New Jersey employers who do residential construction work have had the period of time for them to comply with revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules for confined spaces extended to Jan. 8, 2016. However, employers in nonresidential construction must begin complying with those guidelines immediately.
The new standards mean the construction industry is now similar to general industry and the manufacturing industry regarding confined spaces. Workers who are affected by or involved in confined spaces must now be trained whereas before only workers entering those confined spaces were required to be trained.
Residential construction employers will still be required to demonstrate good faith regarding compliance. OSHA will be looking at factors such as whether or not employers have begun training employees or obtained necessary equipment for compliance to decide whether there has been a good-faith effort. Training includes understanding hazards, necessary precautions and how to use emergency and protective equipment.
A person who is injured at work during a construction job or in any other industry may be eligible for workers’ compensation whether or not the employer has met the required standards. However, in some cases, a worker may not receive adequate compensation or might even be denied. An injured worker may wish to speak with an attorney about the options available. For example, faulty equipment or a non-employer third party may be to blame for the accident, and the injured worker may wish to file a civil suit. Even if this is not the case, an injured victim may need assistance in completing workers’ compensation paperwork or in appealing a denial. Workers may also wish to consult an attorney in the event of retaliation from an employer for filing a claim.