1. Introduction

Introduction and Methodology:

The purpose of this survey is to collect data to determine the impact of compliance costs for contractors under OSHA’s Proposed Rule on Confined Space.

This survey will require you to rate costs by level of significance and enter data on labor, record keeping, training and other costs relative to the proposed rule for the 2005-2007 time period.

AGC of America will not publish or disclose the identities of respondents to the survey. Responses to this survey may be considered anonymous and will not be attributed to individuals or contractors. All numerical data collected in this survey will be processed by an economist under contract with AGC of America.

Data collected in this survey will be analyzed and published as a supplement to comments on the proposed rule and AGC of America’s testimony on July 22, 2008.

Please carefully review the background information detailed below and review survey questions carefully before submitting your information.


OSHA’s proposed rule for confined space in construction is complicated, costly to implement, and does not provide significant increases in safety above the existing general industry standard. Liability placed on contractors is significantly increased by the proposed rule, particularly for the controlling contractor or host employer. The proposed standard must be simplified, and a comprehensive study of the costs associated to comply with this standard must be undertaken by OSHA to assess the real costs for industry.

AGC believes that within the past 15 years, many contractors have become accustomed to 29 CFR 1910.146 and have adjusted their safety programs to comply with this standard. Over the years, AGC has developed several safety training products geared specifically to confined space for the construction industry in both English and Spanish to provide our members with the tools they need for safe work sites.


In 1993, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began work on a rule for confined space in construction. The Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) established a working group that provided recommendations for a standard in 1994.

In 1999-2000, OSHA gathered feedback from stakeholders through hearings across the country. The agency convened a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (SBREFA) on Sept. 26, 2003, to solicit comments about the draft proposal and the economic impact on small entity representatives (SERs). AGC was represented on the SBREFA panel with several members acting as SERs. The SBREFA Panel Report was published in November 2003.

On November 28, 2007, OSHA published the proposed rule for Confined Space in Construction for public comment. AGC submitted comments on February 28, 2008 and will testify at an informal public hearing on July 22, 2008.

To view the proposed rule and AGC’s comments click here.


AGC submitted comments on February 28, 2008 expressing concern that the proposed rule for confined space in construction will be complicated and costly. AGC is concerned about the enforcement of and compliance with vague definitions throughout the proposed rule and also, the language included in the proposed rule on controlling contractor/host employer.

The notice for proposed rule-making (NPRM) states that employers must determine if there are confined spaces on the job site, according to the proposed rule and if such a confined space exists, the employer would determine if there are existing or potential hazards. If there are such hazards, the employer would then classify the space according to the physical and atmospheric hazards found in it. The classifications for confined space in construction are: Isolated-Hazard Confined Space, Controlled-Atmosphere Confined Space, Permit-Required Confined Space, and Continuous System-Permit-Required Confined Space. The proposed requirements for each type of confined space are tailored to control the different types of hazards.

AGC has several significant concerns over the NPRM including; record keeping requirements, cost impacts on small businesses, vague definitions in the proposed standard for confined space “in or near” a job site, the definition of “controlling employer” and their responsibilities, and potential impact on classifications currently used by the industry.

OSHA will review all of the comments from both the notice for proposed rulemaking (February 28, 2008) and the public hearing (July 22, 2008). The agency will make the necessary changes and modifications to the proposed rule, at which point the final rule will be published. This process could potentially take anywhere from six months to several years. Congress may also step in as they did with the Payment of PPE standard, and set specific requirements and a deadline for the agency to finalize the rule.

For more information:
Michele Myers
Director, Safety and Health
(703) 837-5410

Please review the questions carefully and collect the necessary data before you submit your answers. You can go back to previous questions after you have answered questions. Do not click “DONE” until the survey is completed to your satisfaction .This survey will take approximately 2 hours to complete.