attendant. For 
example, passing tools to authorized entrants and remote monitoring of 
the atmosphere of the PRCS are among the types of duties that would be 
permitted, provided that the attendant does not enter the PRCS. 
Activities requiring close and/or prolonged concentration, or those 
requiring that the attendant be away from his/her post outside the 
PRCS, would likely interfere with attendant duties and, thus, could 
generally not be assigned to or performed by an attendant.
    Paragraph (f)(11). The employer would be required to ensure that an 
attendant warns any individual who is not an authorized entrant and 
approaches the PRCS to stay away from the PRCS. If a person enters the 
space who is not an authorized entrant, the attendant must tell the 
individual to exit the space immediately and inform the entrants and 
entry supervisor of the unauthorized entry. OSHA recognizes that there 
are individuals who may mistakenly believe that they are supposed to 
work on a task in the space or who may simply wander by or into the 
space unaware of the dangers of the PRCS. Paragraph (a)(1) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1209 would require the employer to notify the controlling 
contractor and the employees the employer anticipates will be working 
in or near the PRCS, and their authorized representatives, about the 
location of and dangers posed by the space. However, if someone other 
than an authorized entrant happens to approach the PRCS, OSHA believes 
it is necessary to have the attendant make that individual aware that 
he/she must stay away from the PRCS.
    Because an attendant may not have supervisory authority, or because 
the errant individual may work for another contractor at a multi-
employer construction site, an attendant may not have the authority to 
stop unauthorized individuals from entering the PRCS or require them to 
exit once they are inside. Therefore, the proposed provision would 
require the attendant to notify the entry supervisor, along with the 
authorized entrants, of this situation.
    Paragraph (f)(12). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the attendant orders the authorized entrants to exit the space as 
quickly as possible when any of the conditions listed in provisions 
(f)(12)(i) or (f)(12)(ii) of this proposed paragraph exist. This 
responsibility mirrors the requirements for entry supervisors specified 
in paragraph (d)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 (Evacuation).
    Paragraph (g). Under the provisions of this proposed paragraph, the 
employer must ensure that authorized entrants perform specific duties 
that will ensure their safety during entry operations, or during 
evacuation or rescue from the PRCS. These duties include using 
retrieval equipment properly, communicating regularly with the 
attendant for monitoring purposes, informing the attendant of the 
effects of a hazard, and knowing the conditions requiring evacuation 
from the PRCS.
    Paragraph (g)(1). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
authorized entrant properly uses the retrieval equipment as required in 
paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1213. OSHA 
believes that proper use of such equipment is essential for preventing 
a rescue attempt itself from harming the incapacitated authorized 
entrant. An example of how many employers meet this obligation is 
through the implementation of safe work practices, and effective 
enforcement of those practices.
    Paragraph (g)(2). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
authorized entrant communicates with the attendant as necessary to help 
the attendant effectively monitor the authorized entrant's status and, 
if necessary, so that the entrant can be told

[[Page 67375]]

to evacuate the PRCS according to paragraph (f)(5) of this proposed 
section. OSHA believes that the authorized entrant's communication with 
the attendant provides information that the attendant needs to know to 
determine whether there is a need to evacuate the PRCS.
    Paragraph (g)(3). The employer would be required to ensure that 
each authorized entrant informs the attendant of any sign, symptom, 
unusual behavior, or other effect of a hazard. In some instances, a 
properly trained authorized entrant may be able to recognize and report 
his/her own symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, or slurred speech, 
and take the required action. In other cases, the authorized entrant, 
once the effects begin, will be unable to recognize or report them. In 
cases in which other, unimpaired, authorized entrants are in the PRCS, 
this proposed provision would require employers to ensure that these 
authorized entrants are properly trained to recognize signs, symptoms, 
and other hazard-exposure effects in other authorized entrants, and 
report these effects to the attendant.
    Paragraph (g)(4). Under this proposed paragraph, employers would be 
required to ensure that authorized entrants evacuate the space as 
quickly as possible when any of the conditions described below in 
proposed paragraphs (g)(4)(i) and (g)(4)(ii) are present.
    Paragraph (g)(4)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
each authorized entrant exits the PRCS as quickly as possible when the 
entry supervisor or the attendant orders the authorized entrant to 
evacuate the space. (Entry supervisors and attendants would have 
authority to order authorized entrants to evacuate the PRCS under 
paragraphs (d)(3) and (f)(12) of this proposed section, respectively.) 
It is essential that the authorized entrants understand the urgency of 
compliance with the command to evacuate, particularly because the 
attendant or entry supervisor may be aware of a hazard that the 
authorized entrant does not detect on his/her own. Even when there is 
disagreement between the entry supervisor and attendant as to whether 
to evacuate, the authorized entrant would be required under this 
proposed provision to evacuate if either the entry supervisor or the 
attendant orders the entrants to do so. OSHA believes that this 
proposed provision is necessary because emergencies within a confined 
space are time-sensitive, and the entry supervisor and attendant may 
have differing information as to the types of the hazards within the 
PRCS.
    Paragraph (g)(4)(ii). This proposed provision lists the three 
conditions under which an employer would be required to ensure that an 
authorized entrant evacuates the PRCS. These conditions mirror the 
conditions under which an entry supervisor or attendant must order the 
entrants to exit the space specified above by paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(A) 
through (d)(3)(i)(C) and (f)(12)(i)(A) through (f)(12)(i)(C) of this 
proposed section. OSHA discussed the rationale for these conditions 
previously in this preamble under paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(A) through 
(d)(3)(i)(C) of this proposed section.
    Paragraph (h). The provisions of this proposed paragraph specify 
the requirements for non-entry and entry rescue.
    Paragraph (h)(1). This proposed paragraph sets forth the 
requirements for non-entry rescue.
    Paragraph (h)(1)(i). According to this proposed provision, the 
employer must make available procedures and equipment for non-entry 
rescue that meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1213 during the period when authorized entrants are in the PRCS. 
OSHA believes that compliance with the rescue requirements in paragraph 
(a) of proposed Sec.  1926.1213 would enable an employer to extricate 
authorized entrants in a timely manner from PRCSs when uncontrolled 
hazards arise, thereby preventing the adverse consequences of exposure 
to these hazards.
    The Agency recognizes that an employer who complies fully with this 
proposed standard may never need to rescue an authorized entrant. 
However, even with full compliance, problems could arise during entry 
operations resulting in a situation where employees are unprotected. 
Such extraordinary circumstances could subject an employee to hazards 
within the PRCS without warning, and leave the employee incapacitated. 
OSHA believes it is necessary to require employers to provide this 
critical non-entry rescue function for employees who work in PRCSs.
    Paragraph (h)(1)(ii). This proposed paragraph would require that, 
unless the conditions specified in paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this 
proposed section are present, the employer must initiate a non-entry 
rescue if there is either a need to evacuate the PRCS pursuant to 
paragraphs (d)(3), (f)(12), or (g)(4) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 and 
the employee is unable to evacuate without assistance; or a reasonable 
probability exists that an employee may need immediate medical aid and 
is unable to exit the PRCS without assistance. In many cases entry 
rescue would take longer than non-entry rescue. This provision is 
necessary to ensure that the authorized entrants are rescued as soon as 
possible to maximize their chance of survival and limiting their 
injuries, as well as minimizing risk of injury to the rescue-service 
employees.
    Paragraph (h)(1)(iii). This proposed provision would prohibit the 
initiation of a non-entry rescue if doing so would present a greater 
hazard to the employee than sole reliance on entry rescue (for example, 
where the configuration of the space would cause the retrieval lines to 
not work or result in greater injury to the employee than injury from 
waiting for entry rescue). This proposed provision acknowledges that 
there are specific situations where non-entry rescue would not be 
appropriate; it is aimed at preventing additional injuries or 
fatalities to an authorized entrant caused by use of non-entry 
equipment and methods that are incompatible with the conditions of the 
PRCS.
    Paragraph (h)(2). This proposed paragraph specifies the following 
four situations in which employers would have to immediately summon an 
entry rescue service: (1) A non-entry rescue is initiated; (2) there is 
a need to evacuate pursuant to paragraphs (d)(3), (f)(12), or (g)(4) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1211, and the employee is unable to evacuate 
without assistance; (3) there is a reasonable probability that an 
employee may need immediate medical aid and is unable to exit the PRCS 
without assistance; or (4) if a non-entry rescue is prohibited as 
specified in paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this proposed section.
    In the first situation, a non-entry rescue may not be successful--
that is, for unforeseen reasons, the attendant may not be able to get 
the authorized entrant out quickly, or at all. To prevent such a 
situation from resulting in injury or death, it is necessary that an 
entry rescue service already be in the process of responding to the 
emergency. Summoning the entry rescue service at the same time that the 
non-entry rescue is initiated minimizes the likelihood of additional 
injuries or death.
    If an employer fails to initiate a non-entry rescue as required by 
paragraph (h)(1)(ii)(A) and (h)(1)(ii)(B) of this proposed section, 
under the second and third situations, they must still summon an entry 
rescue service when: there is a need to evacuate the PRCS pursuant to 
paragraphs (d)(3), (f)(12), or (g)(4) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211, and 
the employee is unable to evacuate without assistance; or a reasonable 
probability exists that an employee may need immediate medical aid and 
is unable to

[[Page 67376]]

exit the PRCS without assistance. This proposed provision emphasizes an 
employer's continuing responsibility to ensure that employees are 
rescued from a PRCS when necessary.
    In the event that an authorized entrant needs to be rescued but the 
employer is precluded from initiating a non-entry rescue under 
paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this proposed section, the fourth situation 
would require the employer to summon the entry rescue service because 
it is the only means of rescuing the authorized entrant.

Section 1926.1212--PRCS--Terminating Entry

    This proposed section specifies what, at a minimum, needs to be 
done at the completion of work within a PRCS to ensure a safe 
termination of entry.
    Paragraph (a). The requirements described in this proposed 
paragraph cover procedures for terminating entry into a PRCS under both 
planned and emergency conditions. Before entry, an employer must have 
in place procedures for safely terminating entry into the PRCS. 
Paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  1926.1209 (Safe termination procedures) 
requires that this procedure be developed before entry into the PRCS. 
The employer must implement these procedures when warranted by either 
planned or emergency conditions. The safe termination of entry 
operations includes preventing any further entry into the PRCS by 
employees (except for entry rescue services), and, when required, the 
safe evacuation of employees in the affected PRCS. This proposed 
provision is necessary to ensure that employees are not harmed in the 
process of terminating the entry. For example, it may be necessary for 
certain construction operations and tools near an entrance/exit to be 
stopped and secured before employees begin to exit.
    Paragraph (b). This proposed provision specifies that the employer 
must ensure that a PRCS entry supervisor terminates the entry and 
cancels the permit when the entry operation covered by the permit has 
been completed in the designated PRCS, upon expiration of the entry 
permit, completion of entry operations covered by the permit, any of 
the indications that require a reassessment under paragraph (b) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1207, or evacuation required under paragraph (d)(3) 
of proposed Sec.  1926.12ll, whichever occurs first. When the time 
limit specified by the entry permit expires, even when work remains to 
be performed in the PRCS, the entry supervisor must terminate entry, 
cancel the permit, and re-issue a new permit in accordance with 
paragraph (a) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210 (Entry permit) before 
allowing further work in the PRCS. In addition, the employer must keep 
all cancelled entry permits in accordance with the requirements 
proposed below in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219 (Retaining 
entry permits). Requiring the entry supervisor to terminate the entry 
permit under the specified conditions ensures that the employees will 
exit the space in accordance with planned conditions or to avoid 
encountering hazards arising from unplanned conditions within the PRCS.
    This proposed paragraph also contains a note stating that no 
employees can reenter the space until the employer: identifies the 
physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance with paragraph (b) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1204; follows the classification procedures 
specified by proposed Sec.  1926.1206 (Classification and precautions); 
and meets the accident-prevention and -protection requirements 
applicable to the space classification selected by the employer. This 
note serves to remind employers that it is necessary to ensure that the 
spaces are correctly assessed and that employees receive appropriate 
protection prior to reentering the space.

Section 1926.1213--PRCS--Rescue Criteria

    Paragraph (a). This proposed paragraph would require the employer 
to ensure that the training, equipment, and procedures specified for a 
safe non-entry rescue are fulfilled. OSHA believes that meeting these 
criteria would decrease the risk that an incapacitated entrant would 
sustain an injury or be killed as a result of the rescue.
    Paragraph (a)(1). This proposed paragraph would require the 
employer to ensure that attendants and other employees designated to 
perform non-entry rescue acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for 
the safe performance of non-entry rescue. This proposed requirement is 
necessary to ensure that these employees perform non-entry rescue 
safely and effectively.
    Paragraph (a)(2). This proposed paragraph lists minimum criteria 
for a retrieval system that OSHA believes are essential for ensuring 
the safe non-entry retrieval of employees during an emergency. The 
criteria are listed below in proposed paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through 
(a)(2)(iv).
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i). The retrieval system would be required to be 
available as soon as needed by the attendant or other rescue service. 
This proposed requirement is an important element of a preplanned 
rescue since it would eliminate further risk of injury and death 
resulting from time consumed in locating a retrieval system and 
bringing it to the PRCS.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii). The retrieval system used would have to be 
designed and manufactured for personnel retrieval. This proposed 
provision also allows for the use of job-made hoisting systems if these 
systems are approved for personnel hoisting by a registered 
professional engineer prior to use in PRCS entry operations. However, 
commercial hoisting systems not designed and manufactured specifically 
for personnel hoisting would not be permissible under this proposed 
provision because OSHA believes they cannot be used safely for this 
purpose. This proposed requirement would eliminate further injuries and 
deaths of employees which could occur from the use of retrieval 
equipment that was not designed specifically for personnel retrieval. 
The provision would give the employer flexibility in its choice of 
retrieval system by allowing a registered professional engineer to 
approve a job-made system. OSHA believes that either option would 
ensure that the retrieval system will meet the design specifications 
needed to operate safely during a non-entry rescue as required by this 
proposed standard.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(iii). The employer would be required to provide a 
retrieval system that the attendant or other rescue service can operate 
effectively. This proposed provision would eliminate employee injuries 
and deaths by ensuring that the retrieval system is usable and 
effective. For example, this proposed provision would prohibit a system 
that requires too much strength or stamina to operate, such as a hand-
cranked winch with insufficient gearing. The system must also be 
effective; for example, if a particular system pulled at such a slow a 
rate that an entrant could not be retrieved in time to prevent further 
injury, it would violate this proposed provision.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(iv). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the retrieval system includes the use of a chest or full-body harness 
and a retrieval line. OSHA believes that it is necessary for such a 
device to be used as part of the retrieval system to prevent employees 
from suffering further injuries during a rescue that result from 
unequal distribution of force on the body. This proposed requirement 
would be consistent with the requirements specified for fall-protection 
systems in 29 CFR 1926.502 (Fall protection systems criteria and 
practices) of 29 CFR

[[Page 67377]]

Part 1926 subpart M (Fall Protection). OSHA believes that when an 
employee must be suspended, even during a rescue, a chest or full-body 
harness is needed to prevent further injury to the employee.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(iv)(A). The employer would be required to have one 
end of the retrieval line attached to the chest or full-body harness in 
a manner that allows the attendant or other rescue service to remove 
the entrant from the PRCS without causing further injury. This proposed 
provision is similar to paragraph (k)(3)(i) of the general industry 
standard for confined spaces in that the proposed provision allows some 
flexibility in how the retrieval line must be connected to the chest or 
full-body harness of the employee in need of rescue. OSHA believes that 
requiring the retrieval line to be attached at the center of the 
entrant's back near shoulder level, or above an entrant's head, is too 
limiting. For example, extracting an employer from the confined space 
head first during a horizontal retrieval could cause more injuries to 
the employee. Accordingly, this proposed provision does not limit the 
methods utilized by the employer to safely rescue employees who perform 
construction work in various PRCS configurations. Therefore, OSHA 
proposes a performance-based provision that it believes would maintain 
the level of required employee protection while allowing employers 
flexibility in choosing effective retrieval systems.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(iv)(B). The employer would be required to have the 
other end of the retrieval line attached to a mechanical retrieval 
device or fixed anchor point outside the PRCS in a manner that allows 
rescue to begin as soon as the attendant or other rescue service 
detects or learns of the need for rescue. Movable equipment (for 
example, earth-moving equipment), that is sufficiently heavy to serve 
as an anchor point, may be used for this purpose only if effectively 
locked out or tagged out. This proposed provision would minimize the 
elapsed time between an attendant determining that a rescue is needed 
and commencing the PRCS rescue operation by requiring the essential 
parts of the retrieval system to already be in place and attached. This 
proposed requirement would eliminate further injury or death due to the 
delay resulting from locating and attaching retrieval system parts and 
equipment. While the provision would allow the use of suitably heavy 
moveable equipment (such as earthmoving equipment) to serve as an 
anchor point, it would require that such equipment be effectively 
locked out or tagged out to ensure that the equipment is not moved 
while serving as an anchor point.
    Paragraph (a)(3). For retrievals involving vertical distances over 
five feet (1.52 m), a mechanical retrieval device would be required to 
be provided and used. This device must not be used for entry into the 
PRCS unless it is designed for that purpose. OSHA believes that 
securing the line to an anchor point or using a simple pulley for this 
purpose could endanger the authorized entrant because most attendants 
do not have sufficient strength and stamina to lift a disabled entrant 
over a vertical distance of more than five feet. Therefore, the 
proposed requirement would ensure that the attendant or other rescue 
personnel be assisted by a mechanical device so that the entrant can be 
successfully extracted. The Agency considered that there will often be 
difficulties in setting up such equipment due to the general lack of 
room to position the equipment above the entry point of a PRCS, as well 
as the need to keep that entry clear for the attendant to observe the 
authorized entrants while they are working. Nevertheless, OSHA believes 
that the mechanical device is critical for entrant rescues involving 
these vertical spaces. However, powered winches, overhead cranes, fork 
trucks, and similar devices are not appropriate for this purpose 
because they may harm attendants (for example, impale them, damage 
limbs).
    Paragraph (a)(4). This proposed paragraph would clarify the types 
of equipment that are unsuitable and prohibited for use in a PRCS 
retrieval system. OSHA believes that by providing this information, 
injuries and deaths that result from the use of unsuitable retrieval 
equipment during rescue operations would be reduced. Descriptions of 
unsuitable retrieval equipment are provided below in paragraphs 
(a)(4)(i) through (a)(4)(iii).
    Paragraph (a)(4)(i). The use of equipment that increases the 
overall risk of entry or impedes rescue of an authorized entrant would 
be prohibited. This proposed provision would eliminate injuries and 
deaths that would occur when such equipment is used for rescue.
    Paragraph (a)(4)(ii). The use of retrieval lines that have a 
reasonable probability of becoming entangled with the retrieval lines 
used by other authorized entrants, or due to the internal configuration 
of the PRCS, would be prohibited. The Agency believes that there are 
situations where the retrieval lines of two or more employees can get 
entangled, such as where the employees' work necessitates them moving 
around each other. There are also a variety of situations where the 
configuration of the PRCS would inhibit a non-entry rescue and cause 
further serious injury to authorized entrants in need of rescue. For 
example, the PRCS may have objects or equipment protruding from its 
walls or sharp corners that may damage rescue equipment or inhibit the 
use of certain types of non-entry rescue equipment.
    Paragraph (a)(4)(iii). Wristlets or ankle straps would be 
prohibited from being used as attachment points for retrieval lines, 
unless the employer can demonstrate that: the use of a harness is 
infeasible or creates a greater hazard for safe rescue than wristlets 
or ankle straps; and wristlets or ankle straps are the safest 
alternative available. The Agency believes that this proposed 
requirement is necessary due to an increased risk of an employee being 
injured during a rescue when the retrieval lines are attached to 
wristlets or ankle straps as compared with being attached to a harness.
    Paragraph (a)(5). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
employees designated to perform non-entry rescue (including attendants, 
if applicable) have access to the PRCS the authorized entrant will 
enter or to a Simulated PRCS, to develop appropriate rescue plans and 
practice rescue operations prior to beginning entry operations. OSHA 
believes a rescue service needs to know the location, configuration, 
and other relevant aspects of a PRCS to develop and practice effective 
rescue procedures.
    Paragraph (b). The employer would be required to ensure that 
specified minimum requirements must be met by the entry rescue service 
so that it can effectively perform entry rescues. The provision also 
specifies information the employer would be required to provide to the 
entry rescue service before an entry rescue is made. In short, the 
employer must make sure that, whichever rescue service is used, it has 
the necessary rescue capabilities.
    Paragraph (b)(1). This proposed paragraph contains requirements 
that would ensure that the entry rescue service can effectively perform 
entry-rescue tasks in the PRCS. OSHA notes that during the rulemaking 
for the general industry confined-spaces standard, a question was 
raised as to whether an entry rescue service is limited to off-site 
rescue teams. The Agency made clear in that rulemaking that an employer 
could use an onsite team as long as all the criteria outlined in the 
standard were met. That rationale is equally applicable to this 
proposed rule. Consequently, the term ``rescue service'' in this 
proposed standard does

[[Page 67378]]

not exclude the use of an onsite entry rescue service.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(i). Under this proposed provision, in evaluating 
the entry rescue service, the employer would be required to determine 
that the entry rescue service can respond to a rescue summons in a 
timely manner. The provision defines timeliness as a function of how 
quickly an entry rescue service needs to reach an employee to prevent 
further serious physical harm that may result from hazards in the PRCS 
while waiting to be rescued.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(ii). Prior to using an entry rescue service for 
entry-rescue purposes, an employer would be required to provide the 
entry rescue service with access to the PRCS the authorized entrants 
will enter, or to a Simulated PRCS that is representative of the 
particular PRCS. OSHA believes that this proposed provision will allow 
the entry rescue service to become familiar with the configuration and 
features of the PRCS to which the employer may summon it to perform 
rescue operations, and thereby develop appropriate rescue plans and 
practice rescue operations. Access to the PRCS or a Simulated PRCS 
during planning and practice increases the probability that rescue 
operations will proceed more efficiently and effectively, thereby 
reducing the probability of serious injury or death to authorized 
entrants during an actual entry-rescue operation. Practicing rescues in 
a PRCS or Simulated PRCS also highlights deficiencies in rescue 
procedures, and allows for revisions of those procedures before they 
could adversely affect the safety of rescue-service employees and 
employees in need of rescue during an actual rescue operation.
    Paragraph (b)(2). Prior to the entry rescue service entering a PRCS 
for any purpose, the employer would be required to inform the entry 
rescue service of any physical and atmospheric hazards it is likely to 
confront in the PRCS, as well as any other relevant information known 
by the employer. This proposed provision would provide the entry rescue 
service with available information about hazards and conditions within 
the confined space so as to protect the rescue-service employees who 
enter the confined space for training, entry operations, or any other 
purpose.
    Paragraph (c). This proposed paragraph would require employers who 
use their own employees as a rescue service to provide those employees 
with the training and equipment needed to safely perform entry-rescue 
operations. OSHA believes that by meeting these minimum training and 
equipment requirements, the employer will eliminate employee injuries 
and deaths that could result from a lack of proficiency in the 
implementation of rescue procedures and the use of related rescue 
equipment. These training and equipment requirements are described 
below in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(6)(ii)
    Paragraph (c)(1). The employer would be required to provide its 
rescue-service employees with the personal protective equipment (PPE) 
and rescue equipment necessary for them to enter and safely perform 
PRCS rescue operations. OSHA believes the provisions in the proposed 
paragraph will help the employer prevent injuries and deaths that could 
occur without the appropriate PPE and equipment needed to safely 
perform PRCS entry rescues.
    Paragraph (c)(2). The employer would be required to train its 
rescue-service employees in the proper use of the PPE and rescue 
equipment required in paragraph (c)(1) of this proposed section. 
Training regarding the proper use of rescue equipment would include the 
care and inspection of breathing and ventilation gear, as well as 
emergency-evacuation equipment, and the use of two-way radios and fire-
fighting equipment. OSHA believes that requiring employee proficiency 
in the use of necessary PPE and rescue equipment will help the employer 
eliminate injuries and deaths caused by the improper use of such 
equipment.
    Paragraph (c)(3). An employer would be required to train the 
members of its rescue service to perform any rescue duties assigned to 
them. This proposed provision would ensure that rescue-service 
employees can perform their assigned duties proficiently and safely 
under hazardous PRCS conditions. Lack of such training would endanger 
both the rescue-service employees, as well as others affected by the 
PRCS rescue operations.
    Paragraph (c)(4). The employer would be required to train its 
rescue-service employees in basic first-aid and in cardiopulmonary 
resuscitation (CPR). The Agency believes this proposed requirement is 
necessary because of the hazards and resultant injuries that may occur 
in PRCSs. This proposed requirement also would improve the probability 
that the injured employees would survive until higher levels of medical 
attention become available.
    Paragraph (c)(5). Employers would be required to ensure that at 
least one of the rescue-service employees who participates in the 
onsite rescue operations holds current certification in first-aid, 
including CPR. OSHA believes that, in combination with the requirement 
in paragraph (c)(4) of this proposed section, there would be sufficient 
first-aid and CPR capability at a rescue scene. This proposed provision 
is identical to paragraph (k)(1)(iv) of the general industry confined-
spaces standard, and also meets the requirements for first-aid services 
specified by 29 CFR 1926.50(c).
    Paragraph (c)(6). Under this proposed paragraph, employers would be 
required to ensure that the rescue-service employees practice rescue 
operations at least once prior to the beginning of entry operations and 
at least once every 12 months thereafter. OSHA believes this training 
requirement for entry rescue-service employees is necessary to maintain 
proficiency in entry-rescue procedures and rescue equipment use. This 
training would also ensure that the entry rescue-service employees are 
trained on all revisions to entry-rescue procedures and are cognizant 
of any other new information regarding entry rescue.
    In a related requirement, proposed Sec.  1926.1213(b) specifies 
that employers must ensure that an entry rescue service can effectively 
perform an entry rescue in the PRCS that authorized entrants will 
enter. Confirming that the entry rescue service meets this requirement 
prior to any authorized entrants entering the PRCS provides a means of 
verifying that an entry rescue service can effectively perform a rescue 
at the employer's worksite.
    Paragraph (c)(6)(i). Employers would be required to ensure that 
rescue-service employees practice the removal of dummies, mannequins, 
or people from a PRCS or from a Simulated PRCS in compliance with the 
requirements of this proposed standard. By definition, Simulated PRCSs 
must also, with respect to size, configuration, entrance openings, and 
accessibility, conform to the types of PRCSs from which actual rescues 
would be performed. When any PRCS used for practice contains hazards, 
even if no other work/tasks are performed within the PRCS, the employer 
must ensure that the PRCS requirements of this proposed standard are 
met before any rescue-service employees enter the PRCS. The Agency 
believes that this type of practice is necessary to ensure that the 
entry rescue service will have the capability to perform an actual 
rescue in a PRCS.
    Paragraph (c)(6)(ii). Employers would be required to ensure that 
the same PPE, retrieval, and rescue equipment that will be used to 
perform an actual rescue is used for practicing rescues. This proposed 
requirement would ensure that rescue-service employees' training is 
directly applicable to an actual PRCS

[[Page 67379]]

rescue operation, thereby minimizing confusion and errors that could 
lead to injuries and deaths when performing actual rescue operations.
    Paragraph (d). This proposed paragraph would exempt an employer 
from providing the practice required above in paragraph (c)(6) of this 
proposed section when the rescue-service employees, within the previous 
12 months, properly performed a rescue operation in a similar or the 
same PRCS the authorized entrants will enter. OSHA believes the 
effective performance of such previous PRCS entry rescues would be at 
least the equivalent of the practice required under paragraph (c)(6) of 
this proposed section. In contrast, the unsatisfactory performance of a 
rescue operation during the preceding 12-month period (for example, 
rescue team members improperly used rescue equipment) would indicate 
the need for further practice, and would not meet the requirements of 
this proposed exemption.

Section 1926.1214--PRCS--Entry Permits

    Paragraph (a). The provisions of this proposed paragraph specify 
the required contents of entry permits. Entry permits provide key 
information about hazards in the PRCS, the methods used to protect 
employees from those hazards, and specify who is authorized to perform 
work within the PRCS, their duties, and the extent of their authority 
with respect to safety in and around the PRCS. OSHA believes the use of 
this administrative tool would be essential to the employer in its 
efforts to ensure that work within a PRCS will be completed safely. 
Making the information on this document accessible to employers and 
employees affected by the hazards in and around the PRCS also allows 
them to maintain an elevated awareness of the conditions within the 
PRCS, as well as the equipment and procedures necessary for safe PRCS 
entry operations.
    Paragraph (a)(1). This proposed provision lists the general-
information requirements for entry permits.
    Paragraph (a)(1)(i). The employer would be required to ensure that 
the entry permit contains the identification of the PRCS to be entered; 
the location of the PRCS could serve as its identification. This 
information would be needed to ensure that the correct permit is used 
for the PRCS.
    Paragraph (a)(1)(ii). Employers would be required to list in the 
entry permit the purpose of the PRCS entry, including the tasks or jobs 
authorized entrants are to perform in the PRCS. This information is 
needed to confirm that the performance of each specific construction 
activity has been considered in the hazard assessment of the PRCS. The 
performance of construction activities within the PRCS that have not 
been evaluated for their effect on the conditions within the space 
could result in serious injury or death.
    Paragraph (a)(1)(iii). The employer would be required to provide in 
the entry permit the effective date and the authorized duration of the 
permit. The effective date is the date on which authorized entrants may 
enter the PRCS as specified by other provisions of this proposed 
standard. The duration of the permit may not exceed the time required 
to complete the tasks or jobs identified above in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) 
of this proposed section, including the time necessary to set up and 
dismantle any tools or equipment required to perform the tasks or jobs. 
The employer need not list duration in terms of time, but instead may 
describe it in terms of the completion of tasks identified in the 
permit. For instance, the employer could describe the duration as 
``welding and repair of water main'' or ``upgrading equipment in an 
electrical vault.'' One purpose of this provision is to ensure that 
employees engaged in PRCS operations are informed of the period during 
which conditions in the PRCS must meet planned conditions as specified 
in the entry permit. A second purpose is to place some reasonable limit 
on the duration of the permit, since a permit of unlimited duration is 
not likely to account for changed PRCS conditions.
    Paragraph (a)(2). The employer would be required to specify in the 
entry permit the planned conditions necessary for safe entry into the 
PRCS. This proposed requirement would ensure that the authorized 
entrants, attendants, and entry supervisors have key information that 
can be readily referenced to confirm that the planned conditions within 
the PRCS are maintained.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i). The employer would be required to document 
information on entry permits regarding the physical and atmospheric 
hazards, methods of isolating, eliminating, and/or controlling these 
hazards, as well as hazard monitoring and testing results, and the 
levels at which hazards are to be maintained.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i)(A). Employers would be required to identify the 
physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS in the entry permit. This 
list, which must be consistent with proposed Sec.  1926.1206 
(Classification and precautions) and paragraph (a) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1208 (Permit-required confined spaces), must include all hazards, 
regardless of whether the employer protects the authorized entrants 
from the hazards by isolation, control, or personal protective 
equipment.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i)(B). Employers would be required to state the 
methods used to isolate or control hazards, or used to protect 
authorized entrants from the hazards within the PRCS. This information 
must be consistent with the requirements specified in paragraph (a) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1208 (Permit-required confined spaces) and proposed 
Sec.  1926.1210 (PRCS--preparing for entry), and must include the 
methods used to isolate or control the hazards, the type of personal 
protective equipment provided, the methods used to monitor each hazard 
(including the use of early-warning systems, if required by proposed 
Sec.  1926.1215 (Continuous-system PRCS)), and how frequently each 
hazard is to be monitored. (Note that under paragraph (b) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1211, monitoring of atmospheric hazards is required to be 
continuous unless the employer demonstrates that periodic monitoring is 
sufficient.) The permit need only refer to the procedures used to meet 
the requirements of this proposed paragraph in sufficient detail to 
enable employees to determine what measures are to be taken and how to 
perform those measures.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i)(C). Employers would be required to state in the 
entry permit the atmospheric-testing and -monitoring results obtained 
in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204, paragraph (a) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1211, paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211, and 
paragraph (a)(1) of proposed Sec.  1926.1215. In addition, the employer 
must include the type and brand of the equipment used to perform 
atmospheric testing or monitoring; the names and signatures or initials 
of those individuals who performed the testing and monitoring; and the 
date and time (or time period for continuous monitoring) they performed 
each test and conducted monitoring.
    Entering the testing and monitoring results in the permit enables 
the entry supervisor, attendants, and authorized entrants to determine 
readily whether planned conditions exist with regard to atmospheric 
hazards in the PRCS. This information could also be used to identify 
atmospheric conditions within the PRCS that need to be monitored 
frequently because atmospheric conditions tend to rise rapidly to 
hazardous levels. Providing information on the type and brand of 
equipment

[[Page 67380]]

used for atmospheric testing and monitoring would enable the entry 
supervisor to determine whether testing and monitoring are being 
conducted correctly, that is, according to the equipment manufacturer's 
instructions. Listing the names of those who performed the testing and 
monitoring would identify a point of contact to which entry supervisors 
and attendants can direct questions they may have regarding the results 
and procedures. The date and time (or, for continuous monitoring, a 
time period) would provide a basis for detecting dangerous trends in 
atmospheric conditions that may indicate that more frequent observation 
of the atmospheric data is necessary.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i)(D). Employers would be required to list the 
conditions under which authorized entrants can work safely in the PRCS, 
including hazard levels and methods of employee protection, consistent 
with the requirements specified in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1208 (Planned conditions). The list would include the levels which 
oxygen, flammable gases and vapors, and other hazardous substances must 
meet before and during PRCS entry. Additional information regarding 
PRCS conditions would include, for example, the methods used to 
maintain a water hazard at safe levels. This proposed provision also 
requires employers, when applicable, to provide the ventilation-
malfunction determinations made in paragraph (b)(2) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1208. Providing these determinations would inform employees (for 
example, entry supervisors, attendants, and authorized entrants) 
regarding the time required for the entrants to evacuate the PRCS 
should the ventilation system fail. Compliance with these proposed 
provisions would allow authorized entrants, attendants, and entry 
supervisors to reference the planned conditions stated in the permit 
and respond quickly to any deviations in these conditions, including 
ventilation-system failure.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii). The provisions of this proposed paragraph 
would require the employer to ensure that entry permits identify the: 
authorized entrants, attendants, and entry supervisor; methods used to 
maintain contact between authorized entrants and attendants; the rescue 
service and the methods, including communication equipment and 
telephone numbers, for summoning this service; and other equipment 
required to perform PRCS entry operations.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A). Employers would be required to identify by 
name or other effective identifier (such as initials or an 
identification number) the authorized entrants currently in the PRCS. 
This proposed requirement can be met by referring in the entry permit 
to a system such as a roster or tracking system used to keep track of 
who is currently in the PRCS. The availability of this information 
would enable the attendant or entry supervisor to quickly and 
accurately account for entrants who might still be in the PRCS when an 
emergency occurs. A second purpose is to provide assurance that all 
authorized entrants have exited the PRCS at the end of entry 
operations.
    OSHA believes that, as long as the system accurately tracks who is 
in the PRCS at any given moment, and as long as the attendant has 
immediate access to the system, the attendant will be able to confirm 
the complete evacuation of a space. Additionally, the rescue service 
will be able to account for all employees working inside the PRCS in 
the event of an emergency. A tracking system that lists the names of 
the employees who the employer designates as authorized entrants, but 
does not accurately account for the number of employees inside the PRCS 
at all times, would not meet the requirements of this proposed 
paragraph. Merely maintaining a list of authorized entrants, who may or 
may not be on the job site or inside the PRCS, would not help the 
employer determine how many authorized entrants are left inside the 
PRCS should an evacuation be necessary. Accordingly, OSHA believes that 
it is extremely important for the employer to be able to confirm that 
all authorized entrants have exited the PRCS during an evacuation. 
However, a tracking system that only keeps count of the number of 
authorized entrants inside the PRCS, without providing their names or 
other identifiers, also is not acceptable; knowing the name or other 
identifier of each entrant makes it easier for the rescuers to 
determine where the entrant is assigned to work in the PRCS, and 
thereby determine the entrant's probable location.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B). The employer would be required to list the 
names of the current attendants in the entry permit. This proposed 
requirement would facilitate identifying attendants quickly and easily, 
thereby expediting communications with them, which is necessary for the 
performance of safe PRCS entry operations and for the performance of 
specified duties during emergency situations. Without this proposed 
requirement, valuable time could be wasted attempting to find the 
attendant responsible for protecting authorized entrants during an 
emergency.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(C). The employer would be required to ensure 
that the entry permit contains the name of the current entry supervisor 
and the entry supervisor who originally authorized entry into the PRCS. 
In addition, this proposed paragraph would require the signature or 
initials of both of these individuals. In the event that the original 
entry supervisor and the current entry supervisor are the same 
individual, his/her name must appear twice in the entry permit: once as 
the original entry supervisor, and again as the current supervisor. 
These proposed requirements serve the same purpose described above for 
attendants in paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) of this proposed section. It is 
unnecessary to list the names of individuals who could assume entry-
supervisor responsibilities or the names of individuals who have 
assumed these responsibilities between the original and current 
supervisors. Therefore, the names of the current entry supervisor and 
the original entry supervisor, with no other entry supervisor names, 
are the only names required to be in the permit.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(D). Employers would be required to ensure that 
the entry permit contains a list of the communication methods used to 
maintain contact between attendants and authorized entrants during 
entry operations. OSHA notes that establishing a routine for 
maintaining contact between attendants and authorized entrants would 
help attendants detect problems within the PRCS. The Agency has not 
prescribed any particular means or procedure for communication because 
OSHA anticipates that the procedures chosen will need to vary according 
to the circumstances of the particular workplaces. However, the means 
of communication chosen must enable the attendants and the entrants to 
maintain effective and continuous contact.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(E). This proposed paragraph would require that 
employers list in the entry permit the rescue service that is to be 
summoned in an emergency, and the methods (including the communication 
equipment to use and the telephone numbers to call) for summoning this 
service. Identification of the rescue service and the methods for 
summoning it would enable attendants to summon the rescue service 
immediately in case of emergency. Including the other pertinent 
information, such as communication equipment and emergency telephone 
numbers, in the entry permit would

[[Page 67381]]

allow attendants to avoid errors and delays in contacting the rescue 
service.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(F). Under this proposed paragraph, employers 
are to ensure that the permit contains a list of equipment to be 
provided for PRCS operations as determined under paragraph (j) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1210 (Equipment) and proposed Sec.  1926.1218 
(Equipment). This equipment would typically include, for example, 
personal protective equipment, testing equipment, communications 
equipment, alarm systems, rescue equipment, and other equipment that 
the employer would provide to ensure compliance with paragraph (j) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1210 above. This proposed requirement provides 
employees with a ready reference to the equipment required for safe 
entry operations.
    Paragraph (a)(3). The two provisions of this proposed paragraph 
specify additional safety-related information to include in the entry 
permit. This information is necessary to ensure that employees involved 
in entry operations are aware of the hazards and procedures associated 
with the PRCS.
    Paragraph (a)(3)(i). Employers would be required to identify in the 
entry permit any other active permits issued to perform work in the 
PRCS (for example, hot-work permits). If the employer identifies 
additional permits, these additional permits may be, but are not 
required to be, attached to the entry permit to provide information 
about the activity covered by the permit to employees involved in the 
entry operations so they can take appropriate precautions.
    Paragraph (a)(3)(ii). Employers would be required to list in the 
entry permit other safety-related information not required under 
paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3)(i) of this proposed section, 
including any problems encountered. Examples of such information may 
include: problems encountered in the PRCS; problems that an attendant, 
entry supervisor, or authorized entrant believes may be relevant to the 
safety of the entrants working in the space; or any other information 
that may be relevant to employee safety under these conditions.
    Paragraph (b). According to the two provisions of this proposed 
paragraph, employers must review, at least annually, PRCS entries made 
during the previous 12 months. The employer must use the information 
described in these two provisions to perform this review. The purpose 
of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of protection provided 
to employees involved in PRCS entries during this period. This proposed 
requirement would help ensure that future PRCS entries are completed in 
a similar way if the entries were successful, or are improved if any 
problems or concerns are discovered.
    Paragraph (b)(1). To accomplish the entry-permit review, this 
proposed provision would require employers to use cancelled entry 
permits retained according to paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219 
(Retaining entry permits) below. This proposed requirement would be an 
important tool for identifying deficiencies in entry procedures used 
during the review period.
    Paragraph (b)(2). Employers would be required to review any other 
information retained from previous entry operations. Employers would 
obtain this information from sources other than cancelled permits. For 
instance, any near-miss information would be helpful to determine what 
actions may be necessary to eliminate or reduce hazard exposure during 
PRCS entries.
    These proposed provisions are necessary to ensure that employers 
use effective methods for protecting employees against the hazards in 
the PRCS. In this regard, many construction employers may not do PRCS 
work regularly, and it is important to use available information, 
including information from previous PRCS entries, to determine the 
effectiveness of the protection afforded to employees by previous 
practices before they begin new PRCS operations.
    Paragraph (c). Employers would be required to retain entry permits 
in accordance with paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219 (Retaining 
entry permits). (See paragraph (b) of proposed 1926.1219 for an 
explanation of this proposed requirement.)
    Paragraph (d). Employers would be required to cancel entry permits 
in accordance with paragraph (d)(4) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 (Entry 
permit cancellation). (See paragraph (d)(4) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 
above for an explanation of this proposed paragraph.)

Section 1926.1215--Continuous System--PRCS

    The provisions of this proposed section cover the requirements for 
Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Spaces (CS-PRCSs). Because 
these spaces are a special type of PRCS, employers would be required to 
meet these proposed provisions, as well as the requirements for PRCS 
entry prescribed by proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214. 
One example of this type of system is a sewer in which a storm at 
another location could send water or hazardous materials to the CS-PRCS 
where employees are working. Accordingly, the following proposed 
paragraphs would provide employees with protection from the unique 
hazards associated with CS-PRCSs.
    Paragraph (a). Under this proposed paragraph employers would be 
required to both meet the requirements in proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 
through 1926.1214 and the additional requirements listed in this 
proposed section.
    Paragraph (a)(1). Employers would be required to monitor CS-PRCSs 
continuously for atmospheric hazards. These spaces, relative to PRCSs, 
have an enhanced risk of unexpected changes in hazard levels because of 
atmospheric hazards that could migrate uncontrolled from other areas of 
the CS-PRCS. By monitoring the space continuously, employers would 
detect rising levels of a hazardous atmosphere or the introduction of a 
new atmospheric hazard before it is too late to warn the authorized 
entrants and evacuate them from the space (see discussion of proposed 
paragraph (b)(1) below). Employers may use periodic monitoring for this 
purpose if they can demonstrate that equipment for continuously 
monitoring a hazard is not commercially available; for example, 
continuous monitoring may not be available when the atmospheric hazard 
is a particulate. In such a case, the employer must be able to 
demonstrate that the periodic monitoring is of sufficient frequency to 
ensure that the atmospheric hazard is being controlled at safe levels 
as planned.
    Paragraph (a)(2). Employers would be required to monitor 
continuously for non-isolated engulfment hazards using an early-warning 
system. (See the definition of ``early-warning system'' at proposed 
Sec.  1926.1203 (Definitions applicable to this subpart).) Employers 
have flexibility in determining what type of early-warning system to 
use based on information they receive about the space and its hazards, 
as well as the employer's previous experience with CS-PRCSs. In some 
instances, the early-warning system can be as simple as posting 
lookouts with communication equipment at distances far enough upstream 
from the CS-PRCS to effectively communicate a warning to authorized 
entrants regarding any engulfment hazards. Another method would be to 
position detection and monitoring devices in areas connected to the CS-
PRCS that will warn entrants effectively of an engulfment hazard in 
sufficient time for them to exit the space successfully.
    Paragraph (b). This proposed paragraph specifies requirements for

[[Page 67382]]

additional equipment for a CS-PRCS. This equipment addresses migrating 
engulfment and atmospheric hazards that are present in CS-PRCSs. For 
example, these hazards can result when runoff from a heavy storm 
upstream in a sewer flows downstream into the area in which employees 
are working. Another example is when hazardous material is used in one 
part of a sewer and the hazardous atmospheres formed by the material 
migrate to the area in which the employees are working, causing serious 
harm. OSHA believes that migrating hazards, especially from distant 
areas, are common in CS-PRCSs. Accordingly, these requirements are 
necessary to protect authorized entrants from the additional hazards 
associated with CS-PRCSs, including engulfment and atmospheric hazards.
    Paragraph (b)(1). The employer would be required to provide the 
equipment necessary to monitor atmospheric hazards in CS-PRCSs. The 
primary reason OSHA believes this proposed requirement is necessary is 
because of the increased potential for a hazardous atmosphere to 
migrate unpredictably into the work area after the employer assesses a 
CS-PRCS and work has begun. Because these work areas are susceptible to 
being suddenly affected by hazards from elsewhere in the system, OSHA 
believes that effective monitoring is the only way to ensure that such 
hazards will be detected before it is too late to warn and evacuate the 
entrants. An additional reason for including this proposed requirement 
is that construction crews often have limited or no experience working 
in a particular CS-PRCS. As a result, unlike many general industry 
settings, there may be little or no historical monitoring data 
available to help accurately predict probable peak hazard levels.
    Paragraph (b)(2). The employer would be required to provide an 
early-warning system to monitor for non-isolated engulfment hazards. 
The employer has flexibility in determining what type of system to use 
based on information it has received about the CS-PRCS and its hazards, 
and based on the employer's experience with working within CS-PRCSs of 
this type. The system can be as simple as posting observers with 
communication equipment at distances far enough upstream from the work 
area to timely communicate a warning to the entrants working 
downstream. Another method would be to use detection/monitoring devices 
upstream that will trigger alarms at the entrants' work area in 
sufficient time for them to safely avoid upstream engulfment hazards 
moving in their direction.

Section 1926.1216--Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Spaces--Requirements 
for Classification and Accident Prevention and Protection

    Paragraph (a). The provisions of this proposed paragraph would 
require employers to meet specific criteria to classify the space as a 
Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space (CACS), and to protect employees 
from CACS hazards by implementing specific accident-prevention and -
protection methods. When employers have determined that the atmospheric 
hazards can be controlled and the physical hazards can be isolated or 
eliminated, the proposed standard provides this alternative 
classification option, the CACS, which may be more efficient and less 
costly to implement than complying with the requirements for a PRCS. 
Note that when employers can identify and implement both the isolation 
methods for physical hazards and the control methods for atmospheric 
hazards without entering the space, they would not be required to 
comply with the PRCS requirements during that identification/
implementation process. Also, the Agency considers the provisions 
proposed for CACS entry to be minimum safety requirements, and the 
employer may elect to comply with proposed PRCS requirements.
    Paragraph (a)(1). Using the physical-hazard information obtained 
under paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204, the employer would be 
required by this proposed provision to determine and implement methods 
for isolating physical hazards found in the CACS. By isolating the 
physical hazards, employers would provide employees with reliable and 
effective protection from such hazards.
    Paragraph (a)(2)(i). Employers would be required to test for 
atmospheric hazards in the CACS using the methods specified above in 
proposed Sec.  1926.1205 (Atmospheric testing and monitoring), and to 
use ventilation equipment to verify that ventilation alone is 
sufficient to control the atmospheric hazards at safe levels. 
Additionally, ventilation must consist of continuous forced-air 
mechanical systems that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.57 
(Ventilation). Because the atmospheric hazard is controlled at safe 
levels but the hazard is still present to some degree, it is vital that 
the employer confirm that the ventilation system alone is maintaining 
the safe atmospheric-hazard level (with no other protective measure in 
use for protecting entrants from the atmospheric hazard).
    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii). Employers would be required to determine 
that, in the event the ventilation system stops working, the monitoring 
procedures will detect an increase in atmospheric hazard levels in 
sufficient time for the entrants to safely exit the CACS. As explained 
for a similar provision in the general industry standard (see 29 CFR 
1910.146(c)(5)(i)(B)), for the CACS to be considered safe, the 
mechanical ventilation must control the atmospheric hazards at levels 
that are sufficiently below the levels at which they are harmful to 
entrants so that, should the forced-air ventilation system cease to 
function during entry (such as from a power loss), the atmosphere will 
remain at safe levels until monitoring procedures detect rising 
atmospheric hazard levels and entrants can safely exit the space or 
ventilation is restored. The Agency believes that monitoring is the 
primary method for detecting an increase in atmospheric hazard levels 
and, therefore, requires the use of monitoring to detect ventilation 
system failure. However, other indicators may be useful in detecting 
such failures, including changes in noise levels, air flow, and/or 
pressure; and signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects of exposure 
to the atmospheric hazard.
    In the event the atmospheric hazard-control methods fail, meeting 
the requirements of this proposed paragraph would provide employees 
with a safe atmosphere within the CACS until they evacuate the confined 
space, thereby reducing the risk of serious injury and death. By 
ensuring that employees evacuate safely from the CACS under these 
conditions, this proposed provision makes it unnecessary for employers 
to arrange for a rescue service as required for PRCSs under paragraph 
(e) of proposed Sec.  1926.1209. Nevertheless, OSHA believes that if 
the atmospheric hazards rapidly rise to unsafe levels without 
mechanical ventilation, then mechanical ventilation may be an 
inappropriate method for controlling atmospheric hazards, and the space 
should be classified as a PRCS.
    Paragraph (a)(3). Employers would be required to verify in writing 
that they isolated all physical hazards, and controlled atmospheric 
hazards with ventilation alone, in the CACS as required by paragraphs 
(a)(1) and (a)(2) of this proposed section; in addition, employers 
would have to make this documentation available to all employees who 
are entering the space, and to their authorized representatives. The 
provision specifies that the verification document must contain the: 
Location of the CACS, identity of the

[[Page 67383]]

physical hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and 
time the physical hazards were isolated and name and signature/initials 
of the individual who completed the isolation work, the identity and 
safe levels of the atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling the 
atmospheric hazards, atmospheric-testing results, date and time of 
atmospheric testing and the name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the atmospheric testing, the determinations 
made under paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this proposed section, name and 
signature/initials of the person who completed this document, and date 
and time the document was completed.
    The information on the verification document establishes a baseline 
to determine whether conditions specified in this document remain 
constant throughout subsequent entry operations. Also, making the 
document available to employees who enter the space and their 
authorized representatives would help ensure that the conditions 
established during initial CACS entry remain constant. It would do this 
by providing a readily available reference document for employees 
working in or near the CACS so they have the information necessary to 
detect developing hazards while they are engaged in CACS entry 
operations.
    Paragraph (b). The provisions proposed under this paragraph list 
the requirements for notifying and warning employees of the locations 
of CACSs and their dangers, and training employees regarding CACS 
safety.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(i). This proposed provision would require the 
employer to inform employees who the employer anticipates will be 
working in or near a CACS, and their authorized representatives, about 
the location of, and the dangers posed by, the CACS at the job site. In 
fulfilling this proposed requirement, the employer must first identify 
the employees it anticipates will be working in or near the CACS, 
including employees who: perform work in a CACS; deliver materials, 
supplies, and tools in or near a CACS; and may detect, and act to save, 
an incapacitated entrant during an emergency. Secondly, the employer 
must select an effective method to relay this information to the 
employees; these methods may range from tool-box talks to formal 
training. This proposed provision ensures that employees who may be in 
or near CACSs know the location of, and the dangers associated with, 
these spaces. This information would help prevent entry into a CACS by 
employees not authorized to do so, and would ensure that employees who 
perform work in CACSs can recognize these dangers and exit the CACS 
when the dangers materialize.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(ii). Employers would be required to post danger 
signs near the outside of the entrance of the CACS that read, 
``Danger--Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space--Authorized Employees 
Only,'' or similar language. When the employer can demonstrate that a 
danger sign is infeasible, the employer must use an equally effective 
means of warning employees of the dangers. This proposed requirement 
would augment the employee protection afforded under paragraph 
(b)(1)(i) of this proposed section, especially by preventing non-
authorized employees from entering a CACS.
    Paragraph (b)(2). The requirements of this proposed paragraph 
define the training responsibilities of employers with regards to CACS 
entry.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(i). Employers would be required to provide 
employees who enter a CACS with the knowledge and skills necessary to 
safely perform CACS entry operations. The training must ensure that 
these employees understand the hazards in the CACS that they will enter 
and the methods used to isolate or control these hazards. For employees 
who enter CACSs, this proposed paragraph would ensure that they know 
the characteristics of the hazards and the adverse effects the hazards 
have on the human body, and that they have the ability to recognize 
when the methods used to control or isolate identified hazards are not 
effective. OSHA believes that this training will aid the employees in 
understanding the importance of performing assigned tasks related to 
the maintenance of safe entry conditions and recognizing how hazards 
associated with the performance of construction activities affect 
conditions within the CACS. Without this information, employees are 
more likely to perform tasks that may compromise the safe conditions 
within the CACS and injure themselves or other employees. This proposed 
paragraph also provides the employees with information about the 
identified hazards which could indicate that an evacuation and 
reassessment is necessary to prevent injury to anyone in or around the 
CACS.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(ii). Under this proposed provision, the employer 
is required to train the employees that the employer anticipates will 
be in or near the CACS and who are not authorized to perform entry 
rescues about the dangers of such rescues. For instance, when an 
employee works outside a CACS but is not trained to perform rescue 
operations, the employer must train that employee about the dangers 
associated with attempting such a rescue. OSHA believes that employees 
who are unaware of the dangers associated with attempting a rescue in a 
confined space are likely to suffer injury or death from trying to 
rescue an incapacitated employee in a CACS. Therefore, OSHA believes 
that it is imperative that these employees have knowledge of such 
dangers to prevent them from attempting rescues and being injured or 
killed as a result.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(iii). The requirements of this proposed paragraph 
specify when an employer must provide employees with CACS-related 
training.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A). Employers would be required to train 
employees to perform their tasks safely before their initial entry into 
a CACS, thereby ensuring that these employees have the requisite 
knowledge and skills to safely perform entry operations within the 
CACS. OSHA believes that it is essential that employees understand 
their responsibilities regarding safe operations within the CACS, and 
that they be able to recognize the signs of ineffective isolation and 
control methods, before work within the space has commenced. Without 
this prior knowledge of how the performance of assigned tasks affects 
conditions within the CACS, an employee may endanger himself/herself or 
other employees who are in and around the CACS.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B). Under this proposed provision, if an 
employee the employer anticipates will be in or near a CACS receives a 
change in assigned tasks and these changes affect the control of 
hazardous atmospheres and/or the isolation of physical hazards (that 
is, the conditions necessary for a CACS classification), then the 
employer must train these employees on the newly assigned tasks before 
they enter the CACS, including how to maintain the conditions of the 
CACS classification when performing the tasks. For example, an 
employee's assignment changes so that he/she must maintain the proper 
functioning of ventilation equipment in the CACS or perform atmospheric 
monitoring; before reentering the space, the employee must be trained 
to perform such tasks and to understand their significance to safe CACS 
operations. This additional training only applies when employees have 
not received previous training on these newly assigned tasks. This 
proposed provision would ensure that employees have the knowledge and 
skills necessary to perform their newly assigned tasks safely within a 
CACS, thereby preventing errors that could result in substantial harm 
to themselves and/or other employees.

[[Page 67384]]

    Paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(C). This proposed provision would require 
employers to ensure that employees exit a CACS when a hazard arises in 
the space for which they have received no previous training. Training 
on the new hazard must be completed before the employee may reenter and 
resume work in the CACS. For example, when a process or material 
introduced into the space discharges hazardous fumes or vapors into the 
atmosphere of the CACS, employees who have not had training on such 
hazards must exit the CACS and receive the requisite training even if 
the hazard levels are being controlled within safe limits by the 
mechanical ventilation. In another example, employers would have to 
follow the same procedure when a power line is exposed inadvertently 
within the space. OSHA believes this proposed paragraph would protect 
employees from injury or death by requiring the employer to remove them 
from the CACS until they have the requisite knowledge and skills 
regarding the hazard.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(iv). Employers would be required to ensure that 
employees can demonstrate proficiency in the CACS-related duties 
required by this proposed standard, including any new and revised 
procedures. For example, the employer may wish to include a testing 
component in its training. OSHA believes this proposed requirement is 
necessary to ensure that the overall objectives of required training 
have been accomplished and the employee understands and is able to 
apply what he/she has learned.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(v). The two provisions of this proposed paragraph 
list the information that employers must include on training records 
maintained in accordance with paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219 
below. OSHA believes that documentation of employee training is an 
essential administrative tool for ensuring that employees have received 
the requisite training. It is particularly important that an employer 
be able to verify training for employees working in a CACS because a 
heightened level of employee awareness is needed when an atmospheric 
hazard is being controlled rather than isolated. As discussed during 
the SBREFA process, the construction industry is characterized by high 
employee turnover rates and a tendency among employees to perform 
short-term tasks at multiple worksites. Therefore, without this 
documentation, it may be difficult for an employer to keep track of 
which employees have had the required training. This documentation 
would aid the employer in ensuring that no untrained employees are 
assigned to do work within a CACS, thereby preventing risk of injury 
and death to themselves and other employees. The dangers associated 
with untrained employees have been discussed in previous paragraphs of 
this proposed section.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(v)(A). Employers would be required to ensure that 
the training records show that an employee accomplished the training 
specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this proposed section before entering 
a CACS. This information would allow employers to verify that an 
employee received the necessary training before the employee encounters 
CACS hazards.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(v)(B). Employers would be required to include in 
the training records the employee's name, names of the trainers, and 
dates of the training. OSHA believes that this information is necessary 
to identify the specific training received by each employee so that 
employers select only employees with appropriate knowledge and skills 
to enter a CACS. Having the names of the trainers on the training 
record serves to corroborate the record, and also provides a reference 
should the employer have any questions about the training received by 
an employee. Including the date in the record allows an assessment of 
whether the employee may need updated or refresher training before 
entering the CACS. Finally, this documentation would assist employers 
in determining whether the training program in general meets the needs 
of the employees and results in safe and effective CACS entry 
operations.
    Paragraph (c). The requirements of this proposed paragraph address 
general preparation for CACS entry.
    Paragraph (c)(1). This proposed paragraph would require, prior to 
removing an entrance cover, that employers eliminate any condition that 
makes it unsafe to remove the entrance cover. The employer would be 
required to evaluate the hazards that may be associated with removing 
the cover, and then take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that 
these hazards are eliminated. For instance, if high-pressure exists 
inside the CACS, the employer would have to determine and implement 
measures to address that hazard so that the cover could be removed 
safely.
    Paragraph (c)(2). The purpose of this proposed paragraph is to 
protect employees in and around the CACS from being struck by 
individuals or objects outside the CACS that may fall into the space, 
or that could injure the employees when they are near the CACS. When 
necessary to achieve this purpose, this proposed provision requires 
employers to promptly: Use guardrails or covers as specified in 29 CFR 
1926.502 (Fall protection systems criteria and practices) of subpart M 
(Fall Protection) to guard holes and openings into the space from 
falling individuals and objects, and institute measures to control 
pedestrian and vehicle traffic in accordance with the requirements in 
29 CFR Part 1926 subpart G (Signs, Signals, and Barricades).
    Paragraph (c)(3). Employers would be required to ensure that a safe 
method of entering and exiting a CACS (such as stairways or ladders) is 
provided and used, and that it meets applicable OSHA requirements (such 
as 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart X (Stairways and Ladders)). For example, 
where the employees are working in an underground vault, the employer 
would be required to provide and ensure the use of a safe means of 
entry into and exit from an underground vault, and, if applicable, 
ensure that the method complies with OSHA standards.
    The proposed paragraph also would require that if a hoisting system 
is used, it must be designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting. 
This proposed provision specifies an exception to this requirement that 
allows for the use of job-made hoisting systems if these systems are 
approved for personnel hoisting by a registered professional engineer 
prior to use in CACS entry operations. However, commercial hoisting 
systems not designed and manufactured specifically for personnel 
hoisting would not be permissible under this proposed provision because 
OSHA believes they cannot be used safely for this purpose. This 
proposed requirement would eliminate further injuries and deaths of 
employees which could occur from the use of a hoisting system that was 
not designed specifically for personnel hoisting. The provision would 
give the employer flexibility in its choice of personnel hoisting 
systems by allowing a registered professional engineer to approve a 
job-made system. OSHA believes that either option would ensure that the 
personnel hoisting system will meet the design specifications needed 
for employees to safely access the CACS.
    This proposed provision would ensure that authorized entrants 
always have a safe and effective means of entering and exiting the 
space, including escaping from it in an emergency. These means include 
systems that are designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting and 
job-made hoisting systems approved by a registered professional 
engineer, even when these systems are not covered by an OSHA standard.

[[Page 67385]]

    Paragraph (d). The requirements of this proposed paragraph would 
ensure that employers achieve conditions in a CACS before entry that 
are consistent with the determinations made, and the isolation and 
control methods implemented, during the classification of the space 
under paragraph (a) of this proposed section.
    Paragraph (d)(1). The employer would be required to ensure that the 
physical hazards identified above under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1204 remain isolated as required by paragraph 
(a)(1) of proposed Sec.  1926.1216 above. Because there may be a gap in 
time between when the employer isolates the hazard and when entry 
begins, the Agency believes that it is necessary to require that the 
employer ensure immediately before entry that the physical hazards 
remain isolated.
    Paragraph (d)(2). Employers would be required to test for 
atmospheric hazards using the methods specified above in proposed Sec.  
1926.1205 (Atmospheric testing and monitoring) to ensure that the 
ventilation system is controlling the atmospheric hazards at safe 
levels. This requirement would ensure that, when the employees enter a 
CACS, the atmosphere is safe to breathe.
    Paragraph (d)(3). The employer would be required to control the 
atmosphere at safe levels using only ventilation, and must provide 
ventilation using a forced-air mechanical system that complies with 29 
CFR 1926.57 (Ventilation). OSHA believes that use of mechanical 
ventilation that meets the criteria of 29 CFR 1926.57 to control 
atmospheric hazards at safe levels is a reliable means of ensuring a 
safe atmosphere. The use of mechanical ventilation is necessary because 
of the inherent variability of natural ventilation.
    Paragraph (d)(4). Employers would be required to verify in writing 
that the physical hazards are isolated and the ventilation system is 
properly controlling the atmospheric hazards. This written verification 
must contain: the location of the CACS, identity of the physical 
hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and time of 
determining that physical hazards remain isolated and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who made this determination, 
identity and safe level of atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling 
the atmospheric hazards, atmospheric-testing results, date and time of 
atmospheric testing and the name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the atmospheric testing, name and signature/
initials of the individual who completed this document, and the date 
and time the document was completed. Employers would be required to 
make this documentation available for review by each employee entering 
the space and to that employee's authorized representative. This 
document shall be maintained until the work in the CACS has been 
completed (see the proposed recordkeeping requirements under paragraph 
(d) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219). These proposed procedures would 
ensure that: conditions in the CACS are safe for employee entry; the 
employer, employees, and OSHA can direct questions regarding the 
information to the individual who completed the document; and the 
information is available for assessment purposes (for example, to 
evaluate the effectiveness of the ventilation system).
    The information required by this proposed paragraph duplicates much 
of the information required to classify a CACS as specified above in 
paragraph (a)(3) of this proposed section. However, the information 
required by this proposed paragraph addresses conditions in the CACS 
just prior to beginning entry operations. OSHA believes that 
documenting these conditions is necessary because employers would use 
this information to compare these conditions to the baseline conditions 
documented in proposed paragraph (a)(3), thereby alerting them to 
differences that may indicate poor hazard control or isolation. To 
lessen the paperwork burden of this proposed requirement, employers do 
not have to document CACS information that remains fixed, and only need 
to document information that is likely to vary from the information 
used to classify the CACS (see the sample verification document in 
proposed Appendix B). Therefore, employers do not need to document the 
location of the CACS, identity of the physical hazards, methods for 
isolating the physical hazards, identity and safe level of atmospheric 
hazards, and methods for controlling the atmospheric hazards, but must 
document the date and time of determining that physical hazards remain 
isolated and the name and signature/initials of the individual who made 
this determination, atmospheric-testing results, the date and time of 
atmospheric testing and the name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the atmospheric testing, the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who completed the verification 
document, and the date and time the document was completed.
    Paragraph (e). The provisions of this proposed paragraph establish 
the minimum safety requirements that employers must follow after 
employees enter a CACS.
    Paragraph (e)(1). This proposed provision would require the 
employer to ensure that physical hazards identified above under 
paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204 remain isolated during entry. 
This proposed provision would provide employers and employees with 
assurance that the physical hazards, if any, within the CACS continue 
to be isolated.
    Paragraph (e)(2). The employer would be required to monitor 
atmospheric hazards as specified in proposed Sec.  1926.1205 
(Atmospheric testing and monitoring) to ensure that forced-air 
mechanical ventilation alone effectively controls atmospheric hazards 
at safe levels. This proposed paragraph specifies that employers are to 
use continuous monitoring unless they can demonstrate that the 
equipment for continuously monitoring a hazard is not commercially 
available or periodic monitoring is sufficient. For example, when an 
employer demonstrates that atmospheric-testing results in the past for 
the CACS have consistently indicated that the change in atmospheric 
levels occurs slowly and predictably, periodic monitoring may be 
permissible. The Agency believes that this proposed requirement for 
continuous monitoring is necessary for the same reasons discussed with 
respect to paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 (Monitoring).
    Paragraph (e)(3). The employer would be required to complete a 
written verification of the determinations made under paragraphs (e)(1) 
and (e)(2) of this proposed section. The employer would also be 
required to ensure that this written verification contains: The 
location of the CACS, identity of the physical hazards, methods for 
isolating the physical hazards, date and time of determining that 
physical hazards remain isolated and the name and signature/initials of 
the individual who made this determination, identity and safe level of 
atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling the atmospheric hazards, 
atmospheric-monitoring results, date and time of atmospheric monitoring 
and the name and signature/initials of the individual who completed the 
atmospheric monitoring, name and signature/initials of the individual 
who completed this document, and the date and time the document was 
completed. Lastly, the employer must make the document available to 
each employee entering the space and to the employee's authorized 
representative.
    The information in this verification document would serve as a 
reference to help employees recognize developing

[[Page 67386]]

hazards (for example, increases in atmospheric hazards) during entry 
operations, so that entrants would know to exit the CACS. Also, after 
completing an entry operation, employers could use the information to 
evaluate the effectiveness of methods used to isolate physical hazards 
and control atmospheric hazards, or to determine the cause of an 
accident; in either case, the information would assist the employer in 
identifying the necessary corrective action. Making the documentation 
available to employees and their authorized representatives would help 
ensure that employees have the reference information necessary to 
recognize when hazards are developing while engaged in entry 
operations.
    To lessen the paperwork burden of this proposed requirement, 
employers do not have to document CACS information that remains fixed, 
and only need to document information that is likely to vary from the 
information used to classify the CACS (see the sample verification 
document in proposed Appendix B). Therefore, employers do not need to 
document the location of the CACS, identity of the physical hazards, 
methods for isolating the physical hazards, identity and safe level of 
atmospheric hazards, and methods for controlling the atmospheric 
hazards, but must document the date and time of determining that 
physical hazards remain isolated and the name and signature/initials of 
the individual who made this determination, the results of atmospheric 
monitoring, the date and time of atmospheric monitoring and the name 
and signature/initials of the individual who completed the atmospheric 
monitoring, the name and signature/initials of the individual who 
completed the verification document, and the date and time the document 
was completed.
    Paragraph (f). This proposed paragraph specifies requirements 
employers must follow when an emergency occurs during entry operations, 
including the presence of a non-isolated physical hazard or an 
atmospheric hazard at unsafe levels.
    Paragraph (f)(1). Under this proposed provision, when an emergency 
requires evacuation from a CACS, employers would be required to ensure 
that employees exit the space immediately. The Agency believes this 
proposed requirement is necessary because once an emergency occurs, the 
protective systems in place in the CACS can no longer be relied on to 
protect the entrants; their safety then depends on their immediately 
getting out of the CACS.
    Paragraph (f)(2). This proposed paragraph requires employers to 
identify the physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance with 
paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204. Under paragraph (b)(2) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1204, employers must reclassify the space as a PRCS 
when it is necessary for the entrant to enter the space to obtain the 
required information. The Agency believes that this proposed 
requirement is necessary to ensure that the spaces are correctly 
assessed, and to ensure that the employees are protected while 
conducting the assessments.
    Paragraph (f)(3). This proposed provision requires an employer to 
use the information about the confined space that it obtained above 
under paragraph (f)(2) of this proposed section, and reclassify the 
evacuated space as either a CS-PRCS, PRCS, CACS, or IHCS. The employer 
must then follow the precautions and safety procedures listed for the 
space classification in the applicable sections of this proposed 
standard. The employees cannot reenter the space to perform their 
assigned tasks until the employer determines that the conditions within 
the confined space meet the classification and prevention/protection 
requirements specified for the space. This requirement would ensure 
that employees receive appropriate protection prior to reentering the 
confined space.

Section 1926.1217--Isolated-Hazard Confined Spaces--Requirements for 
Classification and Accident Prevention and Protection

    Paragraph (a). The provisions of this proposed paragraph specify 
the requirements for classifying a confined space as an Isolated-Hazard 
Confined Space (IHCS). When an employer isolates or eliminates all 
atmospheric and physical hazards in a space, the space would qualify 
for the IHCS classification. Employers applying that classification 
would be required to comply with these proposed provisions before an 
employee enters the space. The Agency believes that, in some instances, 
employers will meet IHCS classification requirements instead of 
classifying a space as a PRCS or CACS; the IHCS classification will 
sometimes be more efficient and less costly to implement than the PRCS 
or CACS requirements.
    Paragraph (a)(1). The employer would be required to isolate each 
physical hazard in the space identified under paragraph (b) of proposed 
Sec.  1926.1204. The definition of the terms ``isolate'' or 
``isolation'' provided in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1203 
(Definitions applicable to this subpart) is ``the elimination or 
removal of a physical or atmospheric hazard by preventing its release 
into a confined space. Isolation includes, but is not limited to, the 
following methods: Blanking and blinding; misaligning or removing 
sections of lines, pipes, or ducts; a double-block-and bleed system; 
locking out or tagging out energy sources; machine guarding; and 
blocking or disconnecting all mechanical linkages.'' In some 
situations, employers may perform isolation by de-energizing machinery 
or systems using appropriate lockout-tagout procedures (for example, 29 
CFR 1926.417 (Lockout and tagging of circuits)).
    While the proposed provision would allow employers flexibility in 
the methods and procedures they use to identify and isolate physical 
hazards, it would not relieve them from conducting a thorough 
assessment of the space and identifying hazards that include, but are 
not limited to: Existing or potential liquids, solid materials, and 
electricity associated with processes; the use of equipment, ductwork, 
and conduits with exposed valves or that terminate in the confined 
space; exposed and energized electrical conduits; connected rooms and 
reservoirs that present engulfment hazards; and any other recognized 
hazards covered by OSHA construction standards. OSHA believes that 
isolating all the physical hazards within the space protects employees 
while working in the IHCS.
    Paragraph (a)(2). This proposed provision would require employers 
to isolate the atmospheric hazards identified in the space as specified 
in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204. In doing so, the employer 
must make a determination regarding atmospheric hazards, and adopt an 
appropriate method of isolating these hazards that would prevent their 
release into the confined space. Properly identifying and implementing 
an isolation method increases the likelihood that employees will be 
safe while working within the IHCS because all atmospheric hazards will 
have been isolated or eliminated.
    Paragraph (a)(3). The employer would be required to isolate the 
atmospheric and physical hazards without entering the space. However, 
when the employer demonstrates that it is infeasible to isolate the 
hazards without entering the space, it may only enter the space if it 
complies with the requirements for PRCSs in proposed Sec. Sec.  
1926.1208 through 1926.1214 or, when applicable, the requirements for 
CS-PRCSs in proposed Sec.  1926.1215. Even when the employer is able to 
isolate some of the hazards without entering the space, the space would 
remain a PRCS until the

[[Page 67387]]

employer isolates every physical and atmospheric hazard in the space. 
By maintaining the PRCS classification for these spaces until the 
employer completes hazard isolation, this proposed provision would 
protect employees from any atmospheric and/or physical hazards during 
the isolation process.
    Paragraph (a)(4). Employers would be required to verify in writing 
that all of the physical and atmospheric hazards in the space have been 
isolated as required by paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this proposed 
section, and to make this documentation available to each employee who 
is entering the space, and to their authorized representatives. The 
proposal specifies that the verification document must contain the: 
Location of the IHCS, identity of the physical hazards, methods for 
isolating the physical hazards, date and time the physical hazards were 
isolated and name and signature/initials of the individual who 
completed the isolation work, the identity of atmospheric hazards, 
methods for isolating the atmospheric hazards, the date and time the 
atmospheric hazards were isolated and the name and signature/initials 
of the individual who completed the isolation work, name and signature/
initials of the individual who completed this document, and the date 
and time the document was completed.
    OSHA believes the information on the verification document would 
ensure that employers confirm the effectiveness of protective measures 
implemented prior to IHCS entry. This proposed provision is necessary 
as an administrative tool to ensure that employees are protected from 
physical or atmospheric hazards upon initial entry into an IHCS, and 
that the space remains safe during entry operations. The testing 
results would also serve as a baseline against which employers and 
employees could compare current conditions within the IHCS during entry 
operations. The proposed requirement to make the documentation 
available to employees and their authorized representatives would 
ensure that entrants have the information necessary to detect 
developing hazards while they are working in the space. OSHA believes 
that when employers and employees have access to these verification 
documents, deficiencies in isolation methods can be readily identified, 
which would reduce the probability that employees will be injured by 
hazards within the IHCS.
    Paragraph (b). The provisions of this proposed paragraph list the 
minimum IHCS training requirements. The employer would be required to 
ensure that employees performing this work meet these proposed training 
requirements before they enter an IHCS, thereby expediting recognition 
of hazardous conditions and development of appropriate responses.
    A note to this proposed paragraph states that employers do not need 
to document the IHCS training requirements, unlike the training 
provisions proposed for PRCSs, CS-PRCSs, and CACSs, which do require 
documentation. However, in contrast to PRCSs, CS-PRCSs, and CACSs, 
IHCSs contain no hazards or contain isolated hazards. The Agency 
believes that IHCS conditions afford employees optimum protection 
because the likelihood of employee exposure to a hazard during entry 
operations is extremely low. In addition, the training requirements 
proposed for IHCSs, which are informational only, are similar to the 
training provisions currently specified for confined and enclosed 
spaces by 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6), which does not require training 
documentation. OSHA concludes that requiring employers to document this 
minimal training requirement would discourage them from classifying 
confined spaces as IHCSs, thereby denying employees the safety and 
health benefits associated with this classification.
    Paragraph (b)(1). Employers would be required to ensure that 
employees who enter IHCSs acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to 
recognize the signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects associated 
with exposure to the hazards identified under paragraphs (a)(1) and 
(a)(2) of this proposed section, and to understand the methods used to 
isolate these hazards. OSHA believes that this training is necessary to 
prevent accidents caused by an employee's inexperience with working in 
an IHCS. This training would allow employees to detect failures in the 
methods used to isolate IHCS hazards, and to recognize the physical and 
behavioral effects that result from these failures.
    Paragraph (b)(2). Employers would be required to train employees 
the employer anticipates will be in or near the IHCS, and who are not 
authorized to perform entry rescues, about the dangers of attempting 
such rescues. This requirement would deter untrained employees from 
attempting entry rescues, thereby preventing them from being 
incapacitated, injured, or killed from the hazards in the space.
    Paragraph (c). The requirements of this proposed paragraph address 
general preparation for IHCS entry.
    Paragraph (c)(1). This proposed paragraph would require, prior to 
removing an entrance cover, that employers eliminate any condition that 
makes it unsafe to remove the entrance cover. The employer would be 
required to evaluate the hazards that may be associated with removing 
the cover, and then take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that 
these hazards are eliminated. For instance, if high-pressure exists 
inside the IHCS, the employer would have to determine and implement 
measures to address that hazard so that the cover could be removed 
safely.
    Paragraph (c)(2). The purpose of this proposed paragraph is to 
protect employees in and around the IHCS from being struck by 
individuals or objects outside the IHCS that may fall into the space, 
or that could injure the employees when they are near the IHCS. When 
necessary to achieve this purpose, this proposed provision requires 
employers to promptly: Use guardrails or covers as specified in 29 CFR 
1926.502 (Fall protection systems criteria and practices) of subpart M 
(Fall Protection) to guard holes and openings into the space from 
falling individuals and objects, and institute measures to control 
pedestrian and vehicle traffic in accordance with the requirements in 
29 CFR Part 1926 subpart G (Signs, Signals, and Barricades).
    Paragraph (c)(3). Employers would be required to ensure that a safe 
method of entering and exiting an IHCS (such as stairways or ladders) 
is provided and used, and that it meets applicable OSHA requirements 
(such as 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart X (Stairways and Ladders)). For 
example, where the employees are working in an underground vault, the 
employer would be required to provide and ensure the use of a safe 
means of entry into and exit from an underground vault, and, if 
applicable, ensure that the method complies with OSHA standards.
    The proposed paragraph also would require that if a hoisting system 
is used, it must be designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting. 
This proposed provision specifies an exception to this requirement that 
allows for the use of job-made hoisting systems if these systems are 
approved for personnel hoisting by a registered professional engineer 
prior to use in IHCS entry operations. However, commercial hoisting 
systems not designed and manufactured specifically for personnel 
hoisting would not be permissible under this proposed provision because 
OSHA believes they cannot be used safely for this purpose. This 
proposed requirement would eliminate further injuries and deaths of 
employees which could occur from the use of a hoisting system that was 
not designed specifically for personnel hoisting. The

[[Page 67388]]

provision would give the employer flexibility in its choice of 
personnel hoisting systems by allowing a registered professional 
engineer to approve a job-made system. OSHA believes that either option 
would ensure that the personnel hoisting system will meet the design 
specifications needed for employees to safely access the IHCS.
    This proposed provision would ensure that employees always have a 
safe and effective means of entering and exiting the space, including 
escaping from it in an emergency. These means include systems that are 
designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting and job-made hoisting 
systems approved by a registered professional engineer, even when these 
systems are not covered by an OSHA standard.
    Paragraph (d). The three provisions of this proposed paragraph 
address the requirements that employers would be required to follow 
prior to having employees enter an IHCS.
    Paragraph (d)(1). Employers would be required to ensure that the 
physical hazards identified in paragraph (a)(1) of this proposed 
section remain isolated. This proposed requirement would ensure that 
employees are safe from exposure to physical hazards after entering an 
IHCS.
    Paragraph (d)(2). Employers would be required to confirm, through 
testing, that the atmospheric hazards identified in paragraph (a)(2) of 
this proposed section are isolated. In conducting this testing, 
employers must comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1205. This proposed provision would protect 
employees from atmospheric hazards during initial entry into an IHCS.
    Paragraph (d)(3). Employers would be required to verify in writing 
the determinations made and the actions taken under paragraphs (d)(1) 
and (d)(2) of this proposed section. The information provided in this 
documentation must include the: Location of the IHCS, identity of the 
physical hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and 
time the physical hazards were isolated, date and time of determining 
that physical hazards remain isolated and the name and signature/
initials of the individual who made this determination, identity of the 
atmospheric hazards, methods for isolating the atmospheric hazards, 
date and time the atmospheric hazards were isolated, date and time of 
determining that atmospheric hazards remain isolated and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who made this determination, name 
and signature/initials of the individual who completed this document, 
and date and time the document was completed. In addition, the document 
shall be made available by posting or other methods to employees 
entering the IHCS and to the employee's authorized representative.
    This proposed requirement would provide assurance that the IHCS is 
safe to enter, as well as information that could be used to detect a 
developing hazard (for example, indication of an atmospheric 
contaminant during subsequent entry operations). Therefore, this 
information would provide employees with protection against physical or 
atmospheric hazards while entering an IHCS. Other employers, including 
subcontractors, may benefit from this information since it would be 
relevant to (though not a substitute for) their own hazard assessment 
of the space.
    This information nearly duplicates the information specified above 
in paragraph (a)(4) of this proposed section. To lessen the paperwork 
burden of this proposed requirement, employers do not have to document 
IHCS information that remains fixed, and only need to document 
information that is likely to vary from the information used to 
classify the IHCS (see the sample verification document in proposed 
Appendix B). Therefore, employers do not need to document the location 
of the IHCS, identity of the physical hazards, methods for isolating 
the physical hazards, date and time the physical hazards were isolated, 
identity of atmospheric hazards, methods for isolating the atmospheric 
hazards, and date and time the atmospheric hazards were isolated, but 
must document the date and time of determining that physical hazards 
remain isolated and the name and signature/initials of the individual 
who made this determination, the date and time of determining that 
atmospheric hazards remain isolated and the name and signature/initials 
of the individual who made this determination, name and signature/
initials of the individual who completed the verification document and 
the date and time the document was completed.
    Paragraph (e). This proposed paragraph contains two provisions 
regarding IHCSs during entry operations. Employers would be prohibited 
from having employees continue to engage in entry operations unless 
these proposed provisions are met.
    Paragraph (e)(1). Employers would be required to ensure that the 
physical and atmospheric hazards identified in paragraphs (a)(1) and 
(a)(2) of this proposed section remain isolated during entry 
operations. For example, following the requirements of paragraph (a) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1205 would allow an employer to determine the 
effectiveness of methods used to isolate atmospheric contaminants; for 
some physical hazards, employers may perform periodic inspections of 
blocking, blanking, and lockout-tagout methods to ensure their 
continuing effectiveness. By requiring employers to ensure that 
physical and atmospheric hazards remain isolated, this proposed 
provision would prevent physical and atmospheric hazards from entering 
an IHCS occupied by employees.
    Paragraph (e)(2). This proposed paragraph specifies requirements 
employers must follow when an emergency occurs during entry operations, 
including the presence of a non-isolated physical hazard or an 
atmospheric hazard.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(i). Under this proposed provision, when an 
emergency requires evacuation from an IHCS, employers would be required 
to ensure that employees exit the space immediately. The Agency 
believes this proposed requirement is necessary because once an 
emergency occurs, the protective systems in place in the IHCS can no 
longer be relied on to protect the entrants; their safety then depends 
on their immediately getting out of the IHCS. This provision would 
ensure that employees minimize their exposure to physical or 
atmospheric hazards.
    Note that this proposed provision does not require employers 
engaged in IHCS operations to have a rescue service available during 
emergencies. OSHA believes that, unlike PRCSs and CS-PRCSs, IHCSs 
contain no hazards or contain isolated hazards. The Agency believes 
that IHCS conditions afford employees optimum protection because the 
likelihood of employee exposure to a hazard during entry operations is 
extremely low. OSHA believes that requiring employers to have entry 
rescue services available during IHCSs entry operations would 
discourage them from classifying confined spaces as IHCSs, thereby 
denying employees the safety and health benefits associated with this 
classification. Nevertheless, employers must be able to rescue 
employees during IHCS operations when required to do so by other OSHA 
standards. For instance, if employers use fall-arrest systems in IHCSs, 
then 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(20) requires that they promptly rescue 
employees who experience an arrested fall, or assure that the employees 
are able to rescue themselves.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(ii). This proposed paragraph requires employers to 
identify the physical and atmospheric

[[Page 67389]]

hazards in accordance with paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204. 
Under paragraph (b)(2) of proposed Sec.  1926.1204, employers must 
reclassify the space as a PRCS when it is necessary for the entrant to 
enter the space to obtain the required information. When doing so, 
employers must comply with the accident-prevention and protection 
requirements specified for PRCSs by proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 
through 1926.1214 (and, if applicable, proposed Sec.  1926.1215 for CS-
PRCSs). The Agency believes that this proposed requirement is necessary 
to ensure that the spaces are correctly assessed and to ensure that the 
employees are protected while conducting the assessments.
    Paragraph (e)(2)(iii). This proposed provision requires an employer 
to use the information about the confined space that it obtained under 
paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this proposed section, and reclassify the 
evacuated space as either a CS-PRCS, PRCS, CACS, or IHCS. The employer 
must then follow the precautions and safety procedures listed for the 
space classification in the applicable sections of this proposed 
standard. The employees cannot reenter the space to perform their 
assigned tasks until the employer determines that the conditions within 
the confined space meet the classification and prevention/protection 
requirements specified for the space. This requirement would ensure 
that employees receive appropriate protection prior to reentering the 
confined space.

Section 1926.1218--Equipment

    Paragraph (a). The provisions of this proposed paragraph specify 
the equipment employers would have to provide for confined-space 
operations. These proposed provisions also require employers to 
properly maintain, calibrate, and use the equipment required by this 
proposed standard.
    Paragraph (a)(1). The employer would be required to provide and 
ensure the use of the atmospheric-testing and -monitoring equipment 
needed to comply with this proposed standard. OSHA believes that this 
equipment is essential for protecting employees from atmospheric 
hazards.
    Paragraph (a)(2). The employer would be required to provide forced-
air mechanical ventilation equipment when needed to meet the 
requirements of this proposed standard. For example, the employer would 
be required to provide such equipment if it is needed to meet the 
requirements of paragraphs (a)(2) and (d)(3) of proposed Sec.  
1926.1216 (for control of atmospheric hazards such as dusts, fumes, 
mists, vapors, or gases). Forced-air mechanical-ventilation equipment, 
when used appropriately under proposed Sec.  1926.1216 (Controlled-
atmosphere confined spaces--requirements for classification and 
accident prevention and protection), would protect employees from the 
atmospheric hazards. The employer would also be required to provide it 
where it is used to help establish planned conditions for entry 
operations under proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214 
(PRCSs) or proposed Sec.  1926.1215 (CS-PRCSs). In those instances, use 
of the equipment would be a significant factor in protecting the 
employees.
    Paragraph (a)(3). The employer would be required to provide 
personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators, when needed 
to comply with this proposed standard. When employees use respirators, 
the respirator requirements in 29 CFR 1926.103 (Respiratory protection) 
must be met.\4\ For example, failure to use the appropriate filters in 
a respirator can render its use ineffective, and would be a violation 
of 29 CFR 1926.103. OSHA believes that when the appropriate PPE is 
provided, maintained, and used in accordance with OSHA standards that 
address the identified hazard, the employees will be protected from 
serious injury or death. (Note: The issue of employer payment for PPE 
is the subject of a separate rulemaking (see 64 FR 15402). The Agency 
has indicated that it will complete that rulemaking in the near 
future.)
    Paragraph (a)(4). The employer would be required to provide any 
equipment not already mentioned that is necessary for safe confined-
space operations. OSHA believes this proposed requirement would ensure 
that the appropriate equipment is available at the job site so 
employees receive adequate protection from hazards present during 
confined-space operations. Accordingly, the employer would have to 
identify this additional equipment after conducting an assessment of 
the confined space as required by the applicable sections of this 
proposed standard, and then provide and ensure the use of it.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 29 CFR 1926.103 cross-references OSHA's Respiratory 
Protection Standard at 29 CFR 1910.134.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Paragraph (b). This proposed paragraph specifies requirements for 
equipment, including maintenance, calibration, and use, needed to 
comply with this standard. OSHA believes the use of improperly 
maintained or calibrated equipment could severely compromise the 
testing and monitoring of conditions within the space and result in 
employee injury or death. For example, if a gas monitor is not properly 
calibrated, it may fail to indicate a dangerous hazard level, leading 
employees to incorrectly believe that it is safe to enter the space.
    Under this proposed provision, employers also must ensure that 
employees use equipment properly to meet the requirements of this 
proposed standard. For instance, the cords of electrical equipment must 
not be used to suspend or lower other equipment into a confined space, 
or the exhaust from powered equipment shall not be used to provide heat 
for employees inside a confined space. Meeting the requirements of this 
provision would ensure that employees would not be injured or killed 
due to the unsafe use of equipment while performing work in and around 
confined spaces.
    Paragraph (b)(1). Under proposed paragraph (b)(1), the employer 
would be required to ensure that equipment used to meet requirements of 
this standard complies with other applicable OSHA requirements with 
regard to maintenance, calibration, and use. Accordingly, the employer 
must adhere to other OSHA standards that provide criteria for equipment 
such that the equipment will not injure or kill employees who must use 
it. For example, ventilation systems and any fall protection used must 
meet the requirements of appropriate OSHA standards.
    Paragraph (b)(2). This proposed provision would provide employers 
with alternatives in case no applicable OSHA standard is available to 
regulate the maintenance, calibration, and use of equipment required by 
this proposed standard.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(i). This proposed provision would require 
employers to use manufacturers' instructions as the principal 
alternative when an OSHA standard is not available. Equipment 
manufacturers are most familiar with the components, configuration, and 
safe and healthful operation of their equipment; this information 
places them in the best position to specify the proper maintenance, 
calibration, and use of this equipment when an appropriate OSHA 
standard is not available.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(ii). If neither an OSHA standard nor 
manufacturers' instructions are available to maintain, calibrate, and 
use equipment, this proposed provision would require employers to 
follow the recommendations of a qualified individual. As required by 29 
CFR 1926.32(m), a properly qualified individual would possess the

[[Page 67390]]

recognized training, education, professional standing, experience and/
or demonstrated ability necessary to make decisions that will ensure 
the proper maintenance, calibration, and use of equipment used in 
confined spaces. In making these recommendations, a qualified 
individual may refer to other available sources such as national 
standards and industry-recognized safe work practices. The Agency 
believes that the recommendations of a qualified individual, in absence 
of applicable OSHA standards and manufacturers' instructions, would 
assure that equipment required by this proposed standard functions as 
it is designed to do, thereby providing safe working conditions for 
employees in confined spaces.

Section 1926.1219--Records

    Paragraph (a). This proposed provision would require that the 
employer either maintain a copy of this standard at the job sites where 
there is a confined space or maintain a copy of a written confined-
space program at the sites that incorporates the standard's 
requirements. This proposed standard was drafted and organized to 
direct employers through the steps necessary to protect their employees 
from confined-space hazards, especially employers who are unfamiliar 
with confined-space work and may not initially recognize the potential 
dangers of working within a confined space.
    OSHA believes that when an employer has a copy of the construction 
confined-spaces standard at the job site, along with the documentation 
required for each section, there is no need to also have a written 
program. However, if an employer instead prefers to maintain a copy of 
a written confined-space program at the job site, the proposed 
provision gives such employers that option so long as that program 
incorporates the requirements of the proposed standard applicable to 
the employer's work at the site. For example, if an employer works 
within chemical tanks that are not CS-PRCSs, and prefers to treat them 
as PRCSs (rather than meeting CACS or IHCS requirements), such an 
employer may opt to maintain a written program at that site that 
addresses the requirements for PRCSs but does not address CACS and IHCS 
requirements. Whichever option the employer chooses, the Agency 
believes that it is necessary for a written copy of this standard or 
the written confined-space program be available at the site as a 
reference for employees who are involved with implementing safe entry 
procedures.
    Paragraph (b). The employer would be required to retain for at 
least one year entry permits for all PRCS work performed by their 
employees. The one-year time period would begin on cancellation of the 
entry permit for any reason (for example, evacuation of the space or 
completion of the work specified by the permit). Employers that perform 
PRCS work must retain entry permits to conduct the required 12-month 
review specified by paragraph (b)(1) of proposed Sec.  1926.1214.
    The note to this paragraph states that, when an entry permit meets 
the definition of an ``employee exposure record'' as defined by 29 CFR 
1910.1020(c)(5), employers must retain the applicable entry permits for 
the period specified in 29 CFR 1910.1020(d) (Preservation of records). 
(The provisions of 29 CFR 1910.1020 (Access to employee exposure and 
medical records) are made applicable to construction operations by 29 
CFR 1926.33.) OSHA believes that requiring employers to maintain these 
exposure records will give healthcare providers, in the event of an 
emergency, access to information about the substances and exposure 
levels the employee may have experienced while working within a 
confined space. This information is needed to enable medical care to be 
effectively administered to injured employees.
    Paragraph (c). Employers would be required to maintain training 
records in accordance with proposed Sec. Sec.  1926.1209(d)(5) (PRCSs) 
and 1926.1216(b)(2)(v) (CACSs). OSHA believes that employee training 
records are an important administrative tool for tracking which 
employees have received required training. Accordingly, these training 
records need only be maintained during the time in which the employee 
continues to be employed by his/her employer. Requiring employers to 
maintain employee training records for a longer period is especially 
burdensome to construction employers because of the high employee 
turnover rates they typically experience.
    This proposed paragraph requires employers to maintain employee 
training documents only for employees who work in PRCSs and CACSs, not 
for employees who work in IHCSs. The proposed paragraph did not include 
training records for employees who work in IHCSs because, unlike PRCSs 
and CACSs in which hazards are still present during confined-space 
operations, IHCSs either contain no hazards or employers isolate any 
hazards that are identified. Therefore, employees who perform work in 
an IHCS are not exposed to any physical or atmospheric hazards related 
to conditions within the IHCS, and OSHA believes that requiring 
construction employers to maintain employee training records when they 
are not required by other OSHA standards would subject them to an 
unnecessary burden.
    Paragraph (d). This paragraph would require documents mandated in 
paragraphs (a)(3), (d)(4), and (e)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1216 
(CACSs) and paragraphs (a)(4) and (c)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1217 
(IHCSs) to be maintained by the employer until the work in the confined 
space is completed. OSHA believes these documents are important 
administrative tools for employers who perform work in these types of 
confined spaces. Employees who work within or around these types of 
confined spaces will be able to better recognize deficiencies in 
isolation and control methods, or changes in the conditions within the 
confined space, when they can reference these documents.
    The Agency recognizes, however, that confined spaces that are 
classified as CACSs or IHCSs typically involve more predictable and 
less complex hazard-protection scenarios than those usually associated 
with CS-PRCSs and PRCSs. Therefore, unlike PRCS entry permits, the 
Agency believes that it is not necessary for employers to maintain the 
CACS and IHCS verification documents for review and evaluation after 
the work is completed. Similar to the note to paragraph (b) of this 
proposed section, the note in this proposed paragraph requires that 
these documents be maintained for longer periods if they constitute 
exposure records under 29 CFR 1910.1020 (Access to employee exposure 
and medical records).
    Paragraph (e). Employers would be required to make all documents 
required to be retained under this proposed standard available to the 
Secretary of Labor upon request. The request from the Secretary or the 
Secretary's designee (for example, OSHA) may be either oral or written. 
Unless another provision of this proposed standard requires a document 
to be maintained at the worksite, these documents may be kept off site 
as long as they can be readily produced by the employer. These 
documents pertain to the determinations made and actions taken 
regarding hazards. They provide valuable information to those 
inspecting the worksite in determining whether elements of this 
proposed standard have been met.

IV. Issues for Comment

    OSHA requests comments from the public on any issues related to 
this

[[Page 67391]]

proposed standard. However, OSHA is specifically requesting the public 
to comment on, and provide additional information regarding, the issues 
listed below. Please provide a detailed rationale for each response 
made to these issues.
    1. Comparison to subpart P. In a recent regulatory review of 29 CFR 
part 1926 subpart P (Excavations), a commenter stated that the Agency 
should clarify that trenches are not confined spaces, while another 
commenter recommended that, for ease of use, OSHA combine the 
excavation standards in subpart P and this proposed standard for 
confined spaces into a single standard (Ex. 2-7, OSHA Docket No. S-
204A). In addition, another commenter noted that 29 CFR 
1926.651(g)(1)(iii) of subpart P states that the lower flammable limit 
(LFL) is 20 percent for an atmosphere containing a flammable gas, while 
the definition of ``hazardous atmosphere'' in paragraph (b) of the 
general industry confined-spaces standard specifies an LFL of 10 
percent for a flammable gas, vapor, or mist (Ex. 2-4, OSHA Docket No. 
S-204A). This proposed standard for confined spaces in construction 
adopts an LFL of 10 percent in its definition of ``hazardous 
atmosphere,'' which is the same LFL as in the general industry standard 
and in the ANSI Z117.1-2003 industry consensus confined-spaces 
standard. The commenter requested that OSHA make these LFL requirements 
similar.
    In section III (``Summary and Explanation of the Proposed 
Standard'') of this proposal, the Agency notes that paragraph (b) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1202 clearly states that excavations covered by 
subpart P are not confined spaces covered by this proposed standard. 
OSHA believes that subpart P provides sufficient protection from 
confined-space hazards during excavation work. However, the Agency 
would be interested in comments on this proposed exception, as well as 
on the recommendation to combine the excavation standard and this 
proposed standard into a single standard. Additionally, OSHA requests 
comment on the advisability of reconciling the difference in LFLs 
between the excavation standard in subpart P and this proposed 
standard, including which LFL (that is, 10 percent or 20 percent) 
should be adopted.
    2. Equipment necessary for a single attendant to monitor multiple 
PRCSs. Paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of proposed Sec.  1926.1210 requires 
employers to provide the equipment needed by an attendant to respond to 
an emergency affecting any of the PRCSs the attendant is monitoring. In 
the preamble discussion of this proposed provision, OSHA states that 
this equipment may include electronic equipment, such as electronic 
audio and video tools, and that it is unrealistic to expect a single 
attendant to monitor multiple PRCSs and to accomplish the other tasks 
assigned to him/her in paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  1926.1211 
without the assistance provided by this electronic equipment. OSHA is 
requesting public comment on what means (other than electronic 
equipment) are available that employers could use that would allow an 
attendant to effectively monitor multiple PRCSs and to accomplish other 
assigned tasks, while simultaneously providing employees with the same 
level of protection they would receive when an attendant monitors only 
a single PRCS.
    3. Mechanical device for vertical retrieval during rescue. 
Paragraph (a)(3) of proposed Sec.  1926.1213 would require that 
employers use a mechanical device for retrieving employees from a PRCS 
when such retrieval involves vertical distances over five feet (1.52 
m). In the preamble discussion of this proposed paragraph, OSHA noted 
that securing the retrieval line to an anchor point or using a simple 
pulley for this purpose could endanger the authorized entrant because 
most attendants do not have sufficient strength and stamina to lift a 
disabled entrant over a vertical distance of more than five feet. 
However, the Agency also noted in this discussion that it recognizes 
that using the required mechanical devices may present problems to 
employers because some PRCSs may lack room to position the equipment 
above the entry point, or employers may need to keep the entry clear 
for the attendant to observe the authorized entrants while they are 
working. Therefore, OSHA is requesting commenters to provide 
information on other alternatives (other than using anchor points and/
or simple pulleys) that employers could use for this purpose that would 
not occlude the PRCS entrance, or would be less obtrusive than the 
mechanical devices required by this proposed provision.
    4. Timely response to a rescue summons. Paragraph (b)(1)(i) of 
proposed Sec.  1926.1213 specifies that the employer must ensure that 
the rescue service can respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner, 
and defines the term ``timeliness'' as a function of how quickly a 
rescue service needs to reach an employee to prevent further serious 
physical harm that may result from hazards in the PRCS while waiting to 
be rescued. OSHA is soliciting comments on this definition, especially 
whether it is adequate as proposed, should remain performance based as 
proposed but revised in some fashion, or should specify an exact time 
for the rescue service to respond to the summons (for example, three 
minutes).
    5. Maintaining CACS and IHCS verification documents. The 
requirements of paragraph (d) of proposed Sec.  1926.1219 (Records) 
states that employers need only maintain CACS and IHCS verification 
documents until they complete the work in the confined space. In 
justifying this requirement, OSHA notes that CACSs or IHCSs typically 
involve more predictable and less complex hazard-protection conditions 
than PRCSs; consequently, the need to review and evaluate CACS and IHCS 
verification documents is less than for PRCS entry permits, which 
employers must maintain for at least one year to evaluate the safety 
and efficacy of entry operations. Therefore, the Agency believes that 
it is not necessary for employers to maintain the CACS and IHCS 
verification documents for review and evaluation after the work is 
completed. OSHA is seeking comment on whether CACS and IHCS entry 
operations warrant maintaining the verification documents for a longer 
period than specified by this proposed provision. If so, the Agency is 
requesting commenters to identify these conditions and recommend how 
long the period should be.
    6. Rescue Service Preparation and Changes in Confined-Space 
Configuration. The requirements of proposed Sec.  1926.1213(b)(1) 
states that employers ``must ensure that the entry rescue service can 
effectively perform entry-rescue tasks in the PRCSs the authorized 
entrant(s) will enter.'' In addition, proposed Sec.  
1926.1213(b)(1)(ii) requires employers to ensure that the entry rescue-
service: ``Prior to beginning operations, has access to the PRCS the 
authorized entrants will enter or to a Simulated PRCS so the entry 
rescue service can develop appropriate rescue plans and practice rescue 
operations.'' OSHA estimates that the majority of construction 
employers who perform work within confined spaces will rely upon 
public-sector emergency services to perform rescue services. 
Accordingly, the Agency is seeking comments from the public regarding 
any difficulties employers have experienced with public-sector 
emergency services being unable to perform entry rescues in confined 
spaces that rapidly change in configuration during the construction 
process. For example, have instances occurred when public-sector 
emergency services were unable to perform entry

[[Page 67392]]

rescues because the configuration of a space changed during the 
performance of construction activities, and the size and type of the 
rescue service's equipment was unsuitable for the reconfigured space? 
Is it feasible for employers to plan for changes in the configuration 
of confined spaces, and to communicate this information to public-
sector emergency services so that the rescue services can properly 
train and equip themselves to perform entry rescues in the changing 
spaces?

V. Procedural Determinations

A. Legal Authority

    The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 
(``the Act''; 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.), is ``to assure so far as possible 
every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working 
conditions and to preserve our human resources.'' (29 U.S.C. 651(b).) 
To achieve this purpose, Congress authorized the Secretary of Labor to 
promulgate and enforce occupational safety and health standards. (29 
U.S.C. 655(b) and 658.)
    Under the Act, a safety or health standard is a standard ``which 
requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, 
means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or 
appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment or places of 
employment.'' (29 U.S.C. 652(8).) A standard is reasonably necessary or 
appropriate within the meaning of Section 652(8) when it substantially 
reduces or eliminates significant risk, and is technologically and 
economically feasible, cost effective, consistent with prior Agency 
action or supported by a reasoned justification for departing from 
prior Agency action, and supported by substantial evidence; it also 
must effectuate the Act's purposes better than any national consensus 
standard it supersedes (see International Union, UAW v. OSHA (LOTO II), 
37 F.3d 665 (DC Cir. 1994; and 58 FR 16612-16616 (March 30, 1993)). 
Rules promulgated by the Agency must be highly protective (see 58 FR 
16612, 16614-15 (March 30, 1993); LOTO II, 37 F.3d 665, 669 (DC Cir. 
1994)). Moreover, Section 8(g)(2) of the Act authorizes OSHA ``to 
prescribe such rules and regulations as [it] may deem necessary to 
carry out its responsibilities under the Act'' (see 29 U.S.C. 
657(g)(2)).
    OSHA based the proposed rule on evidence that its provisions are 
necessary to ensure proper employee protection when they are exposed to 
confined spaces. Accordingly, the Agency believes that the proposed 
provisions will substantially reduce the significant risk faced by 
employees working in confined spaces (see Industrial Union Dept. v. 
American Petroleum Institute, 448 U.S. 607, 655 (1980); International 
Union v. Pendergrass, 878 F.2d 389, 392-93 (DC Cir. 1989); Building and 
Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO v. Brock, 838 F.2d 1258, 1264-65 (DC 
Cir. 1988)). OSHA also made a preliminary finding that the proposed 
rule is technologically feasible because the protective measures it 
requires already exist (see American Textile Mfrs. Institute v. OSHA 
(Cotton Dust), 452 U.S. 490, 513 (1981); American Iron and Steel 
Institute v. OSHA (Lead II), 939 F.2d 975, 980 (DC Cir. 1991)).
    The Agency believes that the proposed rule is economically feasible 
because the construction industry can absorb or pass on the costs of 
compliance without threatening its long-term profitability or 
competitive structure (see Cotton Dust, 452 U.S. at 530 n. 55 (1981); 
Lead II, 939 F.2d 975, 980 (DC Cir. 1991)). Moreover, the preliminary 
economic analysis of the proposed rule describes the benefits and costs 
of the proposed rule (see section V.B. of this preamble, ``Summary of 
the Preliminary Economic Analysis and Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis''). Based on this information, OSHA made a preliminary 
determination that the proposed rule is an economically feasible means 
of meeting its statutory objective of reducing the risk associated with 
employee exposure to confined spaces (see Cotton Dust, 453 U.S. at 514 
n. 32 (1981); LOTO II, 37 F.3d 665, 668 (DC Cir. 1994)).

B. Summary of the Preliminary Economic Analysis and the Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Under Section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (``the Act''; 29 U.S.C. 655), OSHA must ensure and demonstrate 
that standards promulgated under the Act are reasonably necessary or 
appropriate, as well as technologically and economically feasible. 
Executive Order 12866, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act also require OSHA to estimate the costs, assess the 
benefits, and analyze the impacts of certain rules that the Agency 
promulgates. Accordingly, OSHA has prepared a Preliminary Economic 
Analysis (PEA) for this proposed standard. The complete PEA can be 
found in OSHA Docket OSHA-2007-0026 (Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0002); a 
summary of the analysis is presented here. OSHA based the PEA largely 
on research conducted for this purpose by CONSAD Research Corporation 
(Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0003).
Need for Regulation
    Employees in work environments addressed by the proposed standard 
are exposed to a variety of significant hazards that can and do cause 
serious injury and death. The risks to employees are excessively large 
due to the existence of market failures, and existing and alternative 
methods of alleviating these negative consequences have been shown to 
be insufficient. After carefully weighing the various potential 
advantages and disadvantages of using a regulatory approach to improve 
upon the current situation, OSHA preliminarily concludes that in this 
case the proposed mandatory standard represents the best choice for 
reducing the risks to employees.
Affected Industries
    The proposal would affect employers and employees in a variety of 
different construction industries in which confined spaces are entered 
as part of the performance of work duties. These industries include 
firms involved in construction projects such as multi-family housing; 
industrial buildings and warehouses; other non-residential buildings; 
highway and street construction; water, sewer, power, and communication 
line construction; and other construction projects in which confined 
spaces may be present. The firms that would be primarily affected by 
the proposed standard would be those that have overall responsibility 
for the work done on a particular construction project involving a 
confined space, including the work of their own employees and that of 
any subcontractors.
Benefits, Net Benefits, and Cost Effectiveness
    The proposed standard is expected to result in an increased degree 
of safety for the affected employees. Compliance with the relevant 
provisions of the standard is expected to reduce the numbers of 
accidents, fatalities, injuries, and illnesses associated with the 
affected projects (Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0002).
    Preliminary estimates indicate that about six fatalities and 880 
injuries could be avoided annually through full compliance with the 
provisions of the proposed standard. Applying an average monetary value 
of $50,000 per prevented injury, and an average monetary value of $6.8 
million per prevented fatality, results in an estimated monetized 
benefit of about $85 million annually.

[[Page 67393]]

    Additional benefits associated with this rulemaking involve 
providing updated, clear, and comprehensive information about 
appropriate safety requirements and procedures regarding construction 
work in confined spaces to the relevant employers, employees, and 
interested members of the public. OSHA believes that the updated 
standard would enhance employee safety and would be easier to 
understand and to apply than the various requirements currently 
applicable to such work. They will benefit employers and employees by 
facilitating compliance, while improving safety. The benefits 
associated with providing updated and clear safety standards have not 
been monetized or quantified.
    Table 2 below provides a summary of the costs and benefits of the 
proposed standard, and shows the net benefits and cost effectiveness of 
the standard. Net benefits are estimated to be $8.2 million annually. 
The cost effectiveness of the standard can be expressed as the 
prevention of approximately one fatality and 147 injuries per $13 
million in costs, or alternatively, $1.11 of benefits per dollar of 
cost.

              Table 2.--Net Benefits and Cost Effectiveness
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Requirement                             Cost
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Annualized Costs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Evaluation, classification, and          $5.6 million.
 notification.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Issue permits, verify safety, and        $6.1 million.
 review procedures.
Provide ventilation and isolate hazards  $6.0 million.
Atmospheric monitoring.................  $11.7 million.
Attendant..............................  $14.0 million.
Respiratory protection.................  $10.0 million.
Rescue capability......................  $9.6 million.
Training...............................  $8.1 million.
Other requirements.....................  $5.7 million.
       Total annual costs..............   $76.8 million.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Benefit                              Quantity
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Annual Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Number of fatalities prevented.........  6.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Number of injuries prevented...........  880.
Monetized benefits (assuming $6.8        $85 million.
 million per fatality and $50,000 per
 injury prevented).
OSHA standards updated and clarified...  Not quantified.
Total annual benefits..................  6 fatalities and 880 injuries
                                          prevented.
Net annual benefits (benefits minus      $8.2 million.
 costs).
Cost effectiveness.....................  1 fatality and 147 injuries
                                          prevented per $13 million or
                                          $1.11 of benefits per $1.00 of
                                          cost.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Note: Costs represent 2002 dollars.

    OSHA recognizes that uncertainties may be associated with estimates 
of benefits. Therefore, OSHA is asking for public comment on the 
overall estimates of benefits addressed by the proposed standard, and 
the methodology used to determine the effectiveness of the standard in 
preventing death and injury.
Compliance Costs
    The estimated compliance costs for this proposed standard represent 
the additional costs necessary for employers to achieve full 
compliance. They do not include costs incurred by employers who already 
are complying with the new requirements that would be imposed by the 
proposed standard (Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0002).
    The total annual cost of compliance with the proposed standard is 
estimated to be about $77 million. The major provisions involving 
compliance costs include the evaluation, classification, and 
notification of confined spaces ($5.6 million); issuing entry permits, 
verifying the safety of spaces, and reviewing procedures ($6.1 
million); isolating hazards and providing sufficient ventilation ($6.0 
million); conducting atmospheric monitoring ($11.7 million); providing 
an attendant ($14.0 million); providing a complete respiratory-
protection program as required by 29 CFR 1926.103 ($10.0 million); 
providing rescue capability ($9.6 million); providing training ($8.1 
million); and other requirements ($5.7 million).
Economic Impacts
    To assess the effects and magnitude of the economic impacts 
associated with compliance with the proposed rule, OSHA developed 
quantitative estimates of the potential economic impact of the 
requirements on entities in each of the affected industry sectors (Ex. 
OSHA-2007-0026-0002). The estimated costs of compliance were compared 
with industry revenues and profits to provide an assessment of 
potential economic impacts.
    The costs of compliance with the proposed rule are not large in 
relation to the corresponding annual financial flows associated with 
the regulated activities. The estimated costs of compliance represent 
about 0.1 percent or less of revenues for each affected industry. 
Alternatively, the compliance costs represent less than 1 percent of 
profits for most affected industries, and no more than 2.5 percent of 
profits for any affected industry.
    The economic impact of the proposed rule is most likely to consist 
of a small increase in prices for affected construction projects of 
less than 0.03 percent on average. It is unlikely that a price increase 
on the magnitude of 0.03 percent or less will significantly alter the 
services demanded by the public or any other affected customers or 
intermediaries. If the compliance costs of the proposed rule can be 
substantially recouped with a minimal increase in

[[Page 67394]]

prices, there may be little or no effect on profits.
    OSHA concludes that compliance with the requirements of the 
proposed rule is economically feasible in every affected industry 
sector. In addition, based on an analysis of the costs and economic 
impacts associated with this rulemaking, OSHA preliminarily concludes 
that the effects of the proposed standard on international trade, 
employment, wages, and economic growth for the United States would be 
negligible.
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended in 1996, requires the 
preparation of an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for 
certain proposed rules. (5 U.S.C. 601-612.) Under the provisions of the 
law, each such analysis shall contain:
    1. A description of the impact of the proposed rule on small 
entities;
    2. A description of the reasons why action by the agency is being 
considered;
    3. A succinct statement of the objectives of, and legal basis for, 
the proposed rule;
    4. A description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number 
of small entities to which the proposed rule will apply;
    5. A description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and 
other compliance requirements of the proposed rule, including an 
estimate of the classes of small entities that will be subject to the 
requirements and the type of professional skills necessary for 
preparation of the report or record;
    6. An identification, to the extent practicable, of all relevant 
Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap or conflict with the proposed 
rule; and
    7. A description and discussion of any significant alternatives to 
the proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives of applicable 
statutes and that minimize any significant economic impact of the 
proposed rule on small entities, including:
    (a) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting 
requirements or timetables that take into account the resources 
available to small entities;
    (b) The clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small 
entities;
    (c) The use of performance rather than design standards; and
    (d) An exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, 
for such small entities.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act further states that the required 
elements of the IRFA may be performed in conjunction with or as part of 
any other agenda or analysis required by any other law if such other 
analysis satisfies the relevant provisions. The following paragraphs 
discuss each of the elements of the IRFA.

1. Impact of the Proposed Rule on Small Entities.

    OSHA has analyzed the potential impact of the proposed standards on 
small entities. The total annual cost of compliance with the proposal 
for small entities is estimated to be $42.4 million, as shown by 
industry in Table 3. To assess the potential economic impact of the 
proposal on small entities, OSHA calculated the ratios of compliance 
costs to profits and to revenues. These ratios are presented for each 
affected industry in Table 3. OSHA expects that among small entities 
potentially affected by the proposal, the average increase in prices 
necessary to completely offset the compliance costs would be 0.02 
percent. The average price increase necessary to completely offset 
compliance costs would not exceed 0.12 percent among small entities in 
any industry.

                                        Table 3.--Potential Economic Impacts for Small Entities (SBA Definition)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                 Costs as a   Costs as a
                                                                                                Small entity     Small entity    percent of   percent of
             Industry code                         Industry name            Compliance costs  revenues  ($000)      profits       revenues     profits
                                                                                                                    ($000)          (%)          (%)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIC 1522...............................  Residential Housing--Multi-family        $5,725,951       $11,495,106        $505,785         0.05         1.13
SIC 1541...............................  Industrial Buildings and                  5,866,386        19,360,399         793,776         0.03         0.74
                                          Warehouses.
SIC 1542...............................  Other Nonresidential Buildings...        11,180,340        91,307,565       3,287,072         0.01         0.34
SIC 1611...............................  Highway and Street Construction..         6,010,530        26,957,228       1,186,118         0.02         0.51
SIC 1622...............................  Bridges, Tunnels, and Elevated            4,842,583         3,933,715         110,144         0.12         4.40
                                          Highways.
SIC 1623...............................  Water, Sewer, Power, and                  1,494,314        18,867,729         641,503         0.01         0.23
                                          Communication Lines.
SIC 1629...............................  Heavy Construction, Not Elsewhere         5,304,682        15,031,723         977,062         0.04         0.54
                                          Classified.
SIC 1791...............................  Structural Steel Erection                 2,023,887         5,160,641         258,032         0.04         0.78
                                          Contractors.
                                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total \1\..........................  .................................        42,448,675       192,114,106       7,759,492         0.02        0.55
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For all Affected Industries.

    Only to the extent that such price increases are not possible would 
there be any effect on the average profits of small entities. Even in 
the unlikely event that no costs could be passed through, the 
compliance costs could be completely absorbed through an average 
reduction in profits of 0.55 percent. In most affected industries the 
compliance costs could be completely absorbed through an average 
reduction in profits of less than 1 percent; the reduction would be no 
more than 4.4 percent in any of the affected industries.
    To further ensure that potential impacts on small entities were 
fully analyzed and considered, OSHA also separately examined the 
potential impacts of the proposed standards on very small entities, 
defined as those with fewer than 20 employees. To assess the potential 
economic impact of the proposed standards on very small entities, OSHA 
calculated the ratios of compliance costs to profits and to revenues. 
These ratios are presented for each affected industry in Table 4. OSHA 
expects that among very small entities potentially affected by the 
proposed standards, the average increase in prices necessary to 
completely offset the compliance costs would be 0.03 percent.

[[Page 67395]]



                                  Table 4.--Potential Economic Impacts on Very Small Entities (Fewer than 20 Employees)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                 Costs as a   Costs as a
                                                                                                 Very small       Very small     percent of   percent of
             Industry code                         Industry name            Compliance costs   entity revenues  entity profits    revenues     profits
                                                                                                   ($000)           ($000)          (%)          (%)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIC 1522...............................  Residential Housing--Multi-family        $3,654,087        $7,366,193        $103,127         0.05         3.54
SIC 1541...............................  Industrial Buildings and                  2,790,417         8,612,408         310,047         0.03         0.90
                                          Warehouses.
SIC 1542...............................  Other Nonresidential Buildings...         5,186,374        36,053,770       1,117,667         0.01         0.46
SIC 1611...............................  Highway and Street Construction..         1,880,936         6,869,911          82,439         0.03         2.28
SIC 1622...............................  Bridges, Tunnels, and Elevated            1,234,911           797,366          45,450         0.15         2.72
                                          Highways.
SIC 1623...............................  Water, Sewer, Power, and                    531,241         6,186,875         327,904         0.01         0.16
                                          Communication Lines.
SIC 1629...............................  Heavy Construction, Not Elsewhere         4,256,837        10,014,249          80,114         0.04         5.31
                                          Classified.
SIC 1791...............................  Structural Steel Erection                   817,833         2,023,377          22,257         0.04         3.67
                                          Contractors.
                                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total \1\..........................  .................................        20,352,635        77,924,149       2,089,005         0.03        0.97
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For All Affected Industries

    Only to the extent that such price increases are not possible would 
there be any effect on the average profits of very small entities. Even 
in the unlikely event that no costs could be passed through, the 
compliance costs could be completely absorbed through an average 
reduction in profits of 0.97 percent among affected very small 
entities.

2. A Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency is Being 
Considered

    Employees performing construction work in confined spaces are 
potentially exposed to a variety of significant hazards that can and do 
cause serious injury and death. Based on research conducted by CONSAD 
(Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0003), OSHA estimates that an average of 967 
serious injuries and 6.5 fatalities occur annually among these workers, 
and that an estimated six fatalities and 880 injuries would be 
prevented annually through full compliance with the proposed standard.
    Additional benefits associated with this rulemaking involve 
providing updated, clear, and comprehensive safety standards regarding 
construction work in confined spaces to the relevant employers, 
employees, and interested members of the public. The existing OSHA 
standards for the construction industry do not directly address work in 
confined spaces in a comprehensive manner. An additional and more 
complete discussion of the reasons why this standard is being proposed 
by the Agency is provided in other sections of the preamble of this 
proposal.

3. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed 
Rule

    The primary objective of the proposed standard is to provide an 
increased degree of occupational safety for employees performing 
construction work in confined spaces. As stated above, an estimated 880 
injuries and six fatalities would be prevented annually through 
compliance with the proposed standard. Another objective of the 
proposed rulemaking is to provide updated, clear, and comprehensive 
safety standards regarding construction work in confined spaces to the 
relevant employers, employees, and interested members of the public.
    The legal basis for the rule is the responsibility given the 
Department of Labor through the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) 
Act of 1970. The OSH Act authorizes and obligates the Secretary of 
Labor to promulgate mandatory occupational safety and health standards 
as necessary ``to assure so far as possible every working man and woman 
in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our 
human resources.'' 29 U.S.C. 651(b). The legal authority can also be 
cited as 29 U.S.C. 655(b); 40 U.S.C. 333.

4. Description of and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which 
the Proposed Rule Will Apply

    OSHA has completed a preliminary analysis of the impacts associated 
with this proposal, including an analysis of the type and number of 
small entities to which the proposed rule would apply, as described 
above. In order to determine the number of small entities potentially 
affected by this rulemaking, OSHA used the definitions of small 
entities developed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for each 
industry.
    For the construction industry generally, SBA defines small 
businesses using revenue-based criteria. For most of the affected 
construction industries, including those which are mostly comprised of 
general contractors, firms with annual revenues of less than $28.5 
million are classified as small businesses. For specialty contractors, 
such as structural steel erection contractors, firms with annual 
revenues of less than $12 million are considered to be small 
businesses.
    The proposed standard would primarily impact firms that are general 
contractors on projects for which employees must enter confined spaces 
for purposes of performing construction work. Based on the definitions 
of small entities developed by SBA for each industry, the proposal is 
estimated to potentially affect a total of 86,012 small entities, as 
shown in Table 5. Included in this number are an estimated 74,088 
entities with fewer than 20 employees.

[[Page 67396]]



                            Table 5.--Profile of Potentially Affected Small Entities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Number of                                 Number of    Number of
                                                 small     Establishments   Number of    very small   employees
    Industry code          Industry name        entities     operated by    employees     entities     of very
                                                  (SBA          small        of small       (<20        small
                                              definition)     entities       entities    employees)    entities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIC 1522............  Residential Housing--         7,328          7,334        46,593        6,879       29,734
                       Multi-family.
SIC 1541............  Industrial Buildings          8,342          8,353        80,498        7,254       38,290
                       and Warehouses.
SIC 1542............  Other Nonresidential         29,483         29,523       311,451       25,710      144,477
                       Buildings.
SIC 1611............  Highway and Street           10,068         10,113       149,342        7,940       46,735
                       Construction.
SIC 1622............  Bridges, Tunnels, and           996          1,001        20,360          673        5,192
                       Elevated Highways.
SIC 1623............  Water, Sewer, Power, &       10,582         10,597       144,659        8,470       51,427
                       Communication Lines.
SIC 1629............  Heavy Construction,          15,173         15,194       120,414       13,888       96,629
                       Not Elsewhere
                       Classified.
SIC 1791............  Structural Steel              4,040          4,043        48,514        3,274       19,604
                       Erection Contractors.
                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals..........  ......................       86,012         86,158       921,831       74,088     432,088
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: CONSAD (Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0003), Tables 7.1 and 7.2.

5. Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other 
Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule

    OSHA is proposing a standard that would address the work practices 
to be used, and other requirements to be followed, for performing 
construction work in confined spaces. Employers would be required to 
keep records associated with work in confined spaces as specified by 
the standard. Records would include entry permits and verification 
documents. Regular reporting would not be required by the proposed 
standard; however, employers would be required to demonstrate 
compliance with the recordkeeping requirements as part of OSHA 
compliance inspections.
    Other compliance requirements of the proposed standard include, as 
required, the evaluation and classification of confined spaces, 
isolating hazards and providing sufficient ventilation, conducting 
atmospheric monitoring, providing an attendant, providing respiratory 
protection, providing rescue capability, and providing training.
    The preamble to the proposed standard provides a comprehensive 
description of, and further detail regarding, the provisions of the 
proposed rulemaking. A description of the types of entities that would 
be subject to the new and revised requirements, and the types of 
professional skills necessary for compliance with the requirements, is 
presented in greater detail in the preliminary economic analysis (Ex. 
OSHA-2007-0026-0002).

6. Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule

    OSHA recognizes that this proposed standard may overlap with 
provisions in other part 1926 standards, such as those generically 
addressing obligations to provide training or to provide respiratory 
protection when appropriate. OSHA has clarified the relationship 
between the proposed standard and other pre-existing construction 
standards that may be applicable in a confined space. In Sec.  
1926.1202(c), as well as Appendix A, OSHA has explained how overlapping 
standards would interact with each other, and the obligations of an 
employer in such situations. OSHA has also explained in the preamble 
how practical situations would be evaluated under the requirements of 
the draft standard when it overlaps with another OSHA requirement. OSHA 
has not identified any other Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, 
or conflict with the proposal, and requests comments from the public 
regarding this issue.

7. Alternatives to the proposed rule which accomplish the stated 
objectives of applicable statutes and which minimize any significant 
economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities

    OSHA evaluated many alternatives to the proposed standards to 
ensure that the proposed requirements would accomplish the stated 
objectives of applicable statutes and would minimize any significant 
economic impact of the proposal on small entities. In developing the 
proposal, and especially in establishing compliance or reporting 
requirements or timetables that affect small entities, the resources 
available to small entities were taken into account. Compliance and 
reporting requirements under the proposal applicable to small entities 
were clarified, consolidated, and simplified to the extent practicable. 
Wherever possible, OSHA has proposed the use of performance rather than 
design standards. An exemption from coverage of the rule for small 
entities was not considered to be a viable option under the OSH Act 
because the safety and health of the affected employees would be unduly 
jeopardized. The OSH Act contains no explicit provision that permits an 
exemption of small entities for purposes of setting safety and health 
standards.
    Many other specific alternatives to the proposed requirements were 
considered and discussed elsewhere in the preamble. The Small Business 
Advocacy Review Panel, which was convened for purposes of soliciting 
comments on the proposal from affected small entities, addressed 
several alternatives. A discussion of these alternatives is provided 
below in Table 6. Nonregulatory alternatives were also considered in 
determining the appropriate approach to reducing occupational hazards 
associated with construction work in confined spaces. These 
alternatives were discussed in Chapter III of the preliminary economic 
analysis (Ex. OSHA-2007-0026-0002).
Recommendations of the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel
    On September 26, 2003, OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy 
Review Panel (``Panel'') for this rulemaking in accordance with the 
provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), as codified at 5 U.S.C 601 et seq. The Panel 
consisted of representatives of OSHA, of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 
and of the Office of Advocacy within the U.S. Small Business 
Administration (SBA). The Panel received oral and written comments on a 
draft proposal and a draft economic analysis from small entities that 
would potentially be affected by this rulemaking. The Panel, in turn, 
prepared a written report which

[[Page 67397]]

was delivered to the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and 
Health. The report summarized the comments received from the small 
entities, and included recommendations from the Panel to OSHA regarding 
the proposal and the associated analysis of compliance costs. Table 6 
below lists each of the recommendations made by the Panel and describes 
the corresponding answers or changes made by OSHA in response to the 
issues raised.

        Table 6.--Summary of Small Business Advocacy Review Panel
                   Recommendations and OSHA Responses
------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Panel recommendation                   OSHA's response
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. The SERs generally believed that      The Agency relied on the
 OSHA had underestimated the costs of     comments from the SERs to help
 the draft proposed standard. OSHA is     ensure that the estimated
 committed by law to develop its          costs of compliance with the
 analyses using the best available        proposed standard would
 evidence, and it will consider           reflect the actual costs that
 carefully the SER comments in the        businesses could be expected
 light of this test. The Panel            to incur when complying with
 recommends that OSHA revise its          the requirements specified by
 economic and regulatory flexibility      the draft proposed standard.
 analysis as appropriate to reflect the   OSHA incorporated the comments
 SERs' comments on underestimation of     from the SERs in the
 costs, and that the Agency compare       development of the proposed
 OSHA's revised estimates to              standard and the associated
 alternative estimates provided by the    analysis in three ways. First,
 SERs. For those SER estimates that       some requirements (such as
 OSHA does not adopt, OSHA should         those addressing hazardous-
 explain its reasons for preferring an    enclosed spaces) were eased or
 alternative estimate, and solicit        eliminated altogether in light
 comment on the issue.                    of the information provided
                                          and issues raised by the SERs
                                          with regard to achieving
                                          compliance in real-world
                                          situations. Second, some
                                          requirements (such as those
                                          involving communications to/
                                          from controlling employers and
                                          the classification of spaces)
                                          were revised or clarified to
                                          avoid the potential for
                                          misinterpretations regarding
                                          the applicability of
                                          requirements and the specific
                                          actions necessary to ensure
                                          compliance, which appeared to
                                          be a source of
                                          misinterpretation among the
                                          SERS when they reviewed the
                                          estimates of compliance costs
                                          in the draft proposed
                                          standard. Third, OSHA revised
                                          upwards the estimated costs of
                                          compliance associated with
                                          some requirements (such as
                                          those involving training and
                                          atmospheric monitoring). The
                                          revisions are each discussed
                                          in further detail below in the
                                          responses to the specific
                                          Panel recommendations
                                          separately addressing each of
                                          these issues.
2. Many SERs observed that OSHA had      The Agency reviewed its
 underestimated the cost of training.     estimates of the costs of
 They were concerned particularly about   complying with the training
 the length of time required for          requirements in the proposed
 training, training the trainers,         standard in light of the
 renewal training, and multilingual       additional information
 training. The SERs also noted that       provided by the SERs. Many
 much retraining could be avoided if      SERs expressed that they
 OSHA adopted the general industry rule   already train employees to
 because most firms already have          comply with the general
 trained their employees on that rule.    industry standard. While some
 Some SERs also noted that they still     new terms, equipment, and
 need to train employees on the general   information exchange
 industry standard because some of        requirements have been
 their work would come under the          introduced in the proposed
 general industry standard. In these      construction standard, the
 situations, they would need to           core provisions in the
 continue training on the general         proposed construction standard
 industry standard while adding           are already required by the
 training on the Construction standard,   general industry standard.
 and on how employees should determine    Therefore, OSHA believes that
 which standard applies. Because OSHA's   because the proposed standard
 economic analysis examined training on   retains most of the
 a project basis, it is difficult to      requirements of the general
 compare OSHA's cost estimates to the     industry standard, there will
 estimates provided by the SERs. The      be only minimal additional
 Panel recommends that OSHA carefully     costs for employers in
 analyze the SERs' comments on training   training employees to comply
 costs by developing methods for          with the construction
 comparing these cost estimates to        standard. As such, it is
 those estimates provided in OSHA's       anticipated that employers who
 economic analysis. OSHA then should      are already familiar with the
 compare these costs to its present       general industry standard will
 cost estimates, and revise its           find that they already comply
 training costs as necessary based on     with the draft construction
 all of the available information.        standard in everyday work,
                                          therefore minimizing the
                                          amount of possible
                                          ``retraining'' necessary.
                                          However, under the proposed
                                          standard, OSHA has decided not
                                          to allow compliance with the
                                          general industry standard in
                                          lieu of compliance with the
                                          construction industry standard
                                          for construction projects
                                          since there are situations
                                          where the general industry
                                          standard would not adequately
                                          protect construction employees
                                          because of the unique
                                          characteristics of
                                          construction work (see section
                                          II.B. (``History'') of this
                                          notice for a discussion of
                                          this issue.).
                                         As a result of the comments
                                          submitted by the SERs, OSHA
                                          incorporated additional cost
                                          elements in its estimates of
                                          training costs that
                                          effectively doubled the cost
                                          estimates initially provided
                                          to the SERs. To facilitate
                                          comparability, OSHA also
                                          converted the estimated costs
                                          from project-based estimates
                                          to employer-based estimates.
                                          Under the proposed standard,
                                          on an average annual basis,
                                          estimated training costs would
                                          be equivalent to ten hours of
                                          employee time plus one hour of
                                          supervisor time for each
                                          employee; in addition, 32
                                          hours of supervisory time plus
                                          eight hours of clerical time
                                          (or an equivalent cost) would
                                          be spent every five years to
                                          develop and review the
                                          training program.

[[Page 67398]]

 
3. Many SERs stated that OSHA had        The Agency reviewed its
 neglected some elements of monitoring    estimates of the costs of
 costs, such as the need for a            complying with the atmospheric-
 competent person to conduct the          monitoring requirements in the
 monitoring, the need for the entire      proposed standard in light of
 crew to wait while a supervisor          the additional information
 performs the monitoring, the short       provided by the SERs. As a
 life span in the field of monitoring     result of the comments
 equipment, and costs associated with     submitted by the SERs, OSHA
 calibrating the equipment. Those SERs    incorporated additional cost
 affected by the hazardous-enclosed       elements in its estimates of
 spaces portion of the draft proposed     monitoring costs that
 rule were concerned particularly about   increased the cost estimate
 increased monitoring costs. The Panel    initially provided to the SERs
 notes that if the SERs' views about      by almost $6 million per year.
 the life of equipment and the need for   The costs associated with
 the entire crew to suspend work during   setting up monitoring
 monitoring are correct, and no other     equipment were increased to 20
 assumptions are changed, the costs of    minutes (instead of 10
 monitoring would be three to five        minutes) to reflect the
 times higher than OSHA estimated,        possibility of additional
 adding $6 to $12 million to the cost     losses of productive work time
 of the draft proposed standard. The      by other employees. The costs
 Panel recommends that OSHA consider      associated with purchasing and
 these factors and revise its             maintaining the necessary
 monitoring-cost estimates accordingly,   monitoring equipment were
 and that monitoring costs reflect the    doubled from $1,400 every five
 total actual costs associated with       years to $1,400 every 2.5
 conducting monitoring, including the     years to reflect various
 cost of transporting and maintaining     incidental costs identified by
 equipment, and the costs associated      the SERs, and to reflect less-
 with crew members waiting for the        than-ideal real world
 completion of monitoring activities.     conditions and unanticipated
                                          occurrences that can increase
                                          actual costs. OSHA also
                                          doubled the costs associated
                                          with periodic calibration of
                                          the equipment to reflect
                                          possible additional time and
                                          costs associated with the
                                          transportation of equipment
                                          and other incidental expenses.
4. Many SERs were concerned that the     As recommended by the Panel,
 hazardous-enclosed spaces provisions     OSHA carefully examined the
 of the draft proposed rule would         hazardous-enclosed space
 result in extensive costs with few       portion of the draft proposed
 benefits. Some SERs thought the          standard. OSHA also reexamined
 provisions required little               applicable existing
 recordkeeping beyond what they           requirements, the effects and
 currently do. Also, some SERs noted      extent of occupational risks
 that OSHA had underestimated the costs   involved, and the potential
 associated with recordkeeping. The       for risk reduction with the
 Panel is concerned that the hazardous-   promulgation of additional
 enclosed spaces provision would          regulatory requirements for
 require major atmospheric-testing and -  hazardous-enclosed spaces.
 monitoring burdens not identified in     Based on this reexamination,
 the cost analysis. The Panel             the Agency concluded that, for
 recommends that OSHA carefully examine   now, no new or additional
 the benefits and costs of this portion   requirements will be proposed
 of the rule, and compare these           for hazardous-enclosed spaces.
 requirements carefully to what is        OSHA believes that potential
 required under other existing            hazards associated with these
 regulations, and to existing             spaces are adequately covered
 construction industry practice.          by other standards (for
                                          example, 29 CFR 1926.55).
                                          Therefore, all requirements
                                          involving hazardous-enclosed
                                          spaces have been eliminated
                                          from the proposed standard for
                                          confined spaces in
                                          construction.
5. Most SERS were concerned that the     The Agency has since clarified
 treatment of controlling employers in    the duties of the controlling
 the draft proposed standard would        employer in Sec.   1926.1204
 result in additional costs for           of the proposed standard (Work
 controlling employers in the form of     evaluation, information
 increased monitoring and supervision     exchange, and coordination).
 of subcontractor activities. SERs also   In addition to explaining in
 were concerned with the costs and time   paragraph (a) of this proposed
 required to meet the coordination and    section that the controlling
 communication requirements of the        employer is only required to
 draft proposed standard. The Panel       share specific information it
 recommends that, if OSHA does not        may already have about the
 clarify these provisions, then it        space with its subcontractors,
 should examine further the possible      OSHA has further clarified in
 costs of the controlling-employer        a note to this paragraph that
 provisions in the draft proposed rule.   the controlling or host
 Also, OSHA should be certain that it     employer is not required to
 has accounted for all of the burdens     enter a confined space to
 associated with this provision.          collect the specified
                                          information for its
                                          subcontractors. Therefore, we
                                          believe that compliance with
                                          proposed Sec.   1926.1204
                                          would not be an added cost to
                                          controlling employers. Its
                                          purpose is to aid them in
                                          their duties to safely
                                          coordinate the activities of
                                          their subcontractors within
                                          the space.
6. Many SERs were concerned that the     The Agency has revised the
 increased complexity of the              classification system to
 classification system would add not      clarify and simplify how
 only to the training costs but also to   confined spaces are to be
 the costs associated with classifying    classified. The Agency
 confined spaces. The Panel recommends    believes that this system is
 that, if the classification process is   an improvement over the
 not simplified, OSHA should further      general industry standard when
 analyze the costs associated with        applied to the construction
 classifying confined spaces.             industry because it explicitly
                                          defines possible
                                          classifications, some of which
                                          enable compliance burdens for
                                          employers to be reduced where
                                          appropriate.

[[Page 67399]]

 
7. OSHA estimated that the draft         As noted in the Agency's
 proposed standard potentially affects    response to item 4 above, the
 small entities performing construction   requirements addressing
 work in confined and enclosed spaces.    hazardous-enclosed spaces that
 Small entities in eight specific         the Panel believed may impose
 construction industry classifications    a burden on the industrial
 were identified as being potentially     sector for General Contractors
 affected by the draft proposed           for Single Family Homes have
 standard. These classifications          been deleted from the proposed
 include Residential Housing (SIC         standard.
 1522); Industrial Buildings (SIC
 1541); Other Nonresidential Buildings
 (SIC 1542); Highway and Street
 Construction (SIC 1611); Bridge and
 Tunnel Construction (SIC 1622); Water,
 Sewer, and Pipeline Construction (SIC
 1623); Other Heavy Construction (SIC
 1629); and Structural Steel Erection
 (SIC 1791). For each of these industry
 classifications, Table 3 in the Panel
 report shows estimates of the total
 number of small firms in the industry,
 the number of establishments operated
 by these firms, the number of
 employees of these firms, and the
 total sales of these firms. These
 figures represent the best available
 estimates for the numbers of
 potentially affected small entities
 meeting the definition of a small
 entity established by the Small
 Business Administration for these
 particular industry sectors. In
 summary, an estimated 86,012 small
 entities are potentially affected by
 the draft proposed standard. These
 firms operate an estimated 86,158
 establishments, employ an estimated
 921,831 employees, and generate total
 sales estimated at $192 billion. In
 addition to the small entities
 identified above, small entities in
 another industry classification,
 General Contractors for Single Family
 Homes (SIC 1521), may be affected by
 the provisions of the draft proposed
 standard addressing hazardous-enclosed
 spaces. The Panel recommends that
 prior to publishing a proposed
 standard, OSHA should clarify these
 requirements and include the
 associated compliance costs, impacts,
 and benefits in the analysis of the
 proposal.
8. Almost all of the SERs found the      OSHA addressed the concerns of
 draft proposed standard difficult to     the SERs about the difficulty
 follow. The SERs stated that they        in following the text of the
 currently were using the general         proposed standard. OSHA has
 industry standard and were familiar      reorganized the regulatory
 with it. A few SERs saw some             text in such a manner that an
 advantages to the differences between    employer will be led step-by-
 the draft proposed standard and the      step through the
 general industry standard, but even      classification and safety-
 these SERs did not believe that these    precaution requirements for
 advantages were sufficient to justify    each type of confined space.
 the amount of training the draft         In addition, OSHA has included
 proposed standard would require. The     sample forms (Appendix B) to
 Panel recommends that OSHA either make   aid employers in following the
 the standard easier to follow,           proposed standard. OSHA has
 consider a standard closer to the        recognized and addressed
 general industry standard, or develop    problematic situations common
 a standard in which the classification   to construction sites that are
 provisions that provide greater          not clearly addressed by the
 flexibility to employers are optional    general industry standard
 rather than required.                    (i.e., sites where there is no
                                          host, the kind of information
                                          that needs to be exchanged
                                          between entities, doing the
                                          initial hazard assessment of a
                                          previously unclassified space,
                                          etc.). OSHA has adopted many
                                          of the general industry
                                          provisions, and adjusted them
                                          for use on a construction
                                          worksite.
9. Most SERs were confused by the        OSHA has revised the regulatory
 distinctions between types of confined   text to allow an employer to
 spaces. One SER referred to the          choose, to a degree, the level
 distinctions as ``metaphysical.'' The    of protection provided by a
 Panel recommends that if these           classification of a confined
 distinctions are retained, they should   space that is most appropriate
 be made clearer, or OSHA should          for the hazards within the
 consider making such classifications     space. One exception is, as
 optional.                                stated in proposed Sec.
                                          1926.1206(a)(1), employers
                                          must classify any confined
                                          space as a CS-PRCS if that
                                          space meets the definition of
                                          a CS-PRSC. For all other
                                          spaces, proposed Sec.
                                          1926.1206(a)(2) allows
                                          employers to classify a space
                                          as a PRCS or, alternatively,
                                          as a CACS or IHCS if the
                                          employer can meet the
                                          applicable requirements.
10. Many SERs noted that the hazardous-  See the Agency's response to
 enclosed spaces requirements would       item 4 above.
 result in a major recordkeeping
 burden. Some SERs believed that these
 requirements represented major new
 requirements for many contractors.
 OSHA notes that a few of the SERs
 seemed unacquainted with some of the
 requirements of existing regulations.
 The Panel notes that the requirement
 to evaluate each potentially hazardous
 space, implicit in Sec.
 1926.1225(a)(3), could radically alter
 the compliance requirements and the
 costs of the rule in ways not
 reflected in OSHA's Preliminary
 Initial Regulatory Flexibility
 Analysis. The Panel recommends that
 OSHA more carefully explain the
 relation of these requirements to
 existing requirements and practice,
 and explain the need for different
 requirements.

[[Page 67400]]

 
11. SERs were concerned that the         As stated above, OSHA has
 provisions addressing controlling        clarified the responsibilities
 employers would require general          of controlling employers in
 contractors to develop confined-space    proposed Sec.   1926.1204. In
 expertise and provide confined-space     addition to sharing specific
 supervision. OSHA's intent with these    information that it may have
 provisions was not to change existing    about the space with its
 relations between general contractors    affected subcontractors, the
 and their subcontractors, but rather     note to that section clearly
 to assure that general contractors       states that employers are not
 provide subcontractors with the          required to enter a confined
 information they possess relevant to     space to gather such
 confined spaces. Some SERs agreed that   information for its
 additional information could be          subcontractors. OSHA's intent
 useful. The Panel recommends that OSHA   is not to change existing
 clarify this requirement to indicate     relations between general
 that the role of the controlling         contractors and their
 employer is only to provide any          subcontractors, but rather to
 information they possess concerning      assure that general
 confined spaces.                         contractors provide
                                          subcontractors with the
                                          information they possess
                                          relevant to their
                                          subcontractors working safely
                                          within a confined space. The
                                          proposed standard does not
                                          require controlling employers
                                          to develop ``confined-space
                                          expertise'' to fulfill their
                                          duties in the proposed
                                          standard.
12. OSHA's Hazard Communication          OSHA recognizes that the draft
 standard also provides guidance to       proposed standard may overlap
 employers on the use of certain          with provisions in other 1926
 chemicals in the workplace. However,     standards. OSHA has clarified
 OSHA does not see any conflict between   the relationship between the
 this standard and the draft proposed     draft proposed standard and
 standard. The Hazard Communication       other pre-existing
 standard provides general                construction standards which
 precautionary information regarding      may be applicable in a
 the use of certain chemicals and         confined space. In Sec.
 products; the draft proposed standard    1926.1202(c), as well as
 provides more explicit requirements      Appendix A, of the proposed
 for conditions specific to confined      standard, OSHA has explained
 and enclosed spaces. Also, many          how overlapping standards
 construction contractors still will      would interact with each
 need to follow the general industry      other, and the obligations of
 standard [for confined spaces] in some   an employer in such
 types of work, and thus need to train    situations. OSHA has also
 their workers in using two different     explained in the preamble of
 standards, and when to apply each        the proposal how practical
 standard. The SERs identified other      situations would be evaluated
 federal standards that they believe      under the requirements of the
 address the hazards associated with      proposed standard when it
 confined and enclosed spaces,            overlaps with another OSHA
 including OSHA standards for             requirement. OSHA is currently
 Ventilation (Sec.   1926.57) and for     unaware of any other Federal
 Gases, Vapors, Fumes, Dusts, and Mists   agency standards that overlap
 (1926.55), and EPA and HUD rules on      or conflict with those of
 abatement work. Accordingly, the Panel   OSHA.
 recommends that OSHA clarify the exact
 relation between the draft proposed
 standard and other standards affecting
 work by construction employers in
 confined or enclosed spaces, including
 the Hazard Communication standard, the
 general industry standard, the
 Permissible Exposure Limit standards,
 the Ventilation standard, the Gases,
 Vapors, Fumes, Dusts, and Mists
 standard, and applicable EPA and HUD
 standards.
13. Alternatives to adopting the draft   OSHA considered alternatives to
 proposed standard developed by OSHA      drafting its own confined-
 include adopting the draft proposed      space standard for
 standard developed by the Advisory       construction. The general
 Committee for Construction Safety and    industry standard was
 Health [ACCSH], the industry consensus   considered, but found to be
 standard developed by the American       unsuitable for the
 National Standards Institute [ANSI],     construction industry. OSHA
 or the existing OSHA general industry    believes that the general
 standard [for confined spaces].          industry standard does not
 Additional alternatives include          adequately address some
 modifying the OSHA draft proposed        problematic situations common
 standard by removing provisions          to construction sites. These
 addressing hazardous-enclosed spaces,    concerns include multiple
 removing the requirement to classify     subcontractors working within
 spaces in the least hazardous            one space and hazards created
 category, revising requirements for      as a confined space is built
 atmospheric monitoring to allow          around employees. ANSI is
 periodic monitoring instead of           presently considering whether
 continuous monitoring, and/or reducing   it is feasible to begin
 or eliminating recordkeeping             drafting a confined-spaces
 requirements. The Panel recommends       standard for application
 that OSHA continue to consider these     specifically in construction.
 alternatives, and discuss and solicit    OSHA addressed major concerns
 comment on them in the proposed rule.    of the SERs regarding the
                                          hazardous-enclosed space
                                          requirements in the draft
                                          proposed standard by removing
                                          that section completely. As
                                          previously stated above, OSHA
                                          has also revised the draft
                                          proposed standard to allow
                                          employers greater flexibility
                                          in choosing the classification
                                          of a confined space that
                                          provides the best protection
                                          for its employees from the
                                          hazards within the particular
                                          space. Finally, OSHA has
                                          worked to reduce employers'
                                          recordkeeping requirements by
                                          minimizing the time necessary
                                          for employers to maintain
                                          documentation. For example, in
                                          proposed Sec.   1926.1218, an
                                          employer will only be required
                                          to maintain entry permits for
                                          one year, while verification
                                          documents must only be kept so
                                          long as there is ongoing work
                                          in that confined space.

[[Page 67401]]

 
14. Most SERs indicated a preference     As stated before, the draft
 for using the general industry           proposed confined-spaces
 standard for construction work, as       standard for construction
 opposed to the draft proposed            addresses some concerns that
 standard. OSHA is concerned that not     are unique to the construction
 all construction employers are as        industry. OSHA believes that
 familiar with the general industry       the reorganization of the
 standard as the SERs are, and that       proposed standard and the
 some employers might benefit from a      elimination of the section on
 standard designed to provide greater     hazardous-enclosed spaces
 compliance flexibility. The Panel        address the safety concerns of
 recommends that OSHA consider the        confined spaces in
 alternative of adopting the general      construction in a manner that
 industry standard and, if this           makes it easier to read and to
 alternative is not adopted, discuss      comply with than the general
 and solicit comment on this              industry standard for confined
 alternative in the proposed rule. If     spaces.
 OSHA does not adopt a standard closer   OSHA requests that the public
 to the general industry standard, the    submit comments regarding the
 Panel recommends that OSHA revise its    degree of flexibility granted
 comparative cost analysis of the         to employers in classifying
 general industry rule and the draft      confined spaces. In addition,
 proposed standard to take account of     OSHA solicits comment on how
 SERs' concerns about the increased       an alternative standard
 training, communication, and             similar to the general
 classification costs associated with     industry standard could be
 the draft proposed standard. The Panel   adapted to the construction
 also recommends that OSHA solicit        sector. [Note that the general
 comment on how an alternative standard   industry standard and other
 similar to the general industry          alternatives to the proposed
 standard could be adapted to the         rule are discussed above under
 construction sector. In addition, the    item 13 of this table. In
 Panel recommends that OSHA analyze and   addition to the general
 solicit comment on the nonregulatory     industry standard, other
 alternative of not issuing a final       alternatives include the ANSI
 standard, relying instead on existing    and draft ACCSH standards for
 standards and improved outreach.         confined spaces. The
                                          applicability and relationship
                                          of the general industry
                                          standard and the other
                                          alternative standards to this
                                          proposed standard are
                                          discussed elsewhere in this
                                          preamble (i.e., in the section
                                          entitled ``History'' for the
                                          general industry and draft
                                          ACCSH standards, and in the
                                          section entitled
                                          ``Applicability of Existing
                                          Consensus Standards'' for the
                                          ANSI standard).]
15. The SERs were confused by the        The Agency has reduced the
 variety of distinctions among confined   number of classifications by
 spaces, and generally believed that      removing the classification of
 the training required by these           ``Hazardous-Enclosed Space.''
 provisions negated any advantages that   We have further clarified the
 might arise from the flexibility of      four remaining categories by
 different types of confined spaces.      reorganizing the text of the
 The Panel recommends that OSHA examine   proposed standard to ensure
 and solicit comment on alternatives      that all requirements for each
 that reduce the number of types of       classification type can be
 confined spaces, and that OSHA           found in one section. OSHA
 consider alternatives that would allow   requests that the public
 employers the choice of using or         submit comments regarding
 ignoring these provisions.               other alternatives to the
                                          proposed rule. The Agency
                                          believes that, because the
                                          proposed standard is based on
                                          many of the requirements
                                          already required in the
                                          general industry standard,
                                          there will be minimal
                                          additional costs for employers
                                          to train their employees on
                                          the proposed construction
                                          standard.
16. Many SERs viewed the requirements    As recommended by the Panel,
 for hazardous-enclosed spaces as         OSHA has removed the
 highly burdensome. The Panel             provisions for Hazardous-
 recommends that OSHA remove this         Enclosed Spaces.
 provision unless OSHA can (1) clarify
 exactly how the requirements of this
 provision are different from other
 existing requirements and practices;
 (2) develop a detailed cost analysis
 of this provision; (3) quantify the
 hazards associated with hazardous-
 enclosed spaces; and (4) explain how
 the hazardous-enclosed space
 provisions can serve to reduce these
 hazards. If OSHA retains this
 requirement or one like it, OSHA also
 should solicit comment on the need for
 the recordkeeping requirements in the
 provision. In addition, OSHA should
 solicit comment on removing this
 provision entirely.
17. Most SERs were concerned that the    As stated previously, proposed
 provisions for controlling employers     Sec.   1926.1204(a), and the
 would alter the existing relationship    note to that section, clarify
 between contractors and subcontractors   the duties of the controlling
 with little gain in reduced risk to      employer and explain that a
 employees. OSHA notes that the purpose   controlling employer will not
 of this provision was only to ensure     be required to enter a
 that contractors share available         confined space to gather the
 information at multi-employer            specified information for the
 worksites. OSHA cannot regulate          subcontractor. [As noted above
 contractual matters between parties or   in the preamble discussion to
 prevent terms of contracts that          proposed Sec.   1926.1204(a),
 require subcontractors to follow         employees of subcontractors on
 instructions of general contractors.     multi-employer worksites,
 Some SERs agreed that information        which are common in the
 sharing would be helpful, but were       construction industry, may
 concerned that the OSHA draft went far   enter a confined space after
 beyond this purpose. The Panel           another subcontractor's
 recommends that OSHA consider removing   employees have completed work
 this provision or clarifying the         within the space. In these
 purpose of this provision, and solicit   confined space situations, the
 comment in the proposal on the need      completed work can affect the
 for this provision.                      health and safety of employees
                                          who subsequently enter the
                                          confined space. Therefore, it
                                          is critical for the safety of
                                          all employees on a worksite
                                          that contractors and
                                          subcontractors communicate the
                                          following information with
                                          each other: the location of
                                          confined spaces, hazardous
                                          conditions affecting confined
                                          spaces, precautions taken to
                                          address those hazards, and
                                          classifications of the
                                          confined spaces. Requiring
                                          communication between
                                          employers is an efficient way
                                          to ensure that each employer
                                          learns important information
                                          about the confined space
                                          hazards present so that all
                                          employees are adequately
                                          protected.]
------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. OMB Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The proposed Confined Spaces in Construction Standard contains 
collection-of-information (paperwork) requirements that are subject to 
review by the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (``PRA-95''), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., 
and OMB's regulations at 5 CFR part 1320. The Paperwork Reduction Act 
defines ``collection of information'' as ``the obtaining, causing to be 
obtained, soliciting, or requiring the disclosure to third parties or 
the public of facts or opinions by or for an agency regardless

[[Page 67402]]

of form or format * * *'' (44 U.S.C. 3502(3)(A)). OSHA submitted the 
collection-of-information requirements identified in the NPRM to OMB 
for review (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)). OSHA solicits comments on the 
collection-of-information requirements and the estimated burden hours 
associated with these collections, including comments on the following:
     Whether the proposed collection-of-information 
requirements are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's 
functions, including whether the information is useful;
     The accuracy of OSHA's estimate of the burden (time and 
cost) of the information-collection requirements, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     The quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden on employers who must comply, 
for example, by using automated or other technological techniques for 
collecting and transmitting information.
    The title, description of the need for and proposed use of the 
information, description of the respondents, and frequency of response 
of the information collections are described below, along with an 
estimate of the annual reporting burden and cost as required by 5 CFR 
1320.5(a)(1)(iv) and 1320.8(d)(2).
    Title: Confined Spaces in Construction (29 CFR part 1926 subpart 
AA).
    Description and Proposed Use of the Collections of Information: The 
proposed standard would impose new information-collection requirements 
for purposes of PRA-95. The collection-of-information requirements in 
the proposed standard have not been approved by OMB. These provisions 
are needed to protect the health and safety of employees who work in 
confined spaces at construction worksites.
    The paperwork requirements would impose a duty to produce and 
maintain records on employers who implement controls and take other 
measures to protect employees from confined-space hazards in 
construction. Accordingly, each construction business that has 
employees who enter a confined space would be required to have, as 
applicable, the following documents on file and available at the job 
site: entry permits that contain atmospheric-testing and -monitoring 
information; documentation regarding classification of the space; 
inspection information identifying physical hazards; signed 
verifications regarding atmospheric- and physical-hazard determinations 
and the methods used to protect employees from these hazards; 
information required to be communicated to contractors and controlling 
contractors; a copy of the standard or written permit-required 
confined-space (PRCS) entry program; information provided to medical 
facilities; an annual review of PRCS entries, and training records for 
each employee. The documents would have to be made available for review 
by the affected employees and their authorized representatives before 
employees enter the space. OSHA also would have access to the records 
to determine compliance. An employer's failure to generate and disclose 
the information required in this standard will affect significantly the 
Agency's effort to control and reduce injuries and fatalities related 
to confined spaces in construction.
    Table 7 below identifies and describes the new collections of 
information contained in the proposed standard.

    Table 7.--Collection-of-Information Requirements of the Proposed
                                Standard
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paragraph 1926.1204(c): Contractors must provide confined-space
 information to controlling contractors and host employers.
Paragraph 1926.1205(b)(1): Employers must provide or communicate
 atmospheric-hazard information to medical facilities treating employees
 for exposure to atmospheres that are immediately dangerous to life and
 health.
Paragraph 1926.1209(a)(2): Employers must post PRCS danger signs.
Paragraph 1926.1209(d)(5): Employers must maintain records containing
 specified PRCS training information.
Paragraph 1926.1209(f): Employers must develop safe PRCS termination
 procedures.
Paragraph 1926.1210(a): Employers must prepare and post PRCS entry
 permits containing specified information.
Paragraphs 1926.1210(e)(2)(v) and 1926.1211(e)(3): Entry supervisors
 must sign the PRCS entry permits.
Paragraph 1926.1211(c): Employers must document exposure-monitoring
 results in the PRCS entry permits.
Paragraphs 1926.1211(f)(5), (f)(6), (f)(7), and (f)(11): Attendants
 must: communicate with authorized entrants under specified conditions;
 inform PRCS rescue services when a non-entry or entry rescue is
 required; inform employers when non-entry or entry rescue begins, and
 the need to provide medical aid or escape assistance to authorized
 entrants; warn individuals who are not authorized entrants to stay away
 from, or to exit, PRCSs; and warn authorized entrants and entry
 supervisors of any unauthorized PRCS entry.
Paragraphs 1926.1211(g)(2), (g)(3), and (g)(4)(i): Authorized entrants
 must: communicate with attendants under specified conditions; and
 inform attendants of any signs, symptoms, unusual behavior or other
 effect of a hazard.
Paragraph 1926.1211(h)(2): Employers must summon PRCS entry rescue
 services under specified conditions.
Paragraph 1926.1213(b)(2): Employers must provide PRCS entry rescue
 services with specified information regarding the PRCSs in which the
 services conduct rescue operations.
Paragraph 1926.1214(b): Employers must review PRCS entry permits at
 least annually using specified documents and information.
Paragraph 1926.1216(a)(3): Employers must verify and document specified
 CACS initial conditions.
Paragraph 1926.1216(b)(1)(ii): Employers must post CACS danger signs.
Paragraph 1926.1216(b)(2)(v): Employers must maintain records containing
 specified CACS training information.
Paragraphs 1926.1216(d)(4) and (e)(3): Employers must verify and
 document specified CACS conditions before entry and during entry.
Paragraphs 1926.1217(a)(4) and (c)(3): Employers must verify and
 document specified IHCS initial conditions and conditions before entry.
Paragraphs 1926.1219(a), (b), and (d): Employers must: maintain a copy
 of the standard or a written confined-space program at the worksite;
 retain PRCS entry permits for at least one year; and maintain CACS and
 IHCS verification documents until the confined-space work is completed.
Paragraph 1926.1219(e): On request from the Secretary of Labor or the
 Secretary's designee, employers must disclose documents required to be
 retained by the standard.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.
    Number of Respondents: 90,760.
    Frequency: On occasion (for most of the information-collection 
requirements; determined by the onset of confined-space operations); 
annually (for reviewing PRCS entry permits).
    Average Time per Response: Varies from one minute to maintain a 
training record to one hour to develop a written confined-space 
program.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1.04 million hours.
    Estimated Costs (Operation and Maintenance): $0.
    Submitting comments. Members of the public who wish to comment on 
the

[[Page 67403]]

paperwork requirements in this proposal must send their written 
comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: 
OSHA Desk Officer (RIN 1218-AB47), Office of Management and Budget, 
Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. The Agency 
encourages commenters to also submit their comments on these paperwork 
requirements to the rulemaking docket, along with their comments on 
other parts of the proposed rule. For instructions on submitting these 
comments to the rulemaking docket, see the sections of this Federal 
Register notice titled DATES and ADDRESSES.
    Docket and inquiries. To access the docket to read or download 
comments and other materials related to this paperwork determination, 
including the complete Information Collection Request (ICR) (containing 
the Supporting Statement (describing the paperwork determinations in 
detail), OMB-83-I Form, and attachments) use the procedures described 
under the section of this notice titled ADDRESSES. You also may obtain 
an electronic copy of the complete ICR by visiting the Web page http://
www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Scroll under ``Currently Under 
Review'' to ``Department of Labor (DOL)'' to view all of the DOL's 
ICRs, including those ICRs submitted for proposed rulemakings. To make 
inquiries, or to request other information, contact Mr. Todd Owen, 
Directorate of Standards and Guidance, OSHA, Room N-3609, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.

D. Federalism

    The Agency reviewed the proposed rule according to the most recent 
Executive Order (``E.O.'') on Federalism (E.O. 13132, 64 FR 43225). 
This E.O. requires that Federal agencies, to the extent possible, 
refrain from limiting State policy options, consult with States before 
taking actions that restrict their policy options, and take such 
actions only when clear constitutional authority exists and the problem 
is national in scope. The E.O. allows Federal agencies to preempt State 
law only with the expressed consent of Congress. In such cases, Federal 
agencies must limit preemption of State law to the extent possible.
    Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (``the 
Act''; 29 U.S.C. 667) expressly provides OSHA with authority to preempt 
State occupational safety and health standards to the extent that the 
Agency promulgates a Federal standard under Section 6 of the Act. 
Accordingly, Section 18 of the Act authorizes the Agency to preempt 
State promulgation and enforcement of requirements dealing with 
occupational safety and health issues covered by OSHA standards unless 
the State has an OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plan 
(namely, is a State-Plan State). (See Gade v. National Solid Wastes 
Management Association, 112 S. Ct. 2374 (1992).)
    With respect to States that do not have OSHA-approved plans, the 
Agency concludes that this proposed rule would conform to the 
preemption provisions of the Act. Additionally, Section 18 of the Act 
prohibits States without approved plans from issuing citations for 
violations of OSHA standards; the Agency finds that the proposed 
rulemaking would not expand this limitation. Therefore, for States that 
do not have approved occupational safety and health plans, this 
proposed rule would not affect the preemption provisions of Section 18 
of the Act.
    OSHA has authority under E.O. 13132 to promulgate the proposed rule 
in 26 CFR part 1926 because the employee exposures to confined spaces 
in the construction industry addressed by the proposed requirements are 
national in scope. The Agency concludes that the requirements in this 
proposed rule would provide employers in every State with critical 
information to use when protecting their employees from the risks of 
exposure to confined spaces. However, while OSHA drafted the proposed 
requirements to protect employees in every State, Section 18(c)(2) of 
the Act permits State-Plan States and Territories to develop and 
enforce their own standards for confined spaces in construction 
provided these requirements are at least as effective in providing safe 
and healthful employment and places of employment as the final 
requirements that result from this proposal.
    In summary, this proposed rule complies with E.O. 13132. In States 
without OSHA-approved State Plans, Congress expressly provides for OSHA 
standards to preempt State job safety and health rules in areas 
addressed by the Federal standards; in these States, this rule limits 
State policy options in the same manner as every standard promulgated 
by the Agency. In States with OSHA-approved State Plans, this 
rulemaking does not significantly limit State policy options.

E. State-Plan States

    Section 18(c)(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
(29 U.S.C. 667(c)(2)) requires State-Plan States to adopt mandatory 
standards promulgated by OSHA. Accordingly, the 24 States and two 
Territories with their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health 
plans would have to adopt provisions comparable to the provisions in 
this proposed rule within six months after the Agency publishes the 
final rule that it develops from this proposal. The Agency believes 
that the proposed rule would provide employers in State-Plan States and 
Territories with critical information and methods necessary to protect 
their employees from the physical and atmospheric hazards found in and 
around confined spaces during construction. The 24 States and two 
Territories with State Plans are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, 
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New 
Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, 
Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. Connecticut, New 
Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans 
that apply to State and local government employees only. Until a State-
Plan State/Territory promulgates its own comparable provisions base on 
the final rule developed from this proposal, Federal OSHA will provide 
the State/Territory with interim enforcement assistance, as 
appropriate.

F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    OSHA reviewed this proposed rule according to the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995 (``UMRA''; 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) and Executive 
Order 12875 (58 FR 58093). As discussed above in section III of this 
preamble (``Summary of the Preliminary Economic Analysis and Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis''), the Agency estimates that 
compliance with this proposed rule would require private-sector 
employers to expend about $77 million each year. However, while this 
proposed rule establishes a federal mandate in the private sector, it 
is not a significant regulatory action within the meaning of Section 
202 of the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1532).
    Under voluntary agreement with OSHA, some States enforce compliance 
with their State standards on public sector entities, and these 
agreements specify that these State standards must be equivalent to 
OSHA standards. Thus, although OSHA has included compliance costs for 
the affected public sector entities in its analysis of the expected 
impacts associated with the proposal, the proposal would not involve 
any unfunded mandates being imposed on any State or local government 
entity. Consequently, this proposed rule does not meet the

[[Page 67404]]

definition of a ``Federal intergovernmental mandate'' (see Section 
421(5) of the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 658(5))). Therefore, for the purposes of 
the UMRA, the Agency preliminarily certifies that this proposed rule 
does not mandate that State, local, and tribal governments adopt new, 
unfunded regulatory obligations, nor does the proposed rule increase 
the expenditures by the private sector of more than $100 million a 
year.

G. Applicability of Existing Consensus Standards

    Section 6(b)(8) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
(``the Act''; 29 U.S.C. 655(b(8)) requires OSHA to explain ``why a rule 
promulgated by the Secretary differs substantially from an existing 
national consensus standard,'' by publishing ``a statement of the 
reasons why the rule as adopted will better effectuate the purposes of 
the Act than the national consensus standard.'' The Agency is not 
proposing to adopt the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 
Z117.1 consensus standard (``Safety Requirements for Confined Spaces'') 
as the OSHA confined-spaces-in-construction standard for several 
reasons:
    1. The Agency believes that the ANSI standard concentrates on 
confined spaces with oxygen-deficient atmospheres, or with potential 
overexposures to air contaminants. In this regard, OSHA concurs with 
the findings it published in the preamble to the general industry 
confined-spaces standard (58 FR 4464). After reviewing relevant 
publications by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health, the ANSI Z117.1 standards (both the 1989 and the 1977 
editions), and the relevant guidelines developed by other 
organizations, the Agency decided to diverge from the approach used by 
those standards-setting groups because their documents do not provide 
sufficient guidance for employers to distinguish among the several 
types of confined spaces that may be encountered, and among the variety 
of hazards associated with each type of confined space.
    2. OSHA believes that the structure and organization of the ANSI 
standard is not sufficiently user-friendly for small businesses, 
especially those that rarely deal with confined spaces.
    3. The ANSI standard does not adequately address construction-
specific hazards, such as those posed by CS-PRCSs.
    OSHA understands that ANSI is developing a consensus standard for 
confined spaces in construction. Should ANSI publish this consensus 
standard after the comment period for this proposed standard ends but 
prior to completing a final rule, OSHA will determine whether it is 
appropriate to reopen the rulemaking record based on its careful review 
of the ANSI standard.

H. Review of the Proposed Standard by the Advisory Committee for 
Construction Safety and Health

    The proposed subpart would add requirements to the existing 
standards in 29 CFR part 1926 that protect employees from exposure to 
confined-space hazards found in the construction industry. Accordingly, 
OSHA's regulation governing the Advisory Committee on Construction 
Safety and Health (ACCSH) at 29 CFR 1912.3 requires OSHA to consult 
with the ACCSH whenever the Agency proposes a rule that involves the 
occupational safety and health of construction employees. At the 
regular meeting of the ACCSH on October 19, 2004, OSHA briefed the 
members on the proposed subpart using a slide presentation, and then 
responded to their questions. It subsequently provided the members of 
the ACCSH with copies of the slides and the proposed regulatory text 
for their review. At the ACCSH's next regular meeting on February 17, 
2005, the OSHA staff answered additional questions from the members; 
the members then recommended that OSHA proceed with publishing the 
proposal, taking into consideration written and oral comments provided 
by them during the meeting.

I. Public Participation--Comments and Hearings

    OSHA encourages members of the public to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting comments on the proposal and documentary 
evidence. In this regard, the Agency invites interested parties having 
knowledge of, or experience with, confined spaces in construction to 
participate in this process, and welcomes any pertinent data and cost 
information that will provide it with the best available evidence on 
which to develop the final regulatory requirements.
    Comments. The Agency invites interested parties to submit written 
data, views, and arguments concerning this proposal. In particular, the 
Agency welcomes comments on its determination of the economic or other 
regulatory impacts of the proposed rule on the regulated community. 
When submitting comments, follow the procedures specified above in the 
sections titled DATES and ADDRESSES. The comments must clearly identify 
the provision of the proposal being addressed, the position taken with 
respect to each issue, and the basis for that position. Comments, along 
with supporting data and references, received by the end of the 
specified comment period will become part of the proceedings record, 
and will be available electronically for public inspection at the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov), or may be read 
at the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., 
Washington. (See the section of this Federal Register notice titled 
ADDRESSES for additional information on how to access these documents.)
    Informal Public Hearings. Requests for a hearing should be 
submitted to the Agency as set forth above under the sections of this 
notice titled DATES and ADDRESSES.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1926

    Construction industry, Occupational safety and health, Safety.

Authority and Signature

    Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational 
Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., 
NW., Washington, DC 20210, directed the preparation of this notice. The 
Agency is issuing this proposal under the following authorities: 
Sections 4, 6(b), 8(c), and 8(g) of the Occupational Safety and Health 
Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Section 3704 of the Contract 
Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (40 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.); Section 4 
of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553); Secretary of 
Labor's Order No. 5-2002 (67 FR 65008); and 29 CFR part 1911.

    Signed at Washington, DC on November 2, 2007.
Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble of this proposed rule, the 
Agency is proposing to amend 29 CFR part 1926 by adding subpart AA to 
read as follows:

PART 1926--[AMENDED]

Subpart AA--Confined Spaces in Construction
Sec.
1926.1200 [Reserved]
1926.1201 Introduction.
1926.1202 Scope.
1926.1203 Definitions applicable to this subpart.
1926.1204 Worksite evaluation, information exchange, and 
coordination.
1926.1205 Atmospheric testing and monitoring.
1926.1206 Classification and precautions.
1926.1207 Reassessment.

[[Page 67405]]

1926.1208 Permit-required confined spaces.
1926.1209 PRCS--initial tasks.
1926.1210 PRCS--preparing for entry.
1926.1211 PRCS--during entry.
1926.1212 PRCS--terminating entry.
1926.1213 PRCS--rescue criteria.
1926.1214 PRCS--entry permits.
1926.1215 Continuous System-PRCS.
1926.1216 Controlled-atmosphere confined spaces--requirements for 
classification and accident prevention and protection.
1926.1217 Isolated hazard confined spaces--requirements for 
classification and accident prevention and protection.
1926.1218 Equipment.
1926.1219 Records.
Appendix A to subpart AA of part 1926--List of Confined-Space 
Requirements in Other Construction Standards that Supplement the 
Requirements of subpart AA (Mandatory)
Appendix B to subpart AA of part 1926--Sample Entry Permit for PRCSs 
and CS-PRCSs and Sample Verification Document for CACSs and IHCSs 
(Non-Mandatory)

Subpart AA--Confined Spaces in Construction

    Authority: Section 3704 of the Contract Work Hours and Safety 
Standards Act (40 U.S.C. 3701); Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 
657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 5-2007 (72 FR 31159); and 29 
CFR Part 1911.


Sec.  1926.1200  [Reserved]


Sec.  1926.1201  Introduction.

    (a) This standard sets out safety precautions that must be taken 
when working within or near a confined space that is subject to a 
hazard. Wherever the term ``hazard'' is used in this standard, it means 
an existing hazard or a hazard that has a reasonable probability of 
occurring in or near a confined space. A confined space is a space that 
has all of the following characteristics: Is large enough and so 
arranged that an employee can bodily enter it, has limited or 
restricted means for entry and exit, and is not designed for continuous 
employee occupancy.
    (b) A confined space that is subject to a hazard must be 
classified. The classification determines what accident-prevention and 
-protection requirements apply to that space.
    (1) There are four classifications:
    (i) Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space (CS-PRCS).
    (ii) Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS).
    (iii) Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space (CACS).
    (iv) Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS).
    (2) The employer has the option of selecting any of these 
classifications, as long as the employer meets the applicable 
requirements for the classification selected . The one exception is 
that a space with the characteristics of a CS-PRCS cannot be given a 
different classification.
    (c) There are precautions that must be followed if employees have 
to enter a space when in the process of determining which 
classification will be used (see Sec.  1926.1204(b)(2)).
    (d) If the contractor determines under Sec.  1926.1204 that the 
confined space is not subject to any hazards (in which case the 
confined space need not be classified), the contractor must complete a 
reassessment of that determination upon the occurrence of any of the 
indications for reassessment specified in Sec.  1926.1207(a).


Sec.  1926.1202  Scope.

    (a) This standard applies to employers engaged in construction work 
and who have confined spaces at their job site, unless one of the 
exceptions in paragraph (b) of this section applies.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1202(a): Examples of locations where confined 
spaces may occur include, but are not limited to, the following: 
Bins; boilers; pits (such as elevator, escalator, pump, valve or 
other equipment); manholes (such as sewer, storm drain, electrical, 
communication, or other utility); tanks (such as fuel, chemical, 
water, or other liquid, solid or gas); boilers; incinerators; 
scrubbers; concrete pier columns; sewers; transformer vaults; 
heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts; storm 
drains; water mains; precast concrete and other pre-formed manhole 
units; drilled shafts; enclosed beams; vessels; digesters; lift 
stations; cesspools; silos; air receivers; sludge gates; air 
preheaters; step up transformers; turbines; chillers; bag houses; 
and/or mixers/reactors.

    (b) Exceptions. This standard does not apply to:
    (1) Construction work regulated by 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart Y 
(Diving).
    (2) Non-sewer construction work regulated by 29 CFR part 1926 
subpart P (Excavations).
    (3) Non-sewer construction work regulated by 29 CFR part 1926 
subpart S (Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams and 
Compressed Air).
    (c) Where this standard applies and there is a provision that 
addresses a confined space hazard in another applicable OSHA standard, 
the employer must comply with both that standard's provision(s) and the 
applicable provisions of this standard.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1202(c): A list of confined-space provisions 
in other construction standards is in Appendix A to this subpart.

    (d) The duties of controlling contractors under this standard 
include, but are not limited to, the duties specified in Sec.  
1926.1204(a).


Sec.  1926.1203  Definitions applicable to this subpart.

    Atmospheric hazard (see the definition of Hazardous atmosphere).
    Attendant is an employee stationed outside one or more PRCSs who 
performs the duties specified in Sec.  1926.1211(f) (Attendant duties).
    Authorized entrant is an employee who the employer authorizes to 
enter a PRCS and performs the duties specified in Sec.  1926.1211(g) 
(Authorized entrant duties).
    Barrier means a physical obstruction that blocks or limits access.
    Blanking or blinding means closing a pipe, line, or duct by 
covering its bore with a solid plate that can withstand the maximum 
pressure inside the pipe, line, or duct without leaking. A plate may be 
a spectacle blind or a skillet blind.
    Confined space is a space that has all of the following 
characteristics:
    (1) Is large enough and so arranged that an employee can bodily 
enter it.
    (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit.
    (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

    Note: There are four confined space classifications: Isolated-
Hazard Confined Space, Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space, Permit-
Required Confined Space and Continuous System-Permit-Required 
Confined Space.

    Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space (CS-PRCS) is a 
Permit-Required Confined Space that has all of the following 
characteristics:
    (1) Is part of, and contiguous with, a larger confined space (for 
example, sewers).
    (2) The employer cannot isolate it from the larger confined space.
    (3) Is subject to a potential hazard release from the larger 
confined space that would overwhelm personal protective equipment and/
or hazard controls, resulting in a hazard that is immediately dangerous 
to life and health.
    Contractor is an employer who has employees engaged in 
construction, and is neither a controlling contractor nor a host 
employer.
    Control is the action taken to reduce the level of any hazard 
inside a confined space using engineering methods (for example, by 
isolation or ventilation), and then using these methods to maintain the 
reduced hazard level. Control also refers to the engineering methods 
used for this purpose. Personal protective equipment is not a control.
    Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space (CACS) is a confined space 
that has all of the following characteristics:
    (1) Contains no physical hazards or only isolated physical hazards.

[[Page 67406]]

    (2) Uses ventilation alone to control atmospheric hazards at safe 
levels.
    Controlling contractor is the employer that has overall 
responsibility for construction at the worksite.

    Note: If the controlling contractor owns or manages the 
property, then it is both a controlling employer and a host 
employer.

    Double block and bleed means (with regard to lines, ducts, and 
pipes) closing two in-line valves and locking or tagging them in the 
closed position, and then opening the drain or vent in the line between 
the two closed in-line valves and locking or tagging it in the open 
position.
    Early-warning system is the method used to alert authorized 
entrants and attendants that an engulfment hazard may be developing. 
Examples of early-warning systems include, but are not limited to: 
Alarms activated by remote sensors; and lookouts with equipment for 
immediately communicating with the authorized entrants and attendants.
    Emergency is any occurrence, inside or outside a confined space, 
that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees whose work 
is covered by this standard. For example, an emergency occurs if an 
employer fails to isolate a physical hazard or if ventilation or 
atmosphere-monitoring equipment malfunctions.
    Engulfment hazard is a physical hazard consisting of a liquid or 
flowable solid substance that can surround and capture an individual. 
Engulfment hazards may cause death or serious physical harm if: the 
individual inhales the engulfing substance into the respiratory system 
(drowning, for example); the substance exerts excessive force on the 
individual's body resulting in strangulation, constriction, or 
crushing; or the substance suffocates the individual.
    Entrant (see the definition of Authorized entrant).
    Entry occurs when any part of an employee's body breaks the plane 
of an opening into a confined space. Entry (or entry operations) also 
refers to the period during which an employee occupies a confined 
space.
    Entry permit means the document used by the employer to control 
entry into a PRCS as specified in Sec.  1926.1214 (PRCS--entry 
permits).
    Entry rescue occurs when a rescue service enters a PRCS to rescue 
employees.
    Entry supervisor means a qualified individual who the employer 
assigns to control entry into PRCS as specified in Sec.  
1926.1210(e)(2) (Entry supervisor requirements).
    Hazard means a physical hazard or hazardous atmosphere. See 
definitions below.
    Hazardous atmosphere means an existing or potential atmosphere 
consisting of at least one of the following:
    (1) A flammable gas, vapor, or mist in excess of 10 percent of its 
lower flammable limit.
    (2) An airborne combustible dust at a concentration that meets or 
exceeds its lower explosive limit.
    (3) An atmospheric oxygen concentration below 19.5 percent 
(``oxygen deficient'') or above 23.5 percent (``oxygen enriched'').
    (4) An airborne concentration of a substance that exceeds the dose 
or exposure limit specified by an OSHA requirement.
    (5) An atmosphere that presents an immediate danger to life or 
health.
    Host employer owns or manages the property where construction is 
taking place.

    Note: If a host employer has overall responsibility for 
construction at the worksite, then it is both a host employer and 
controlling contractor.

    Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) is a condition that 
occurs when an employee is exposed to a physical or atmospheric hazard 
that could result in any one of the following effects:
    (1) An immediate threat to life.
    (2) Irreversible adverse health effects.
    (3) Serious physical harm.
    (4) Impaired ability to escape unaided from a confined space.
    Identify a hazard means determining the type, quantity, and 
characteristics of a hazard, including the likelihood that a hazard 
currently absent from a confined space could enter the confined space.
    Inspection information means any information obtained about a 
space, including, but not limited to, blueprints, schematics, and/or 
similar documents, documents regarding previous confined space entries, 
or physical inspection/testing.
    Isolate or isolation means the elimination or removal of a physical 
or atmospheric hazard by preventing its release into a confined space. 
Isolation includes, but is not limited to, the following methods: 
Blanking and blinding; misaligning or removing sections of lines, 
pipes, or ducts; a double-block-and-bleed system; locking out or 
tagging out energy sources; machine guarding; and blocking or 
disconnecting all mechanical linkages.
    Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS) is a confined space in which 
the employer has isolated all physical and atmospheric hazards.
    Limited or restricted means for entry and exit refers to a 
condition that has a potential to impede an employee's movement into or 
out of a confined space. Such conditions include, but are not limited 
to, hazards, poor illumination, slippery floors, inclining surfaces and 
ladders.
    Lower flammable limit or lower explosive limit means the minimum 
concentration of a substance in air needed for an ignition source to 
cause a flame or explosion.
    Monitor or monitoring means the process used to identify and 
evaluate the atmosphere in a confined space after an authorized entrant 
enters the space. This is a process of checking for changes in the 
atmospheric conditions within a confined space and is performed in a 
periodic or continuous manner after the completion of the initial 
testing of that space.
    Non-entry rescue occurs when a rescue service, usually the 
attendant, retrieves employees in a PRCS without entering the PRCS.
    OSHA requirement means an OSHA standard or regulation that applies 
to construction, or the general duty clause of the Occupational Safety 
and Health Act of 1970 (paragraph (a)(1) of 29 U.S.C. 654).
    Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS) is a confined space that has 
any one of the following characteristics:
    (1) A hazardous atmosphere.
    (2) Inwardly converging, sloping, or tapering surfaces that could 
trap or asphyxiate an employee. For example, a space between walls that 
narrows towards the base (including, but not limited to, funnels and 
hoppers).
    (3) An engulfment hazard or other physical hazard.
    Physical hazard means an existing hazard that can cause death or 
serious physical harm in or near a confined space, or a hazard that has 
a reasonable probability of occurring in or near a confined space, and 
that includes, but is not limited to: explosives (as defined by 
paragraph (n) of Sec.  1926.914, definition of ``explosive''); 
mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic energy; radiation; 
temperature extremes; engulfment; noise; and inwardly converging 
surfaces. Physical hazard also refers to chemicals that can cause death 
or serious physical harm through skin or eye contact (rather than 
through inhalation).
    Planned conditions are the conditions under which authorized 
entrants can work safely in a PRCS or CS-PRCS, including hazard levels 
and methods of employee protection.

[[Page 67407]]

    Protect or protection means keeping an employee safe in the 
presence of a physical or atmospheric hazard using methods other than 
control (for example, using personal protective equipment).
    Rescue means retrieving, and providing medical assistance to, 
employees who are in a PRCS.
    Rescue service means the onsite or offsite personnel who the 
employer designates to engage in non-entry and/or entry rescue of 
employees from a PRCS.
    Retrieval system means the equipment, including mechanical 
retrieval devices, used for non-entry rescue of authorized entrants 
from a PRCS.
    Safe level is an employee exposure to an atmospheric or physical 
hazard that meets OSHA requirements.
    Serious physical harm means:
    (1) An impairment in which a body part is made functionally useless 
or is substantially reduced in efficiency. Such impairment includes, 
but is not limited to, loss of consciousness or disorientation, and may 
be permanent or temporary, or chronic or acute. Injuries involving such 
impairment would usually require treatment by a physician or other 
licensed health-care professional; or
    (2) An illness that could shorten life or substantially reduce 
physical or mental efficiency by impairing a normal bodily function or 
body part.
    Simulated Permit-Required Confined Space is a confined space or a 
mock-up of a confined space that has all of the following 
characteristics:
    (1) Has similar entrance openings, and is similar in size, 
configuration, and accessibility to the PRCS the authorized entrants 
enter.
    (2) Need not contain any physical or atmospheric hazards.
    Standard means this subpart unless otherwise specified.
    Test or testing means the process used to identify and evaluate the 
atmosphere in a confined space before an authorized entrant enters the 
space.
    Unplanned condition means a deviation from the planned conditions.
    Ventilate or ventilation means controlling a hazardous atmosphere 
using continuous forced-air mechanical systems that meet the 
requirements of 29 CFR 1926.57 (Ventilation).


Sec.  1926.1204  Worksite evaluation, information exchange, and 
coordination.

    (a) Neither the controlling contractor nor the host employer is 
required to obtain the information listed in this paragraph. However, 
if they have it, they must provide it to the contractor for the 
contractor's evaluation before the contractor first enters a confined 
space:
    (1) The location of each space that the controlling contractor or 
host employer actually knows is a confined space.
    (2) For each of the spaces identified in paragraph (a)(1) of this 
section:
    (i) Any hazards, if known, that affect that space.
    (ii) The classification of the space, IHCS, CACS, PRCS, or CS-PRCS, 
if previously classified.
    (iii) Any precautions and procedures that the controlling 
contractor or host employer previously implemented for entering the 
space.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1204(a): Unless a controlling contractor or 
host employer has or will have employees in a confined space, they 
are not required to enter any confined space to collect the 
information specified in paragraph (a) of this section.

    (b) The contractor must determine if there are confined spaces and 
if these spaces are subject to any hazards, using the following 
procedures:
    (1) Without entering the space, the contractor must consider 
information, if any, from the host employer and controlling contractor, 
and use inspection information (see paragraph (b)(2) of this section), 
to:
    (i) Determine if the space meets the definition of a confined 
space.
    (ii) Identify any physical and atmospheric hazards.
    (2) If the contractor can demonstrate that obtaining required 
information without entering the space is infeasible, employees may 
enter to inspect for that information only if the requirements of 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214 (PRCSs) and, if applicable, 
Sec.  1926.1215 (CS-PRCSs), are met.
    (3) To determine if there are atmospheric hazards, the contractor 
must follow the atmospheric-testing and -monitoring requirements in 
Sec.  1926.1205. This testing must be done without using mechanical 
ventilation or altering the natural ventilation in the space.
    (4) The contractor must meet other applicable OSHA requirements, 
including training requirements, for the use of personal and other 
protective equipment, as required in Sec.  1926.1213(c)(2).
    (c) If the contractor classifies a space as an IHCS, CACS, PRCS, or 
CS-PRCS, it must:
    (1) Inform the controlling contractor and host employer of the 
precautions and procedures the contractor will follow for entry into 
the space.
    (2) At the conclusion of entry operations, inform the controlling 
contractor and host employer about any hazards that were present, or 
that developed, during entry operations.
    (d) If more than one employer will have employees in the space at 
the same time, the controlling contractor shall coordinate entry 
operations with the contractors.
    (e) Employee participation and notification. The employer must 
provide its employees who enter a confined space, and their authorized 
representatives, with an opportunity to observe the evaluations of the 
space (Sec.  1926.1204(b)), any reassessment conducted pursuant to 
Sec.  1926.1207, and atmospheric testing and monitoring required by 
this standard.


Sec.  1926.1205  Atmospheric testing and monitoring.

    (a) When testing or monitoring atmospheric hazards in a confined 
space, the employer must:
    (1) Test or monitor in the following order: Oxygen, combustible 
gases and vapors, and toxic gases and vapors, unless testing or 
monitoring is conducted simultaneously.
    (2) Test or monitor for other atmospheric hazards as specified by 
applicable OSHA requirements.
    (3) Monitor periodically and as necessary, unless applicable OSHA 
requirements or other provisions of this standard specify a different 
frequency.
    (4) Test or monitor using a properly calibrated, direct-reading 
instrument(s).
    (b) If a medical facility treats an employee exposed to an 
atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life and health, then the 
employer must:
    (1) Provide or communicate to the medical facility any information 
that the employer is required to retain regarding the atmosphere (for 
example, the name of and level of exposure to atmospheric contaminants, 
and the information required by 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Hazard 
Communications) to be provided on Material Safety Data Sheets).
    (2) Do so as soon as practical after the exposure.


Sec.  1926.1206  Classification and precautions.

    (a) Using the information obtained in Sec.  1926.1204, the employer 
must classify the space as a Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined 
Space (CS-PRCS) if the space has all of the following characteristics:
    (1) Is part of, and contiguous with, a larger confined space (for 
example, sewers).
    (2) Is not isolated from the larger confined space.
    (3) Is subject to a potential hazard release from the larger 
confined space that would overwhelm personal

[[Page 67408]]

protective equipment and/or hazard controls, resulting in a hazard that 
is immediately dangerous to life and health.
    (b) For confined spaces other than a CS-PRCS, the employer must use 
the information obtained in Sec.  1926.1204 to classify the space as a 
PRCS (Sec.  1926.1208) or, alternatively, as a CACS (Sec.  1926.1216) 
or IHCS (Sec.  1926.1217) if the space meets the applicable 
requirements for the classification selected.
    (c) The employer must meet the accident-prevention and -protection 
requirements applicable to the space classification before any employee 
enters the space, unless otherwise specified.


Sec.  1926.1207  Reassessment.

    (a) If the contractor made a determination under Sec.  1926.1204 
that the confined space was not subject to any hazards, the contractor 
must reassess that determination if there is an indication that the 
conditions under which the determination was made have changed. Such 
indications include, but are not limited to:
    (1) A change in the configuration or use of, or the type of work 
conducted or materials used in, the confined space.
    (2) New information regarding a hazard in or near a confined space.
    (3) An employee or authorized representative provides a reasonable 
basis for believing that a hazard determination is inadequate.
    (b) If the contractor made a determination under Sec.  1926.1204 
that the confined space was subject to a hazard, the contractor must 
reassess the determinations, procedures, and equipment used to protect 
employees in or near a confined space if there is an indication that 
the measures taken may not protect employees. Such indications include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) A change in the configuration or use of, or the type of work 
conducted or materials used in, the confined space.
    (2) New information regarding a hazard in or near a confined space.
    (3) An employee or authorized representative provides a reasonable 
basis for believing that a hazard determination or protective measure 
is inadequate.
    (4) An unauthorized entry into a PRCS.
    (5) Detection of a hazard in or near a PRCS that is not addressed 
by the entry permit.
    (6) Detection of a hazard level in or near a PRCS that exceeds the 
planned conditions specified in the entry permit.
    (7) The occurrence, during an entry operation, of an injury, 
fatality or near-miss.
    (c) If the contractor must reassess the confined space based on 
paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section, then the contractor must ensure 
that:
    (1) All employees exit the confined space immediately.
    (2) No employee reenters the space until the contractor:
    (i) Identifies physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance with 
Sec.  1926.1204(b).
    (ii) Follows the classification procedures specified by Sec.  
1926.1206 (Classification and precautions).
    (iii) Meets the accident-prevention and -protection requirements 
applicable to the space classification selected by the contractor 
before any employee reenters the space.


Sec.  1926.1208  Permit-required confined spaces.

    (a) Permit-required confined space (PRCS) classification 
requirements. (1) A PRCS is a confined space that has any one of the 
following characteristics:
    (i) A hazardous atmosphere; or
    (ii) Inwardly converging, sloping, or tapering surfaces that could 
trap or asphyxiate an employee. For example, a space between walls that 
narrows towards the base (including, but not limited to, funnels and 
hoppers); or
    (iii) In engulfment hazard or other physical hazard.
    (2) The requirements for a confined space classified as a PRCS are:
    (i) For each physical hazard that was identified using the 
procedures in Sec.  1926.1204(b), the employer must determine an 
isolation method or a method of protecting employees from the physical 
hazard that meets applicable OSHA requirements.
    (ii) For each atmospheric hazard that was identified using the 
procedures in Sec.  1926.1205, the employer must determine an isolation 
method or a method for controlling the hazard at a safe level or 
protecting employees from the atmospheric hazard with personal 
protective equipment.
    (b) Planned conditions. (1) Using the determinations made in 
paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the employer must define the 
conditions under which authorized entrants can work safely in the PRCS, 
including hazard levels and methods of employee protection (that is, 
``planned conditions'').
    (2) The employer must determine that, in the event the ventilation 
system stops working, the monitoring procedures will detect an increase 
in atmospheric hazard levels in sufficient time for the entrants to 
safely exit the PRCS.


Sec.  1926.1209  PRCS--initial tasks.

    (a) Notification and posting danger signs. (1) The contractor must 
notify its employees that it anticipates will be in or near the PRCS 
and their authorized representative, and the controlling contractor, 
about the location of, and the hazards/dangers posed by, the PRCSs 
located at the job site.
    (2) The employer must post a danger sign to warn employees about 
the PRCS. Posting signs at or near the entrances to the PRCS that read, 
``Danger--Permit-Required Confined Space--Authorized Employees Only'' 
or ``Danger--Do Not Enter Without a Permit,'' or similar language, will 
meet this requirement. If the employer demonstrates that a sign is 
infeasible, then an equally effective means of warning employees must 
be used.
    (b) Prohibiting entry. The employer must decide if employees will 
be authorized to enter the PRCS. Where no employees will be authorized 
to enter, the following steps must be taken:
    (1) Use barriers to permanently close the PRCS.
    (2) Post danger signs that comply with paragraph (a)(2) of this 
section.
    (3) Inform the employees and the controlling contractor of the 
location of that PRCS and the steps used to prevent entry.
    (c) Limiting entry. (1) Where one or more employees will be 
authorized to enter the PRCS, the employer must prevent the non-
authorized employees from entering the PRCS by taking the following 
steps:
    (i) Across the entrances to the PRCS, use barriers or high-
visibility physical restrictions, such as warning lines with flags.
    (ii) Post danger signs that comply with paragraph (a)(2) of this 
section.
    (iii) Inform the non-authorized employees and the controlling 
contractor of the location of, and hazards in, the PRCS, and the steps 
used to prevent unauthorized entry.
    (2) Only employees who are ``authorized entrants'' are to be 
permitted to enter the PRCS.
    (d) Training. (1) The employer must ensure that employees the 
employer anticipates will be in or near a PRCS (i.e., employees who 
have duties specified by the applicable sections of this standard 
(entry supervisors, attendants, authorized entrants, and rescue-service 
employees)) acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe 
performance of these duties. This training must result in an 
understanding of the hazards in the PRCS and the methods used to 
isolate, control or in other ways protect employees from these hazards.

[[Page 67409]]

    (2) Hazards of rescue. The employer must train employees the 
employer anticipates will be in or near a PRCS who are not authorized 
to perform entry rescues about the dangers of attempting such rescues.
    (3) When to train under paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this 
section:
    (i) Prior to initial entry into the PRCS.
    (ii) If an employee the employer anticipates will be in or near a 
PRCS receives a change in assigned duties that relate to maintaining 
the planned conditions, any additional training necessitated by the 
change in duties must be completed before the employee re-enters the 
PRCS.
    (iii) If a new hazard is introduced or occurs in the PRCS for which 
the employees the employer anticipates will be in or near a PRCS 
received no previous training, the authorized entrant must exit the 
space immediately and this training must be completed before resuming 
work in the space.
    (4) The employer must ensure that the employees the employer 
anticipates will be in or near a PRCS can demonstrate proficiency in 
the duties required by this standard, including new and revised PRCS 
procedures.
    (5) Training records. The employer must maintain training records 
for each employee. The training records must:
    (i) Show that the employee accomplished the training requirements 
specified above in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(4) of this section.
    (ii) Contain the employee's name, names of the trainers, and dates 
of the training.
    (6) Retraining. Before employees continue with PRCS entry 
operations, the employer must train those employees it has reason to 
believe:
    (i) Deviated from the PRCS entry procedures specified in Sec. Sec.  
1926.1209 through 1926.1214 of this standard; or
    (ii) Do not have adequate knowledge and skills of PRCS entry 
procedures.
    (e) Rescue preparations. Before any authorized entrant enters the 
PRCS, the employer must complete arrangements for providing for the 
rescue of these employees in accordance with Sec.  1926.1213.
    (f) Safe termination procedures. For each PRCS that authorized 
entrants will enter, the employer must develop procedures for safely 
terminating entry operations under both planned and emergency 
conditions.


Sec.  1926.1210  PRCS--preparing for entry.

    Before entry, the employer must ensure that the following 
requirements are met:
    (a) Entry permit. Prepare and post an entry permit where the 
authorized entrants enter the PRCS. Entry permit requirements are in 
Sec.  1926.1214.
    (b) Removing entrance covers. Prior to removing an entrance cover, 
eliminate any condition (for example, high pressure in the PRCS) that 
makes it unsafe to remove the cover.
    (c) Guarding holes and openings. Outside the space, when necessary 
to protect employees working in and around the space, promptly: use 
guardrails or covers as specified in 29 CFR 1926.502 (Fall protection 
systems criteria and practices) of subpart M (Fall Protection) to guard 
holes and openings into the space from falling individuals and objects 
and institute measures to control pedestrian and vehicle traffic in 
accordance with the requirements in 29 CFR part 1926 subpart G (Signs, 
Signals, and Barricades).
    (d) Safe access. Ensure that a safe method of entering and exiting 
a PRCS (such as stairways or ladders) is provided and used, and that it 
meets applicable OSHA requirements. If a hoisting system is used, it 
must be designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting; however, a 
job-made hoisting system is permissible if it is approved for personnel 
hoisting by a registered professional engineer prior to use.
    (e) Entry supervisor. (1) Assign an entry supervisor to supervise 
PRCS entry operations.
    (2) Entry supervisor requirements. Ensure that each entry 
supervisor:
    (i) Knows the physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS.
    (ii) Knows how these hazards enter the body (such as skin contact 
and inhalation), signs and symptoms, and characteristic effects (such 
as behavioral effects) of exposure to these hazards.
    (iii) Verifies that the conditions in the PRCS are within the 
planned conditions as defined under Sec.  1926.1208(b) and specified in 
the entry permit by checking the appropriate entries in the entry 
permit, verifying completion of the atmospheric testing specified in 
the entry permit, and verifying that any other procedures and equipment 
specified in the entry permit are in place.
    (iv) Verifies that the rescue service is available and that the 
means for summoning the rescue service works.
    (v) Signs the entry permit to authorize entry into the PRCS.
    (vi) Terminates PRCS entry operations in accordance with Sec.  
1926.1212(b) (Supervisor requirements) of this standard.
    (f) Attendant. (1) Assign an attendant to be stationed outside the 
PRCS for the duration of the entry operation.
    (2) Hazard awareness. Ensure that each attendant knows:
    (i) The physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS.
    (ii) How the hazards enter the body (such as skin contact and 
inhalation), signs and symptoms, and characteristic effects (including 
behavioral effects) of exposure to these hazards.
    (3) Attending multiple PRCSs. If a single attendant is assigned to 
monitor multiple PRCSs, then ensure that:
    (i) The attendant can fully perform the duties specified by Sec.  
1926.1211(f) (Attendant duties).
    (ii) The equipment and procedures are provided to enable an 
attendant to respond to an emergency affecting any of the PRCSs the 
attendant is monitoring.
    (g) Authorized entrant. (1) Designate which employee(s) are 
authorized entrants in the PRCS.
    (2) Hazard awareness. Ensure that each authorized entrant knows:
    (i) The physical and atmospheric hazards in the PRCS.
    (ii) How the hazards enter the body (such as skin contact and 
inhalation), signs and symptoms, and characteristic effects (such as 
behavioral effects) of exposure to these hazards.
    (h) Criteria for assigning simultaneous roles. (1) Employees are 
prohibited from serving as authorized entrants and attendants 
simultaneously.
    (2) Authorized entrants may serve simultaneously as entry 
supervisors only if the employer ensures that they meet the 
requirements of both Sec. Sec.  1926.1210(e) (Entry supervisor) and 
1926.1210(g) (Authorized entrant).
    (3) Attendants may serve simultaneously as entry supervisors only 
if the employer ensures that they meet the requirements of both 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1210(e) (Entry supervisor) and 1926.1210(f) 
(Attendant).
    (i) [Reserved]
    (j) Equipment. In addition to the equipment required in Sec.  
1926.1218, the employer shall provide and ensure the use of the 
following equipment:
    (1) Communication equipment for compliance with paragraphs (f)(5), 
(g)(2) (entrant-to-attendant communication requirements), and (h)(2) 
(Entry rescue--when to summon) of Sec.  1926.1211.
    (2) Lighting equipment needed to comply with 29 CFR 1926.56 
(Illumination).
    (3) Railings, covers, or barriers as required in Sec. Sec.  
1926.1209(b) (Prohibiting entry) and (c) (Limiting entry), and 
1926.1210(c) (Guarding holes and openings).
    (4) Equipment, such as ladders, needed for safe entry to and exit 
from a PRCS.

[[Page 67410]]

    (5) Rescue and emergency equipment required to comply with Sec.  
1926.1213 (PRCS--rescue criteria), unless a rescue service provides its 
own rescue and emergency equipment.
    (6) Any other equipment necessary for safe rescue operations in or 
near PRCSs.
    (k) Document the determinations made and the actions taken in 
paragraphs (b) through (j) of this section by entering the information 
in the entry permit as required in Sec.  1926.1214(a).


Sec.  1926.1211  PRCS--during entry.

    While any authorized entrant is in a PRCS, the employer must ensure 
that the following requirements are met:
    (a) The physical and atmospheric hazards remain isolated or 
controlled, or the employees remain protected from them, in accordance 
with the determinations made in Sec.  1926.1208 (Permit-required 
confined spaces).
    (b) Monitoring. Atmospheric hazards are monitored as specified in 
Sec.  1926.1205 (Atmospheric testing and monitoring). Monitoring must 
be continuous unless the employer can demonstrate that the equipment 
for continuously monitoring a hazard is not commercially available or 
that periodic monitoring is of sufficient frequency to ensure that the 
atmospheric hazard is being controlled at safe levels.
    (c) The procedures and monitoring results in paragraphs (a) and (b) 
are documented by entering the information in the entry permit as 
stated in Sec.  1926.1214(a).
    (d) Entry supervisor duties. Each entry supervisor:
    (1) Ensures that entry conditions are being properly monitored and 
that these conditions remain consistent with the planned conditions 
specified in the entry permit.
    (2) Removes individuals who are not authorized entrants who enter, 
or who attempt to enter, a PRCS.
    (3) Evacuation. Orders authorized entrants to exit the PRCS as 
quickly as possible if required under either paragraph (d)(3)(i) or 
(d)(3)(ii) of this section, as follows:
    (i) The entry supervisor detects or learns of any of the following:
    (A) An unplanned condition.
    (B) Any sign, symptom, unusual behavior or other effect of a hazard 
in an authorized entrant.
    (C) An evacuation alarm.
    (D) A situation outside the PRCS that could endanger the authorized 
entrants.
    (ii) The entry supervisor cannot effectively and safely perform all 
the duties required by Sec.  1926.1210(e)(2) (Entry supervisor 
requirements) and cannot be immediately replaced.
    (4) Entry permit cancellation. Cancels the entry permit upon the 
occurrence of any of the following:
    (i) An evacuation is required under this section.
    (ii) Any of the indications that require a reassessment under Sec.  
1926.1207(b).
    (iii) The entry operations covered by the entry permit have been 
completed.
    (e) Transfer of supervisory responsibilities. If responsibility for 
the entry operation is transferred to another entry supervisor, then 
the new entry supervisor must:
    (1) Meet the requirements specified above in Sec.  1926.1210(e)(2) 
(Entry supervisor requirements).
    (2) Review the entry permit and verify that entry conditions are 
consistent with the planned conditions specified in the entry permit.
    (3) Sign the entry permit.
    (f) Attendant duties. Each attendant:
    (1) Continuously maintains an accurate count of authorized entrants 
who are in the PRCS.
    (2) Has a means to accurately identify authorized entrants who are 
in the PRCS (Sec.  1926.1214(a)(2)(ii)(A) specifies the means for doing 
so).
    (3) Remains at a location outside the PRCS that allows the 
attendant to fully perform the duties and responsibilities specified in 
this section and does so until properly relieved by another attendant.
    (4) Monitors entry conditions to determine if they are consistent 
with the entry permit.
    (5) Communicates with authorized entrants as necessary to monitor 
entrant status and to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the PRCS 
as specified below in paragraph (g)(2) of this section.
    (6) Monitors activities inside and outside the PRCS to determine if 
the PRCS remains safe for authorized entrants and informs the rescue 
service whenever a non-entry or entry rescue is required.
    (7) Informs the employer if a non-entry or entry rescue begins or 
an authorized entrant may need medical aid or assistance in escaping 
from the PRCS.
    (8) Performs non-entry rescue as required in paragraph (h)(1) of 
this section and in accordance with Sec.  1926.1213(a) (Non-entry 
rescue criteria).
    (9) Does not enter a PRCS for rescue purposes unless the employer: 
provides the attendant with the appropriate training and equipment 
specified below in Sec.  1926.1213(c) (Protecting and training rescue-
service employees), and ensures that another attendant properly 
relieves the attendant prior to performing the entry rescue.
    (10) Performs no duties that could interfere with the primary duty 
to monitor and protect the authorized entrants.
    (11) Warns any individual who is not an authorized entrant, and who 
approaches a PRCS during entry operations, to stay away from the PRCS. 
If the individual enters the PRCS, the attendant must tell the 
individual to exit immediately, and inform the authorized entrants and 
entry supervisor of the unauthorized entry.
    (12) Evacuation. Orders authorized entrants to exit the PRCS as 
quickly as possible if required under either paragraph (f)(12)(i) or 
(f)(12)(ii) of this section, as follows:
    (i) The attendant detects or learns of any of the following:
    (A) An unplanned condition.
    (B) Any sign, symptom, unusual behavior or other effect of a hazard 
in an authorized entrant.
    (C) An evacuation alarm.
    (D) A situation outside the PRCS that could endanger the authorized 
entrants.
    (ii) The attendant cannot effectively and safely perform all the 
duties required by this section and cannot immediately be replaced.
    (g) Authorized entrant duties. During PRCS entry operations, each 
authorized entrant:
    (1) Properly uses the retrieval equipment required below in 
paragraphs (a)(2) through (a)(4) of Sec.  1926.1213 (requirements for 
non-entry retrieval systems).
    (2) Communicates with the attendant as necessary so that the 
attendant can monitor the authorized entrant's status and alert the 
entrant of the need to evacuate the PRCS, as required above in 
paragraph (f)(5) of this section (requirements for attendant-to-
authorized entrant communications).
    (3) Informs the attendant of any sign, symptom, unusual behavior or 
other effect of a hazard.
    (4) Evacuation. Exits from the PRCS as quickly as possible if 
either:
    (i) The entry supervisor or the attendant orders the authorized 
entrant to evacuate the PRCS; or
    (ii) The authorized entrant detects or learns of any of the 
following:
    (A) An unplanned condition (for example, a new hazard) in or near 
the PRCS.
    (B) Any sign, symptom, unusual behavior or other effect of a 
hazard.
    (C) An evacuation alarm.
    (h) Rescue. Non-entry rescue and entry rescue is provided as 
follows:
    (1) Non-entry rescue.
    (i) Provide non-entry rescue capability during the period that 
authorized entrants are in the PRCS that meets the requirements of 
Sec.  1926.1213(a).

[[Page 67411]]

    (ii) Except where the conditions specified in paragraph (h)(1)(iii) 
of this section are present, non-entry rescue must be initiated if 
required under paragraphs (h)(1)(ii)(A) or (h)(1)(ii)(B) of this 
section, as follows:
    (A) There is a need to evacuate pursuant to paragraphs (d)(3), 
(f)(12), or (g)(4) of Sec.  1926.1211 and the employee is unable to 
evacuate without assistance; or
    (B) There is a reasonable probability that an employee may need 
immediate medical aid and is unable to exit the PRCS without 
assistance.
    (iii) Non-entry rescue shall not be initiated if doing so would 
present a greater hazard to the employee than sole reliance on entry 
rescue (for example, where the configuration of the space would cause 
the retrieval lines to not work or result in greater injury to the 
employee than injury from waiting for entry rescue).
    (2) Entry rescue--when to summon. Ensure that an entry rescue 
service has been summoned immediately if any of the following occurs:
    (i) A non-entry rescue is initiated.
    (ii) There is a need to evacuate pursuant to paragraphs (d)(3), 
(f)(12), or (g)(4) of Sec.  1926.1211 and the employee is unable to 
evacuate without assistance.
    (iii) There is a reasonable probability that an employee may need 
immediate medical aid and is unable to exit the PRCS without 
assistance.
    (iv) Non-entry rescue is prohibited under conditions specified in 
Sec.  1926.1211(h)(1)(iii).


Sec.  1926.1212  PRCS--terminating entry.

    (a) The employer must implement procedures for safely terminating 
PRCS entry operations under both planned conditions and in an 
emergency.
    (b) Entry supervisor requirements. The employer must ensure that an 
entry supervisor terminates entry and cancels the entry permit upon 
expiration of the entry permit, completion of the entry operations 
covered by the permit, any of the indications that require reassessment 
under Sec.  1926.1207(b), or an evacuation required under Sec.  
1926.1211(d)(3), whichever occurs first.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1212(b): After entry is terminated, no 
employees can reenter the space until the employer: Identifies the 
physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance with Sec.  
1926.1204(b); follows the classification procedures specified by 
Sec.  1926.1206 (Classification and precautions); and meets the 
accident-prevention and -protection requirements applicable to the 
space classification selected by the employer.

Sec.  1926.1213  PRCS--rescue criteria.

    (a) Non-entry rescue criteria. For non-entry rescue, the employer 
must meet the following requirements:
    (1) Ensure that attendants and employees designated to perform non-
entry rescue acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe 
performance of non-entry rescue.
    (2) Use a retrieval system that:
    (i) Is available as soon as needed by the attendant or other rescue 
service.
    (ii) Is designed and manufactured for personnel retrieval; however, 
a job-made hoisting system is permissible if it is approved for 
personnel hoisting by a registered professional engineer prior to use.
    (iii) The attendant or other rescue service can operate 
effectively.
    (iv) Has a chest or full-body harness and a retrieval line. The 
retrieval line must have:
    (A) One end attached in a manner that allows the attendant or other 
rescue service to remove the entrant from the PRCS without causing 
further injury.
    (B) The other end attached to a mechanical retrieval device or 
fixed anchor point outside the PRCS in a manner that allows rescue to 
begin as soon as the attendant or other rescue service detects or 
learns of the need for rescue. Movable equipment (for example, earth-
moving equipment), that is sufficiently heavy to serve as an anchor 
point, may be used for this purpose only if effectively locked out or 
tagged out.
    (3) For retrievals involving vertical distances over 5 feet (1.52 
m), a mechanical retrieval device must be provided and used. This 
device must not be used for entry into the PRCS unless it is designed 
for that purpose.
    (4) Equipment that is unsuitable for retrieval, including the 
following equipment, must not be used:
    (i) Equipment that increases the overall risk of entry or impedes 
rescue of an authorized entrant.
    (ii) Retrieval lines that have a reasonable probability of becoming 
entangled with the retrieval lines used by other authorized entrants, 
or will not work due to the internal configuration of the PRCS (see 
Sec.  1926.1211(h)(1)(iii)).
    (iii) Wristlets or ankle straps used as attachment points for 
retrieval lines, unless the employer can demonstrate that: Use of a 
harness is infeasible or creates a greater hazard for safe rescue than 
wristlets or ankle straps; and wristlets or ankle straps are the safest 
alternative available.
    (5) Prior to beginning entry operations, ensure that the employees 
designated to perform non-entry rescue (including attendants, if 
applicable) have access to the PRCS the authorized entrant will enter 
or to a Simulated PRCS, so it can develop appropriate rescue plans and 
practice rescue operations.
    (b) Entry rescue: Preparing rescue-service employees. (1) The 
employer must ensure that the entry rescue service can effectively 
perform entry-rescue tasks in the PRCSs the authorized entrant(s) will 
enter. Accordingly, the employer must ensure that the entry rescue 
service:
    (i) Can respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner. Timeliness 
depends on how quickly serious physical harm may result from the 
physical or atmospheric hazards in the PRCS.
    (ii) Prior to beginning entry operations, has access to the PRCS 
the authorized entrants will enter or to a Simulated PRCS so the entry 
rescue service can develop appropriate rescue plans and practice rescue 
operations.
    (2) Prior to the entry rescue service entering a PRCS for any 
purpose, the employer must inform them of the physical and atmospheric 
hazards they are likely to encounter when performing rescue operations 
in the PRCS, and other relevant information actually known by the 
employer.
    (c) Protecting and training entry rescue-service employees. 
Employers of entry rescue-service employees must:
    (1) Provide them with the personal protective equipment (PPE) and 
rescue equipment (including retrieval lines if necessary) required to 
make safe rescues.
    (2) Train them in the proper use of the PPE and rescue equipment.
    (3) Train them to perform assigned rescue duties.
    (4) Train them in basic first aid and in cardiopulmonary 
resuscitation (CPR).
    (5) Ensure that at least one member of the entry rescue service who 
participates in the onsite rescue operations holds current 
certification in first aid (including CPR).
    (6) Ensure that the entry rescue-service employees practice rescue 
operations at least once prior to beginning entry operations and at 
least once every 12 months thereafter. This practice must involve:
    (i) Removing dummies/mannequins or individuals from the PRCS the 
authorized entrants will enter, or from a Simulated PRCS. In doing so, 
comply with the requirements of this standard that apply to the 
confined space used for this purpose.
    (ii) Using the same PPE, retrieval, and rescue equipment they would 
use to perform retrieval or rescue operations in the PRCS.

[[Page 67412]]

    (d) Exemption from practice. An employer is exempt from the 
requirement to practice rescue operations if the entry rescue-service 
employees properly performed a rescue operation during the last 12 
months in the same PRCS the authorized entrant will enter, or in a 
similar PRCS.


Sec.  1926.1214  PRCS--entry permits.

    (a) Contents. Employers must ensure that the entry permits for 
PRCSs include the following:
    (1) General information--(i) An identification of the PRCS to be 
entered.
    (ii) The purpose (including the tasks/job) of entering the PRCS.
    (iii) The effective date and the authorized duration of the entry 
permit. The duration of the permit is prohibited from exceeding the 
time required to complete the tasks/job identified in paragraph 
(a)(1)(ii) of this section.
    (2) Planned conditions for entry--(i) Hazard information.
    (A) Identify the physical and atmospheric hazards the PRCS is 
subject to (that is, all physical and atmospheric hazards, regardless 
of how they have been isolated or controlled, or how authorized 
entrants are protected from them) consistent with the requirements of 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1206 (Classifications and precautions) and 1926.1208(a) 
(Permit-required confined space (PRCS) classification requirements).
    (B) State the methods used to isolate or control hazards, or used 
to protect authorized entrants from hazards in the PRCS. This 
information must be consistent with the requirements specified in 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1208(a) (Permit-required confined space (PRCS) 
classification requirements) and 1926.1210 (PRCS--preparing for entry), 
and must include, as applicable, the methods used to isolate or control 
the hazards, the type of personal protective equipment provided, the 
methods used to monitor each hazard (including the use of early-warning 
systems, if required by Sec.  1926.1215), and how frequently each 
hazard is to be monitored.
    (C) State the atmospheric-testing and -monitoring results obtained 
in Sec. Sec.  1926.1204(b) (requirements for determining confined-space 
hazards), 1926.1211 (PRCS--during entry), and 1926.1215(a)(1) 
(requirements for continuous atmospheric monitoring of CS-PRCSs). 
Include the type and brand of the equipment used, the names and 
signature/initials of the individuals who performed these functions, as 
well as the date and time (or time period, for continuous monitoring) 
they performed them.
    (D) List the conditions under which authorized entrants can work 
safely in the PRCS, including hazard levels and methods of employee 
protection, consistent with the requirements specified in Sec.  
1926.1208(b) (Planned conditions). In addition, when applicable, the 
determinations made in paragraph (b)(2) of Sec.  1926.1208.
    (ii) Personnel, equipment, and procedures.
    (A) Identify by name (or other effective identifier) each 
authorized entrant who is currently in the PRCS. This requirement can 
be met by referring in the entry permit to a system, such as a roster 
or tracking system, used to keep track of who is currently in the PRCS.
    (B) List the names of the current attendants.
    (C) Clearly indicate the name of the current entry supervisor and 
the entry supervisor who originally authorized entry into the PRCS. In 
addition, include the signatures or initials of both of these 
individuals.
    (D) Identify the methods used during entry operations to maintain 
contact between authorized entrants and attendants.
    (E) Identify the rescue service that will rescue workers during 
emergencies, and the methods for summoning this service, including the 
communication equipment to use and the telephone numbers to call.
    (F) Identify the equipment needed (see Sec. Sec.  1926.1210(j) 
(Equipment) and 1926.1218 (Equipment), and, for CS-PRCSs, Sec.  
1926.1215(b)).
    (3) Other information--(i) Identify additional permits issued to 
perform authorized work in the PRCS (for example, hot-work permits).
    (ii) Provide any other information necessary to ensure employee 
safety in or near the PRCS, including notations of any problems 
encountered.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1214(a): Appendix B to this subpart provides 
an example of an entry permit.

    (b) Annual PRCS review. The employer must review, at least 
annually, PRCS entries made during the previous 12 months to determine 
if there are deficiencies in the employer's entry operation procedures. 
For this review, the employer must use:
    (1) Canceled entry permits retained as required by Sec.  
1926.1219(b) (Retaining entry permits).
    (2) Any other information retained regarding entry operations.
    (c) Retaining entry permits. Entry permits must be kept in 
accordance with the requirements of Sec.  1926.1219(b).
    (d) Canceling entry permits. Entry permits must be cancelled in 
accordance with Sec.  1926.1211(d)(4).


Sec.  1926.1215  Continuous System--PRCS.

    (a) For a Continuous System-PRCS (CS-PRCS), the employer must 
complete all requirements in Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 1926.1214, as 
well as:
    (1) Monitor continuously for atmospheric hazards; employers may use 
periodic monitoring for monitoring an atmospheric hazard if they can 
demonstrate that equipment for continuously monitoring that hazard is 
not commercially available.
    (2) Monitor continuously for non-isolated engulfment hazards using 
an early-warning system. The system must alert authorized entrants and 
attendants in sufficient time for the authorized entrants to safely 
exit the CS-PRCS.
    (b) Equipment. In addition to the equipment required in Sec. Sec.  
1926.1210(j) and 1926.1218, the employer shall also provide:
    (1) Equipment necessary for monitoring of atmospheric hazards.
    (2) An early-warning system for continuous monitoring of non-
isolated engulfment hazards. The system must alert authorized entrants 
and attendants in sufficient time for the authorized entrants to safely 
exit the CS-PRCS.


Sec.  1926.1216  Controlled-atmosphere confined spaces--requirements 
for classification and accident prevention and protection.

    (a) The requirements for classifying a Controlled-Atmosphere 
Confined Space (CACS) are:
    (1) For each physical hazard that was identified using the 
procedures specified in Sec.  1926.1204(b), determine and implement an 
isolation method.
    (2) Ventilation.
    (i) Test the atmosphere while using ventilation equipment to verify 
that ventilation alone is sufficient to control these atmospheric 
hazards at safe levels. Ventilation must consist of continuous forced-
air mechanical systems that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.57 
(Ventilation).
    (ii) Determine that, in the event the ventilation system stops 
working, the monitoring procedures will detect an increase in 
atmospheric hazard levels in sufficient time for the entrants to safely 
exit the CACS.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1216(a)(2)(ii): The following paragraph 
requires documentation of this determination.

    (3) Document that all physical hazards have been isolated and that 
ventilation alone is sufficient to control the atmospheric hazards. The 
documentation must contain: The location of the CACS, identity of the 
physical hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and 
time the

[[Page 67413]]

physical hazards were isolated and name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the isolation work, the identity and safe 
levels of the atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling the 
atmospheric hazards, atmospheric-testing results, date and time of 
atmospheric testing and the name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the atmospheric testing, the determinations 
made under paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, name and signature/
initials of the person who completed this document, and the date and 
time the document was completed. The documentation shall be made 
available by posting or other methods to each employee entering the 
space and to that employee's authorized representative.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1216(a)(3): Appendix B to this subpart 
provides an example of a verification document.

    (b) Accident-prevention and protection requirements. The employer 
must:
    (1) Notification and posting danger signs.
    (i) Notify the employees that the employer anticipates will be in 
or near the CACS and their authorized representatives about the 
location of, and the dangers posed by, all CACSs located at the job 
site.
    (ii) Post danger signs to notify employees about a CACS. Posting 
signs near the outside entrances to the CACS that read, ``Danger--
Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space--Authorized Employees Only,'' or 
similar language, will meet this requirement. If the employer 
demonstrates that a sign is infeasible, then it must use an equally 
effective means of warning employees.
    (2) Training. (i) Ensure that each of its employees who enter a 
CACS acquires the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe 
performance of CACS entry operations. This training must result in an 
understanding of the hazards in the CACS that the employee will enter, 
the methods used to isolate or control these hazards, and recognition 
of signs, symptoms, and characteristic effect (such as behavioral 
effects) of exposure to these hazards.
    (ii) Hazards of rescue. Train the employees that the employer 
anticipates will be in or near the CACS and not authorized to perform 
entry rescues about the dangers of such rescues.
    (iii) When to train under paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of 
this section:
    (A) Prior to the employee's initial entry.
    (B) If an employee the employer anticipates will be in or near a 
CACS receives a change in assigned tasks and additional training is 
necessitated by the change in tasks, any additional training that 
relates to maintaining the conditions necessary to comply with the 
requirements of the CACS classification must be completed before the 
employee enters the CACS to perform these newly assigned tasks.
    (C) If a new hazard is introduced or occurs in the CACS for which 
the employee received no previous training, the employee must exit the 
space and complete the training before resuming work in the space.
    (iv) Ensure that the employee can demonstrate proficiency in the 
duties required by this standard, including new and revised procedures.
    (v) Training records. Maintain training records for each employee. 
The training records must:
    (A) Show that the employee accomplished the training requirements 
specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section before entering a CACS.
    (B) Contain the employee's name, names of the trainers, and dates 
of the training.
    (c) General preparations for entry. Before any employee enters a 
CACS, the employer must:
    (1) Prior to removing an entrance cover, eliminate any condition 
(for example, high pressure in the space) that makes it unsafe to 
remove the entrance cover.
    (2) Outside the space, when necessary to protect employees working 
in and around the space, promptly: Use guardrails or covers as 
specified in 29 CFR 1926.502 (Fall protection systems criteria and 
practices) of subpart M (Fall Protection) to guard holes and openings 
into the space from falling individuals and objects and institute 
measures to control pedestrian and vehicle traffic in accordance with 
the requirements in 29 CFR Part 1926 subpart G (Signs, Signals, and 
Barricades).
    (3) Ensure that a safe method of entering and exiting a CACS (such 
as stairways or ladders) is provided and used, and that it meets 
applicable OSHA requirements. If a hoisting system is used, it must be 
designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting; however, a job-made 
hoisting system is permissible if it is approved for personnel hoisting 
by a registered professional engineer prior to use.
    (d) Before entry. Immediately before any employee enters a CACS, 
the employer must:
    (1) Ensure that the physical hazards identified in Sec.  
1926.1204(b) remain isolated.
    (2) Test for atmospheric hazards as specified in Sec.  1926.1205(a) 
to ensure that the ventilation is controlling the atmospheric hazards 
at safe levels.
    (3) Control the atmospheric hazards at safe levels using 
ventilation alone. Ventilation must consist of continuous forced-air 
mechanical systems that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.57 
(Ventilation).
    (4) Document that the physical hazards are isolated and the 
atmospheric hazards are being controlled. The documentation must 
contain: The location of the CACS, identity of the physical hazards, 
methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and time of 
determining that physical hazards remain isolated and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who made this determination, 
identity and safe level of atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling 
the atmospheric hazards, atmospheric-testing results, date and time of 
atmospheric testing and the name and signature/initials of the 
individual who completed the atmospheric testing, name and signature/
initials of the individual who completed this document, and the date 
and time the document was completed. The documentation shall be made 
available by posting or other methods to each employee entering the 
space and to that employee's authorized representative.
    (e) During entry. While any employee is in a CACS, the employer 
must:
    (1) Ensure that the physical hazards identified above in Sec.  
1926.1204(b) remain isolated.
    (2) Ensure that ventilation alone is controlling atmospheric 
hazards at safe levels by monitoring for atmospheric hazards as 
specified above in Sec.  1926.1205(a) (requirements for atmospheric 
testing and monitoring). Monitoring must be continuous unless the 
employer can demonstrate that the equipment for continuously monitoring 
a hazard is not commercially available or periodic monitoring is 
sufficient. Where periodic monitoring is used, it must be of sufficient 
frequency to ensure that atmospheric hazards are being controlled at 
safe levels.
    (3) Document the determinations made above in paragraphs (e)(1) and 
(e)(2) of this section by completing a written verification that 
contains: The location of the CACS, identity of the physical hazards, 
methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and time of 
determining that physical hazards remain isolated and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who made this determination, 
identity and safe level of atmospheric hazards, methods for controlling 
the atmospheric hazards, atmospheric-monitoring

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results, date and time of atmospheric monitoring and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who completed the atmospheric 
monitoring, name and signature/initials of the individual who completed 
this document, and the date and time the document was completed. The 
documentation shall be made available by posting or other methods to 
each employee entering the space and to that employee's authorized 
representative.
    (f) Emergencies. In the event an emergency occurs during entry 
operations, including the presence of a non-isolated physical hazard or 
atmospheric hazard at unsafe levels, then the employer must:
    (1) Ensure that the employees exit the CACS immediately.
    (2) Identify the physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance 
with Sec.  1926.1204(b).
    (3) Using the information obtained in the preceding provision, 
follow the classification procedures specified by Sec.  1926.1206 
(Classification and precautions), and meet the accident-prevention and 
-protection requirements applicable to the space classification 
selected by the employer before any employee reenters the space.


Sec.  1926.1217  Isolated hazard confined spaces--requirements for 
classification and accident prevention and protection.

    (a) The requirements for classifying a confined space as an 
Isolated-Hazard Confined Space (IHCS) are:
    (1) For each physical hazard that was identified using the 
procedures in Sec.  1926.1204(b), determine and implement an isolation 
method.
    (2) For each atmospheric hazard that was identified using the 
procedures in Sec.  1926.1205(a), determine and implement an isolation 
method.
    (3) The employer must accomplish the isolation of the hazards in 
paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section without entering the IHCS, 
unless it can demonstrate that this is infeasible. If it is infeasible 
to do this work without entering the IHCS, then the employer must 
follow the requirements for a PRCS (Sec. Sec.  1926.1208 through 
1926.1214) and, if applicable, for a CS-PRCS (Sec.  1926.1215) to 
protect employees entering the space to do this work.
    (4) Document that isolation of all hazards has been accomplished. 
The documentation must contain: The location of the IHCS, identity of 
the physical hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date 
and time the physical hazards were isolated and name and signature/
initials of the individual who completed the isolation work, the 
identity of atmospheric hazards, methods for isolating the atmospheric 
hazards, the date and time the atmospheric hazards were isolated and 
the name and signature/initials of the individual who completed the 
isolation work, name and signature/initials of the individual who 
completed this document, and the date and time the document was 
completed. The documentation shall be made available by posting or 
other methods to each employee entering the space and to that 
employee's authorized representative.
    (b) Training. Before any employee enters an IHCS, the employer 
must:
    (1) Ensure that the employee acquires the knowledge and skills 
necessary to recognize signs, symptoms, and characteristic effects 
(such as behavioral effects) of exposure to these hazards. This 
training must also result in an understanding of the methods used to 
isolate these hazards.
    (2) Hazards of rescue. Train employees the employer anticipates 
will be in or near the IHCS and not authorized to perform entry rescues 
about the dangers of attempting such rescues.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1217(b): No documentation is required for 
this training.

    (c) General preparations for entry. Before any employee enters an 
IHCS, the employer must:
    (1) Prior to removing an entrance cover, eliminate any condition 
(for example, high pressure in the space) that makes it unsafe to 
remove the entrance cover.
    (2) Outside the space, when necessary to protect employees working 
in and around the space, promptly: Use guardrails or covers as 
specified in 29 CFR 1926.502 (Fall protection systems criteria and 
practices) of subpart M (Fall Protection) to guard holes and openings 
into the space from falling individuals and objects and institute 
measures to control pedestrian and vehicle traffic in accordance with 
the requirements in 29 CFR part 1926 subpart G (Signs, Signals, and 
Barricades).
    (3) Ensure that a safe method of entering and exiting an IHCS (such 
as stairways or ladders) is provided and used, and that it meets 
applicable OSHA requirements. If a hoisting system is used, it must be 
designed and manufactured for personnel hoisting; however, a job-made 
hoisting system is permissible if it is approved for personnel hoisting 
by a registered professional engineer prior to use.
    (d) Before entry. Before any employee enters an IHCS, the following 
must be met:
    (1) Ensure that the physical hazards identified above in Sec.  
1926.1217(a)(1) (requirements for isolating physical hazards) are 
isolated.
    (2) Ensure through testing that the atmospheric hazards identified 
above in paragraph (a)(2) of this section are isolated.
    (3) Document the determinations made and the actions taken above in 
paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this section by completing a written 
verification that contains: The location of the IHCS, identity of the 
physical hazards, methods for isolating the physical hazards, date and 
time the physical hazards were isolated, date and time of determining 
that physical hazards remain isolated and the name and signature/
initials of the individual who made this determination, identity of the 
atmospheric hazards, methods for isolating the atmospheric hazards, 
date and time the atmospheric hazards were isolated, date and time of 
determining that atmospheric hazards remain isolated and the name and 
signature/initials of the individual who made this determination, name 
and signature/initials of the individual who completed this document, 
and date and time the document was completed. The documentation shall 
be made available by posting or other methods to employees entering the 
space and to the employees' authorized representative.
    (e) During entry--(1) Hazard isolation. Once any employee enters an 
IHCS, the employer must ensure that the physical and atmospheric 
hazards identified above in Sec.  1926.1217(a) (requirements for 
classifying IHCSs) remain isolated.
    (2) Emergencies. In the event an emergency occurs during entry 
operations, including the presence of a non-isolated physical or 
atmospheric hazard, then the employer must:
    (i) Ensure that the employees exit the IHCS immediately.
    (ii) Identify the physical and atmospheric hazards in accordance 
with Sec.  1926.1204(b).
    (iii) Using the information obtained in the preceding provision, 
follow the classification procedures specified by Sec.  1926.1206 
(Classification and precautions), and meet the accident-prevention and 
-protection requirements applicable to the space classification 
selected by the employer before any employee reenters the space.


Sec.  1926.1218  Equipment.

    (a) The employer must provide and ensure the use of the following 
equipment:
    (1) Atmospheric-testing and -monitoring equipment needed to comply 
with this standard.

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    (2) Forced-air mechanical ventilation equipment where needed to 
meet the requirements of this standard.
    (3) Personal protective equipment, including respirators, if needed 
to comply with this standard. If employees use respirators, then the 
respirator requirements in 29 CFR 1926.103 (Respiratory protection) 
must be met.
    (4) Any other equipment necessary for safe confined space 
operations.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1218(a): There are additional equipment 
requirements for PRCSs (Sec.  1926.1210(j)) and for C-PRCSs (Sec.  
1926.1215(b)).

    (b) Equipment maintenance, calibration, and use. The employer shall 
ensure that all equipment needed to comply with this standard is 
maintained, calibrated, and used as specified by:
    (1) Applicable OSHA requirements.
    (2) In the absence of applicable OSHA requirements, in accordance 
with:
    (i) The manufacturer's instructions; or
    (ii) If manufacturers' instructions are not available, the 
recommendations of a qualified individual as defined by 29 CFR 
1926.32(m).


Sec.  1926.1219  Records.

    (a) Copy of this standard. For sites where there is a confined 
space, the employer must maintain a copy of this standard at the site. 
Alternatively, the employer may maintain a copy of a written confined 
space program at the site that incorporates the requirements of this 
standard.
    (b) Retaining entry permits. The employer must retain entry permits 
for at least one year from the date the permit is cancelled.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1219(b): With regard to retention and access 
to employee exposure records, the employer must comply with the 
requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1020 (Access to employee exposure and 
medical records), which are made applicable to construction by 29 
CFR 1926.33.

    (c) The employer must maintain training records, as specified in 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1209(d)(5) (PRCSs) and 1926.1216(b)(2)(v) (CACSs), for 
the period of time the employee is employed by them.
    (d) The employer must maintain verification documents required in 
Sec. Sec.  1926.1216(a)(3), (d)(4), and (e)(3) (CACSs) and 
1926.1217(a)(4) and (c)(3) (IHCSs) until the work in the confined space 
is completed.

    Note to Sec.  1926.1219(d): With regard to retention and access 
to employee exposure records, the employer must comply with the 
requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1020 (Access to employee exposure and 
medical records), which are made applicable to construction by 29 
CFR 1926.33.

    (e) The employer must make the documents required to be retained in 
this standard available on request to the Secretary of Labor or the 
Secretary's designee.

Appendix A to Subpart AA of Part 1926--List of Confined-Space 
Requirements in Other Construction Standards That Supplement the 
Requirements of Subpart AA (Mandatory)

    The construction standards listed below have confined-space 
requirements for the performance of specific activities and 
equipment. Employers must comply with these provisions, as well as 
this subpart.

Subpart D--Occupational Health and Environmental Controls

    Process safety management requirements: Sec. Sec.  1926.64(f)(4) 
and (j) HAZWOPER requirements: Sec. Sec.  1926.65(b)(4)(ii)(I), (c) 
through (p), and (j)(9).

Subpart J--Welding and Cutting

    Sec. Sec.  1926.353(a), (b), (c), (d), and (e).

Subpart V--Power Distribution and Transmission

    Sec. Sec.  1926.956(a) and (b).

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[FR Doc. E7-21893 Filed 11-27-07; 8:45 am]
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