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Safety guidelines for confined space work issued by OSHA

In consultation with the National Association of Home Builders, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released safety guidelines for work in confined spaces that is performed by construction workers in Maryland and around the country. They are meant specifically for workers in residential construction so that their injury risks will be decreased.

According to OSHA, confined spaces in residential construction include those that are large enough to enter, are not meant for continuous occupancy and have limited exits. They may include crawl spaces, attics, basements and other confined spaces. Spaces that contain hazards may require permits under the safety standard.

Hazardous conditions in confined spaces that may require permits include such things as material that potentially could engulf people, those that have potentially hazardous atmospheres, spaces that are configured in such a way that workers could be asphyxiated in them and those that contain any other recognized hazards. Prior to the start of the work, employers must first determine whether or not the spaces will require permits. OSHA reports that such areas as basements, attics and crawl spaces will normally not need permits, but attics might if there is the potential for extreme heat.

Residential construction workers who are injured while in confined spaces may be eligible to file claims for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits may cover all of the injured workers' related medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and ongoing treatment needs. In some cases the injured workers might qualify for partial wage replacement if they are unable to return to their jobs for prolonged periods. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can often help to ensure that the claim is filed on a timely basis and that it contains all required information.

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