Federal Registers - Table of Contents|
| Publication Date:||06/30/1994|
| Publication Type:||Final Rules|
| Fed Register #:||59:33658-33664|
| Title:||Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Final Rule; Stay of Enforcement and Correction|
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Part 1910
[Docket No. S-015]
Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Final Rule; Stay of Enforcement and Correction
AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor.
ACTION: Final rule; stay of enforcement and correction.
SUMMARY: On January 31, 1994, OSHA issued a new standard addressing the work practices to be used during the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities [59 FR 4320]. In that document, OSHA also revised the electrical protective equipment requirements contained in the General Industry Standards. This notice stays the enforcement of some of the requirements contained in the electric power generation standard, corrects language in the preamble explaining the standard, and corrects several errors in the standards.
DATES: OSHA is staying the enforcement of the following paragraphs of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994: (b)(1)(ii), (d) except for (d)(2)(i) and (d)(2)(iii), (e)(2), (e)(3), (j)(2)(iii), (l)(6)(iii), (m), (n)(3), (n)(4)(ii), (n)(8), (o) except for (o)(2)(i), (r)(1)(vi), (u)(1), (u)(4), (u)(5). OSHA is also staying the enforcement of paragraphs (n)(6) and (n)(7) of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994, but only insofar as they apply to lines and equipment operated at 600 volts or less. Further, OSHA is staying the enforcement of paragraph (v)(11)(xii) of 1910.269 until February 1, 1996.
The corrections to 1910.269 presented in this document become effective on June 30, 1994.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James F. Foster, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3647, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210 (202-219-8148).
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 31, 1994, OSHA issued a new standard addressing the work practices to be used during the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities. In that document, OSHA also revised the electrical protective equipment requirements contained in the General Industry Standards.
I. Correction of the Preamble: Clothing for Employees Working On or Near Exposed Energized Parts
Paragraph (l)(6)(iii) of 1910.269 prohibits employees exposed to flames or arcs from wearing clothing that, when exposed to flames or arcs, could increase the extent of injury that would be sustained by the employees. In adopting this requirement in the final rule, OSHA relied on the evidence submitted to the record in determining what clothing would or would not be acceptable under the language of paragraph (l)(6)(iii). The preamble to the final rule discussed a portion of this evidence as follows:
The requirement is intended to prohibit the types of fabrics shown in the Duke Power Company videotape to be expected to cause more severe injuries than would otherwise be anticipated. These include such untreated materials as polyester and rayon, unless the employee is otherwise protected from the effects of their burning. Natural fabrics, such as 100 percent cotton or wool, and synthetic materials that are flame resistant or flame retardant are acceptable under the final rule. (If and when a national consensus standard on clothing for electrical workers becomes available, OSHA will examine whether or not to revise the rule to require materials conforming to such a standard.) [59 FR 4389]
It is clear from this discussion that OSHA relied heavily on the videotape produced by Duke Power Company and on the results of arc tests on clothing as shown in the videotape in its finding that clothing made from certain fabrics was prohibited and that clothing made from other fabrics was acceptable. It is also quite clear from the preamble quotation that the Agency intended the final rule "to prohibit the types of fabrics shown in the Duke Power Company videotape to be expected to cause more severe injuries than would otherwise be anticipated." However, later in that same quotation, OSHA stated that "natural fabrics, such as 100 percent cotton or wool, and synthetic materials that are flame resistant or flame retardant are acceptable under the final rule." Several questions have been raised in the period after the promulgation of the rule in regard to this statement in the preamble. Interested parties have pointed out that the Duke videotape stated specifically:
All the heavyweight natural fibers we tested performed well. Natural fibers are those found in nature, such as cotton, wool, silk, and linen. We did little testing with silk and linen since most people wouldn't wear them while doing electrical work, but we performed extensive tests with cottons and wools. Lightweight cottons and wools sometimes burned, but without the melting and sticking of synthetics. Heavyweight cottons, wools, and blends of the two did not burn. They actually seemed to insulate whatever they were covering from the heat of the arc. Heavyweight means that a material weighs at least 11 ounces per yard, like the fabric in a denim jacket.
OSHA wrote 1910.269(l)(6)(iii) in performance-oriented language. That language prohibits any clothing that, when exposed to flame or arc, could increase the extent of injury sustained by an employee. Although the record that was in place when final 1910.269 was adopted did not provide sufficient information for the adoption of a rule specifying clothing that would actually protect an employee from both flames and arcs, the Agency concluded that the record did support a rule prohibiting clothing that could further injure a worker. In other words, OSHA adopted a rule that addresses whether or not the clothing worn by a worker would contribute to injury rather than a rule requiring personal protective equipment. As a result, to determine whether clothing made from a given material meets the standard, OSHA need only ascertain whether that material will ignite and continue to burn under the conditions to which an employee is exposed. If, under these conditions, a material will ignite and will continue to burn in the absence of an ignition source, then clothing made from such material is prohibited by 1910.269(l)(6)(iii), unless the clothing is worn in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard involved.
The Duke videotape, which was the primary basis for OSHA's determination that clothing made from certain types of fabrics should be prohibited whenever an employee is exposed to the hazards of electric arc, states that clothing made from 11-ounce cotton would not ignite under the conditions present during their arc tests. Clothing made from lesser weights of cotton could ignite and, once ignited, would continue to burn after the arc ceased. Clearly, from this evidence in the rulemaking record, clothing made from cotton of less than 11 ounces will not meet the performance criteria given in the standard for employees exposed to conditions comparable to those in the Duke Power Company tests.(1) Cotton of 11 ounces or more will not ignite and therefore does meet the requirement in 1910.269(l)(6)(iii) under the arc test conditions.
Footnote(1) The conditions present during the Duke Power Company tests involved an 3800-ampere, 12-inch (approximate) electric arc that was approximately 12 inches from the material. The arc lasted for 10 cycles, or 0.167 seconds.
On the basis of this evidence in the rulemaking record, OSHA has concluded that clothing made from 100 percent cotton or wool will be acceptable if its weight is appropriate for the flame and electric arc conditions to which an employee could be exposed. Employers must make a determination of whether or not 100 percent cotton or wool clothing worn by a worker is acceptable under the conditions to which he or she could be exposed. The factors employers must consider in making this determination are: The weight of the material; the available current involved; the duration of exposure; the distance from any possible flames or arcs that might occur; and the presence of other flammable materials (such as flammable hydraulic fluid) that could be ignited in the presence of an arc and, in turn, ignite the clothing. Later in this document, OSHA is correcting the quoted sentence in the preamble to the final rule in order to clarify the Agency's intent in this matter. (It should be noted that OSHA is not revising either the rule in paragraph (l)(6)(iii) or the note following that paragraph. The fabrics listed in that note continue to be prohibited.) Clothing made from flame-retardant or flame-resistant materials is acceptable under the rule. Employers are encouraged to ensure that their employees wear such clothing if they will be exposed to the hazard of flame or electric arc. In this regard, it should also be noted that the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has adopted a new standard, ASTM F1506-1994, for clothing to be worn for the protection of electrical workers who could be exposed to the hazard of flame or electric arc. This standard, which has not yet incorporated an arc-resistance test, requires the fabric used in clothing to pass a vertical flame test (that is, the fabric must be flame retardant or flame resistant). In fact, when OSHA revises 1910.269 or its counterpart in the Construction Standards (Subpart V of Part 1926), the Agency will be required under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) to adopt a rule that, if it differs substantially from the ASTM standard, must better effectuate the purposes of the OSH Act than that consensus standard. Employers should keep these facts in mind when adopting rules relating to the clothing worn by their electric power generation, transmission, and distribution employees.
OSHA will continue to encourage ASTM Committee F18 (the committee responsible for ASTM F 1506) to expedite their research and standards development activities with regard to protective clothing worn by electrical workers. The Agency will use the latest information available from the committee and from other sources in revising 1910.269(l)(6)(iii) in the future.
II. Stay of Enforcement of Certain Provisions of 1910.269
The electrical protective equipment standard and the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution standard, except 1910.269(a)(2), became effective on May 31, 1994. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) petitioned OSHA to delay the effective date of certain requirements of these two standards until January 31, 1995, when the training requirements of 1910.269(a)(2) become effective. It said that several provisions require the purchase of equipment that is not in sufficient supply for the entire universe of affected employers. EEI also contended that other provisions require the modification of equipment or installations and that employers will need more than the 120 days given in the notice of rulemaking to make these modifications. It asserted that still other requirements entail significant departure from normal company practice and that detailed training is required to implement these requirements. The general training requirements, it noted, do not become effective until January 31, 1995. Lastly, it maintained that employers need more time to consult with OSHA to determine exactly what practices and procedures are acceptable under the new standards.
OSHA has reviewed EEI's petition for delay in the effective date and has found it justified, in part. With respect to EEI's petition regarding requirements that necessitate the purchase of equipment that is in short supply, the Agency finds that it is unnecessary to provide any delay in enforcement of these requirements. It is OSHA policy to accept purchase orders dated before the effective date of a standard to be evidence of intent to comply with that standard. In such cases, the Agency does not issue citations or impose penalties on companies that have ordered but not yet received goods that are intended for compliance with OSHA requirements.
A stay will be necessary for provisions requiring significant modifications in equipment or installations. If an alteration is necessary, these requirements will force an employer to plan and design the modification, purchase any necessary materials, and then install the appropriate modification. These adjustments will normally take more than the 120 days given in the notice of rulemaking to put into place.
EEI has identified one provision requiring modifications to existing coal-handling installations that will take up to 2 years for employers to effectuate. Paragraph (v)(11)(xii) of 1910.269 requires sources of ignition to be eliminated or controlled so as to prevent the ignition of combustible atmospheres associated with coal-handling operations. EEI argues that extensive modifications will be necessary at many older power plants and that these changes will take up to 2 years to put into place.
Therefore, a stay of enforcement of 1910.269(v)(11)(xii) is granted until February 1, 1996, and a stay of enforcement of the following paragraphs of 1910.269 is granted until November 1, 1994:
With respect to provisions that entail extensive changes in work practices or procedures necessitating substantial retraining of employees, OSHA agrees to delay enforcement until the training for any new practices or procedures can be completed for all affected employees. Having some employees, who have been trained in a new procedure, use that procedure while other employees, who are not familiar with the new procedure, use other work methods could provide less safety. For example, the lockout and tagging requirements of 1910.269(d) necessitate the adoption of specific procedures for the control of hazardous energy sources. OSHA anticipates that some employers will need to modify existing lockout and tagging procedures to effect compliance with paragraph (d). Although the Agency believes that most affected employers are already using programs for the control of hazardous energy sources, some employers may need to modify their practices to comply with the final rule and to protect their employees fully. However, if those modifications are put into effect before all employees have been trained in their use, errors and injuries could result. Additionally, some of the provisions that EEI identified as requiring substantial training efforts are specific training requirements. For example, 1910.269(e)(2) requires employees to be trained in the hazards of enclosed space entry, in enclosed space entry procedures, and in enclosed space rescue procedures. These provisions will also take longer than 120 days to implement.
Therefore, for this reason, OSHA is staying the enforcement of the following paragraphs of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994:
The remaining requirements for which EEI requested delay are those that it claims will need additional consultation with OSHA so that employers will know exactly what is required by the standard. Because the standard is written in terms of performance, rather than in terms specifying the means of compliance, employers are given flexibility in meeting the standard. However, sometimes it may not be clear whether or not a given method will comply with an individual provision. For example, employers will likely need more time to identify the types of clothing that will be acceptable under 1910.269(l)(6)(iii).
Therefore, OSHA is staying the enforcement of the following paragraphs of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994:
OSHA emphasizes that the record is not being reopened on any of the delayed provisions of 1910.269. Revised 1910.137 and 1910.269 are final rules, and the Agency is not considering the modification of any of these requirements. Additionally, 1910.137 and all paragraphs of 1910.269 other than paragraph (a)(2), which becomes effective on January 31, 1995, went into effect on May 31, 1994, as scheduled.
PART 1910 - [AMENDED]
For the reasons set forth above, the following Note is added to 1910.269 immediately preceding the text of the section.
1910.269 Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
OSHA is staying the enforcement of the following paragraphs of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994: (b)(1)(ii), (d) except for (d)(2)(i) and (d)(2)(iii), (e)(2), (e)(3), (j)(2)(iii), (l)(6)(iii), (m), (n)(3), (n)(4)(ii), (n)(8), (o) except for (o)(2)(i), (r)(1)(vi), (u)(1), (u)(4), (u)(5). OSHA is also staying the enforcement of paragraphs (n)(6) and (n)(7) of 1910.269 until November 1, 1994, but only insofar as they apply to lines and equipment operated at 600 volts or less. Further, OSHA is staying the enforcement of paragraph (v)(11)(xii) of 1910.269 until Februrary 1, 1996.
* * * * *
Several provisions in 1910.269 contained minor typographical or grammatical errors. Additionally, several national consensus standards were approved and published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and by ASTM shortly after the promulgation of revised 1910.137 and 1910.269. Some non-mandatory notes and a non-mandatory appendix contained references to older editions of these ASTM standards. These non-mandatory references are intended to provide employers, employees, and other affected parties with additional information on techniques of complying with the OSHA rules. In fact, two notes in 1910.137 accept compliance with specific ASTM standards as being compliance with 1910.137. The Agency has reviewed the new ANSI and ASTM standards and has found them to provide newer, more technically up-to-date information than the older versions. Therefore, this correction notice is updating the references in 1910.137 and 1910.269 to the later ANSI and ASTM standards. In 1910.137, OSHA is retaining the slightly older editions of the ASTM standards, in addition to the more recent editions, to clarify that electrical protective equipment manufactured in accordance with the older standards is still acceptable.
PART 1910 - [CORRECTED]
This document was prepared under the direction of Joseph A. Dear, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.
The actions in this document are taken pursuant to sections 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033), and 29 CFR Part 1911.
Signed at Washington, DC, this 27th day of June, 1994.
Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.
[FR Doc. 94-16013 Filed 6-28-94; 1:50 pm]
Federal Registers - Table of Contents|