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Working in confined spaces in residential construction

Georgia employees who regularly work in confined spaces on residential construction projects may not realize just how dangerous this work can be. As such, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued an updated fact sheet to residential construction companies keep their employees safe when they are working in attics, crawl spaces, basements and other confined spaces.

OSHA defines confined spaces as a space that is large enough for a construction worker to enter and that has a restricted or limited means of entry. Additionally, confined spaces are also not designed for continued occupancy. A finished basement designed for continuous occupancy would not be considered a confined space. Some confined spaces that have certain hazardous conditions present may require permits. For example, permit-required confined spaces are those that potentially have a hazardous atmosphere, contains a material that engulf or bury a person in the space, has asphyxiation hazards due to a lack of oxygen or contains a recognized health or safety hazard.

The agency recommends that before any work begins, it is the responsibility of the employer to determine if the confined space may have hazardous conditions and thus requires a permit. Generally, the confined spaces normally encountered when completing residential construction work do not need permits unless there is a hazard for extreme heat in an attic.

Construction work is particularly dangerous due to the number of hazards present on site. For example, a worker working in a confined space could become trapped or become exposed to hazardous conditions. If a worker suffers serious injuries that require medical care, an attorney could help the worker seek workers' compensation benefits. These could include the provision of medical care and in some cases partial wage replacement.

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