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Your Position: Home - Home & Garden - What is the difference between 29 CFR 1910 and 1926?

What is the difference between 29 CFR 1910 and 1926?

Published hard copies of CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) are useful to have in the field or on the floor. They work well as a quick reference to identify and cite potential OSHA violations or as a guide to spot areas where worker protections could be improved while crafting updated safety plans and avoiding costly fines.

A published CFR is only as useful as its contents remain relevant. Edits are made to the codification of rules in the Federal Register frequently. Some of the changes are small—clarifications, small tweaks to tables, editing for conciseness—but ultimately do not modify the rule in a significant way.

However, critical updates and major changes to rules do occur with relative frequency. If your print copy of 29 CFR 1910 or 20 CFR 1926 hasn’t been updated in a while, you may be missing crucial information.

We know that comparing everything that has changed can be a challenge. That’s why we’re here to make checking this round of CFR updates simple. This guide will cover and summarize only major changes from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020.

Changes to 29 CFR 1910 Occupational Health and Safety Standards for General Industry in 2018 – 2020

§1910.134 Respiratory protection

Several key changes were made to the Respiratory Protection Standard that applies not only to general industry but also shipyards, marine terminals, long shoring, and construction. These changes add new sections C.4 and C.5, as well as Appendix A on Fit Testing Procedures.

2021 additions to 29 CFR 1910.134 Respiratory Protection Standard include:

  • Updates to fit test exercises. Now, it is required for employers to perform fit tests for all methods listed in the appendix, except for the two modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol, CNP quantitative fit testing protocol and the CNP redon quantitative fit testing protocol. In regards to the two modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing, they have their own exercises listed in Part I.C(4)b, Part I.C.5(b), or Part I.C.(6) for full or half-mask elastomeric respirators or for filtering facepiece respirators.
  • A full protocol for Modified Ambient Aerosol CNC Quantitative Fit Testing Protocols for Full-Facepiece and Half-Mask Elastomeric Respirators is now included in Table A-1.
  •  A full protocol for Modified Ambient Aerosol CNC Quantitative Fit Testing has been added to Table A-2.

§1910.1024 Beryllium

The beryllium standard for general industry was updated to better align the regulations with industry needs and the rules outlined in other beryllium standards like 1926.1124. The most recent updates are effective as of September 14, 2020.

Recent additions to 29 CFR 1910.1024 Beryllium Standard include:

  • Defines beryllium sensitization, an immune response found in people who have been exposed to airborne beryllium that can lead to CBD (chronic beryllium disease).
  • Updates the method of compliance to state more broadly “exposure” instead of “airborne exposure or dermal contact.”
  • Personal protective equipment must now be removed once the worker has completed their beryllium-related task, not at the end of their shift.
  • If employees have skin exposed to beryllium, they must wash the exposed skin at designated times.
  • Personal protective equipment must have beryllium cleaned off as much as possible before entering or using an area where workers will be eating or drinking

Changes to 29 CFR 1926 General Industry in 2018 – 2020

§1926.1427 Cranes and Derricks in Construction Operator Qualifications

This major change was released in two parts with the qualifications and certifications going into effect December 10, 2018, and amendments (a) and (f) on evaluation and documentation requirements went into effect on February 7, 2019.

Updates for 2021 to 29 CFR 1926.1427 Cranes and Derricks in Construction Operator Qualifications Standard include:

  • Crane certification is no longer by capacity, instead, it must be by type as defined by the accredited certifying organization.
  • Employers must have all operators certified under new rules by December 10, 2018, at the employers’ expense.
  • Certified operators must then be qualified on the equipment they use in their workplace, otherwise, they are considered an operator-in-training and cannot work without direct supervision from a qualified trainer.
  • A qualified person must be either an employee or an agent of the employer with the knowledge and experience necessary to direct in-training operators.
  • A qualified person must be in the field of vision and watch the operator-in-training closely.
  • Evaluations are conducted to ensure the operator can perform work safely on their assigned equipment.
  • Evaluations are conducted to ensure the operator has mastered all necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to avert risks and safely perform work duties using their assigned equipment.

§1926.1124 Beryllium in Construction and Shipyards

The most recent changes to the rules for Beryllium in Construction went into effect on 9/30/2020, however, the standard has been updated several times since 2018, mostly for clarity and to better align with adjacent rules in 29 CFR 1910 General Industry.

Leading up to these rule changes, in 2017 OSHA published a rule about occupational exposure to beryllium and its compounds in the Federal Register that conclude it posed a significant risk to the health of workers with the potential to lead to lung disease or cancer when exposures went beyond permissible exposure limits (PELs). Contact with this material happens often in shipyards and during welding. The new rules set out to fit the needs of construction and shipyard workers specifically and align their standards to the general industry standards, as well as provide clarification.

Modifications to the 29 CFR 1926.1124 Beryllium in Construction and Shipyards Standard include:

  • Specified definition of Beryllium sensitization, which is an immune response in people exposed to beryllium. While it is often symptomless it is the first step to developing CBD (chronic beryllium disease).
  • Pulmonologists in CBD medical diagnostic centers are no longer required to be on-site, but simply on staff.
  • The written exposure control plan for beryllium now must contain a list of operations and job titles who are expected to work with beryllium, engineering controls, means of protection from exposure, a list of PPE (personal protective equipment) used, as well as procedures for restricting access during work exposures, procedures to contain exposure and procedures for cleanup.
  • Engineering rules have been simplified to state that engineers must be used by employers to reduce and maintain beryllium exposure below the TWA PEL and STEL unless provably unfeasible.
  • In-writing notification of airborne exposure of beryllium to housekeeping staff is no longer required. Instead, in any operation that could result in airborne dust, the workers must be provided with personal protective equipment if it will result in airborne exposure above TWA PEL or STEL levels.
  • When beryllium is disposed of or transported to another entity, written warnings are no longer required.
  • Physician evaluations at CBD diagnostic centers must include tests for pulmonary function, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), and transbronchial biopsy if deemed necessary.
  • Warning labels on containers contaminated with beryllium are no longer required.
  • Employees now are only required to be trained in beryllium safety if they are reasonably thought to have airborne exposure—skin exposure is now excluded.

§1926.1400 Scope

This standard was updated with the new paragraph (18) which clarifies that flash-butt welding trucks that are not equipped with hoisting devices are defined as roadway maintenance machines and are used for railroad track work, as defined in 49 CFR 214.7.

Benefits and features of CFR books

Government agencies like OSHA must remain nimble to continue to improve processes that protect workers’ health and safety while balancing the needs of employers. So, when it comes to construction and general industry, the Code of Federal Regulations are known to change frequently.

Published CFR books from National Safety Compliance can help you stay informed on industry changes, within your work floor, construction site, or office and keeping your employees safe. These current publications are also an excellent guide for developing or updating your facility’s safety plan.

Our publications are released often and are designed to be user-friendly, with additional features to help you answer questions quickly and effectively.

Annual Updates and Corrections

Every change made to the CFR in the past few years is included in the front of the book, even if it is a minor grammatical change. This will help you quickly identify any standards that may need a refresher, retraining, or trigger a safety plan update.

Most Frequently Cited Standards

Our CFR books contain the most frequently cited standards from OSHA from the previous year. This can help you see where your industry peers may have gaps in their safety plans and check the standards against your facility’s practices.

This information is found prior to the start of each subpart.

Letters of Interpretation

Letters of Interpretation are an excellent resource that you may not normally be aware of. These letters are responses from OSHA to public questions about important topics like terminology, interpretation, and enforcement of particular laws. If there are Letters of Interpretation available to help clarify a standard, we include an icon in our book so you know to look it up on osha.gov

Additional Parts of Title 29 & General Duty

We include additional parts of Title 29 outside of 1910 and 1926 that are relevant to our users, such as Inspections, Citations, and Proposed Penalties from 29 CFR 1903 and CFR 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

Also included for quick reference is the General Duty clause, which is OSHA’s catch-all for hazardous or dangerous situations in a workplace. If there isn’t a specific standard the violation falls under, it goes under General Duty.

The 2021 Edition of 29 CFR 1910 General Industry and 29 CFR 1926 Construction books from National Safety Compliance are available in print or digital PDF formats. To ensure your facility is always in compliance, protect your workers, and avoid costly fines, make sure safety management, supervisors, and human resources directors have easy access to the right training, materials, and resources to protect your workers and business.

Understanding the Differences Between Construction and General Industry Confined Space Regulations 

Because construction was specifically excluded from following the general industry confined space standard, OSHA would have to cite concerns in the construction industry under several different areas.

Rarely are construction and general industry OSHA standards identical or interchangeable. When it comes to OSHA’s confined space standards, there are some notable differences between the Construction 29 CFR 1926, Subpart AA standard and General Industry 29 CFR 1910.146. Before we dive into the confined space details, let’s first define some terms. OSHA says that “general industry” is any industry not included in construction, agriculture, or maritime. OSHA clarifies other nuances in several letters of interpretation (LOI):


  • The first is from February 1, 1996. OSHA makes it clear that Section 29 CFR 1910.12(b) defines construction work as "construction, alteration, and/or repair including painting, and decorating." Further, construction work is defined as work not limited to new construction, which includes the repair of existing facilities, and the replacement of structures and their components.”
  • OSHA also clarified the difference between construction and maintenance in 1999, by saying maintenance is “keeping equipment or a structure in proper condition through routine, scheduled or anticipated measures without having to significantly alter the structure or equipment in the process. For equipment, this generally means keeping the equipment working properly by taking steps to prevent its failure or degradation.”
  • OSHA clarified maintenance vs. construction activities on November 18, 2003, by explaining "Construction work is not limited to new construction but can include the repair of existing facilities or the replacement of structures and their components. For example, the replacement of one utility pole with a new, identical pole would be maintenance; however, if it were replaced with an improved pole or equipment, it would be considered construction.”

You might ask yourself, why does it matter if we are doing maintenance or construction? The answer is that maintenance tasks are covered under the general industry regulation. For years, there was only a general industry standard, 1910.146 (a). Because construction was specifically excluded from following the general industry confined space standard, OSHA would have to cite concerns in the construction industry under several different areas:

1. The general duty clause

2. 29 CFR 1926.21 (b)(6) (which no longer exists)

3. 29 CFR 1926.154 (a)(2) “When heaters are used in confined spaces...”. (it’s still in existence but has some vague language)


This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

What is the difference between 29 CFR 1910 and 1926?

Understanding the Differences Between Construction and ...

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