The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reached a settlement with the National Association of Home Builders over the agency’s Confined Spaces in Construction rule.

The rule now has very limited implications for the residential home building industry. Through negotiations “residential home building” or “residential home construction” are now defined as “work on any residence being built using traditional wood frame construction materials, methods, and procedures that are typical to single-family home or townhouse construction.”

OSHA has released a Q&A guide to help industry leaders understand the rule.

"Notably, the Q&A clarifies that the vast majority of the rule’s requirements only apply to permit-required confined spaces, and that attics, basements and crawl spaces in a residential home will not typically trigger these requirements," according to the NAHB release.

"For example, the mere presence of a physical hazard in one of these spaces in a residential home would not make that space a permit-required confined space under the rule. The presence of a physical hazard would only make a space a permit-required confined space if an entrant has exposure to a serious hazard and the exposure could hinder their ability to exit the space without assistance.”

Through the settlement, OSHA has agreed to provide the Q&A document to regional offices and state plan programs, publish it to its website, and incorporate it into their compliance rule.

NAHB will offer a free webinar to understand the rule on June 16, which will be hosted by Bradford Hammock, partner at Jackson Lewis P.C. that focuses primarily on safety and health issues.

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