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OSHA enacts new rules to prevent workplace accidents

Construction workers in Minnesota need to be cognizant of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new rules for a potential unsafe working environment in confined spaces. Employers will need to determine the possible dangers, find ways to increase safety, train workers to handle the issues, and have a rescue plan in the event of an accident on the job.

OSHA is making these changes with an eye on the safety of workers and because of hazardous conditions in the past that have led to a work accident. The new rule describes a confined space as one that is of sufficient size for employees to enter but that has a limited number of ways to get in and get out of and is not intended to be continuously occupied

There are many reasons why a worker would be in a confined space, including working on pier columns or vaults, installing heating and ventilation systems and other projects. The new requirements will be in place for those working on tunnels, bridges, highways, certain residences and other activities that present confined spaces.

In the new rule is included a requirement that when there is a project that has a confined permit space that does not necessitate that workers enter it, steps will be taken to prevent workers from entering. The contractor who is in control of the project will be the main representative to contact when information about these permit spaces is needed. Even with these safety implementations, workplace accidents can still happen on any kind of construction project. Most injured workers will be eligible to file for benefits under the employer's workers' compensation policy.

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