[Federal Register: October 12, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 196)][Proposed Rules] [Page 59290-59292]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926
[Docket No. S-0215]
Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution;
Electrical Protective Equipment; Extension of Comment Period; Change in
Date of Public Hearing
AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.
ACTION: Notice of hearing; extension of comment period; reopening of
the period to file notices of intention to appear at an informal public
hearing; additional issues for comment.
SUMMARY: This notice reschedules an informal hearing on the proposed
standards on electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
and on electrical protective equipment, which were published on June
15, 2005. It also reopens the period to file notices of intention to
appear at the informal public hearing, extends the period for written
comments on the proposal, extends the period to provide the complete
text of testimony and documentary evidence, and identifies additional
issues on which OSHA is seeking comment. These periods are extended 90
days with this notice.
DATES: Comments. Comments on the proposal must be submitted (postmarked
or sent) by January 11, 2006.
Informal public hearing. OSHA will hold an informal public hearing
in Washington, DC, beginning March 6, 2006. The hearing will commence
at 1 p.m. on the first day, and at 9 a.m. on the second and subsequent
Notices of intention to appear. Parties who intend to present
testimony at the informal public hearing must notify OSHA in writing of
their intention to do so no later than November 11, 2005.
Hearing testimony and documentary evidence. Parties who request
more than 10 minutes for their presentations at the informal public
hearing and parties who will submit documentary evidence at the hearing
must submit the full text of their testimony and all documentary
evidence postmarked no later than February 1, 2006.
ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments, notices of intention to
appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence--identified by
docket number (S-215) or RIN number (1218-AB67)--by any of the
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
OSHA Web site: http://dockets.osha.gov/. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments on OSHA's Web page.
Fax: If your written comments are 10 pages or fewer, you
may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.
Regular mail, express delivery, hand delivery, and courier
service: Submit three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S-
215, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room
N2625, Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. (OSHA's TTY
number is (877) 889-5627.) OSHA Docket Office hours of operation are
8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.s.t.
Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name
and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this
rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to
http://dockets.osha.gov/, including any personal information provided.
For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional
information on the rulemaking process, see the ``Public Participation''
heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
Docket: For access to the docket to read comments and background
documents that can be posted go to http://dockets.osha.gov/. Written
comments received, notices of intention to appear, and all other
material related to the development of the proposed standard will be
available for inspection and copying in the public record in the Docket
Office at the address listed previously.
Hearing: The hearing will be held in the auditorium of the U.S.
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington DC.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
General information and press inquiries: Mr. Kevin Ropp, Director,
Office of Communications, Room N3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor,
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202)
Technical information: Mr. David Wallis, Director, Office of
Engineering Safety, Room N3609, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
2277 or fax (202) 693-1663.
Hearings: Ms. Veneta Chatmon, OSHA Office of Communications,
Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Room N3647; 200
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice, as well as news,
are available at OSHA's Web page on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 15, 2005, OSHA published a proposal
that would update the standards on electric power generation,
transmission, and distribution and on electrical protective equipment
for general industry and construction (70 FR 34822). Interested parties
were given until August 15, 2005, to submit notices of intention to
appear at an informal hearing, and they were given until October 13,
2005, to submit written comments.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) requested that OSHA extend the
rulemaking period by 90 days. EEI argued that an extension is warranted
because of the involvement of their membership in electric power
restoration following Hurricane Katrina, as follows:
EEI is the association of the nation's investor owned electric
companies. Many EEI member companies, their employees, and
contractors they regularly engage, are now overwhelmingly occupied
with providing assistance in the areas affected by Hurricane
Katrina. This is especially so as to those involved in electric
power transmission and distribution construction, as sister
companies work to provide mutual aid, including restoration of
electric power, to customers of those companies whose service
territories include affected portions of southern states.
Stated simply, those involved in managing and performing such work
are likely to have little, if any, time now or in the coming few
months to focus on assisting EEI to prepare comments on the proposed
OSHA has received similar requests from other organizations.
The Agency recognizes that many of the parties who would be
interested in this rulemaking are heavily involved in responding to the
destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The affected contractors and
electric utilities, including utilities providing assistance directly
affected areas, are likely to be spending significant resources on the
restoration efforts, As EEI notes, these contractors and utilities will
have little time in the next couple of months to respond to OSHA's
request for comments on the proposed standards. Therefore, OSHA is
extending the rulemaking period by 90 days.
In the preamble to the proposal, OSHA specifically requested
comments in nearly seventy areas, involving such issues as safe work
procedures and requirements for protective equipment. For instance,
OSHA requested comments on how employees can be insulated or isolated
from multiphase exposure (70 FR 34831) and on whether the standard
should require the employer to provide automated external
defibrillators (70 FR 34842). OSHA received over 30 notices of
intention to appear (NOITA) in response to the notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM). The NOITAs raised many issues related to the
proposal, some of which went beyond those listed in the NPRM. OSHA will
consider evidence introduced on these issues during the rulemaking and
invites the public to comment on them:
Whether the standard should include ground-to-ground,
cradle-to-cradle, or lock-to-lock rubber glove and sleeve requirements;
Whether the standard should include specific multicrew
Whether the standard should include tagging requirements
for systems using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
\1\ SCADA is a computer system for monitoring and controlling
equipment (in this case, electric power transmission and
distribution lines and equipment).
Whether OSHA should revise the order of removal of
protective grounds for the protection of employees as given in proposed
Sec. 1926.962(f)(2) and Sec. 1910.269(n)(7);
Whether the standard should include specific requirements
for the creation of an equipotential zone;
Whether the standard should include requirements for an
information trail tracking the job briefing between all levels of
employees associated with the job, for example, between the supervisor,
employee-in-charge, and crewmember;
Whether the standard should require fall arrest or work
positioning equipment for employees transferring to another object
while climbing; and
Whether the provisions for the testing of fall protection
equipment in proposed Sec. 1926.954(b) and Sec. 1910.269(g)(2) are
OSHA is not limiting comments, hearing requests, and documentary
evidence to only these areas. OSHA invites comments, hearing requests,
and documentary evidence on all issues raised by the proposal.
Public Participation--Comments and Hearings
OSHA encourages members of the public to participate in this
rulemaking by submitting comments on the proposal, and by providing
oral testimony and documentary evidence at the informal public hearing
that the Agency will convene after the comment period ends. In this
regard, the Agency invites interested parties having knowledge of, or
experience with, safety related to working on electric power
generation, transmission, or distribution installations to participate
in this process, and welcomes any pertinent data and cost information
that will provide it with the best available evidence on which to
develop the final standard.
This section describes the procedures the public must use to submit
their comments to the docket in a timely manner, and to schedule an
opportunity to deliver oral testimony and provide documentary evidence
at the informal public hearings. Comments, notices of intention to
appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence will be available
for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You also should
read the earlier sections titled DATES and ADDRESSES for additional
information on submitting comments, documents, and requests to the
Agency for consideration in this rulemaking.
Written comments. OSHA invites interested parties to submit written
data, views, and arguments concerning this proposal. In particular,
OSHA encourages interested parties to comment on the various issues
raised in the summary and explanation of the proposal (70 FR 34826-
34893) and in this notice. When submitting comments, parties must
follow the procedures specified earlier in the sections titled DATES
and ADDRESSES. The comments must clearly identify the provision of the
proposal you are addressing, the position taken with respect to each
issue, and the basis for that position. Comments, along with supporting
data and references, received by the end of the specified comment
period will become part of the proceedings record, and will be
available for public inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office.
Informal Public Hearing. Pursuant to section 6(b)(3) of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act, members of the public will have an
opportunity at an informal public hearing to provide oral testimony
concerning the issues raised in this proposal. The hearings will
connect at 1 p.m. on March 6, 2006. At that time, the presiding
administrative law judge (ALJ) will resolve any procedural matters
relating to the proceeding. The hearings will reconvene on subsequent
days at 9 a.m.
The legislative history of section 6 of the OSH Act, as well as
OSHA's regulation governing public hearings (29 CFR 1911.15),
establishes the purpose and procedures of informal public hearings.
Although the presiding officer of such hearings is an ALJ, and
questioning by interested parties is allowed on crucial issues, the
proceeding is informal and legislative in purpose. Therefore, the
hearing provides interested parties with an opportunity to make
effective and expeditious oral presentations in the absence of
procedural restraints or rigid procedures that could impede or protract
the rulemaking process. In addition, the hearing is an informal
administrative proceeding, rather than an adjudicative one in which the
technical rules of evidence would apply, because its primary purpose is
to gather and clarify information. The regulations that govern public
hearings, and the prehearing guidelines issued for this hearing, will
ensure participants fairness and due process, and will facilitate the
development of a clear, accurate, and complete record. Accordingly,
application of these rules and guidelines will be such that questions
of relevance, procedure, and participation generally will favor
development of the record.
Conduct of the hearing will conform to the provisions of 29 CFR
part 1911, ``Rules of Procedure for Promulgating, Modifying, or
Revoking Occupational Safety and Health Standards.'' The regulation at
29 CFR 1911.4, ``Additional or Alternative Procedural Requirements,''
specifies that the Assistant Secretary may, on reasonable notice, issue
alternative procedures to expedite proceedings or for other good cause.
Although the ALJs who preside over these hearings make no decision or
recommendations on the merits of OSHA's proposal, they do have the
responsibility and authority to ensure that the hearing progresses at a
reasonable pace and in an orderly manner. To ensure that interested parties
receive a full and fair informal hearing as specified by 29 CFR part 1911,
the ALJ has the authority and power to: Regulate the course of the
proceedings; dispose of procedural requests, objections, and comparable
matters; confine the presentations to matters pertinent to the issuers
raised; use appropriate means to regulate the conduct of the parties
who are present at the hearing; question witnesses, and permit others
to question witnesses; and limit the time for such questioning. At the
close of the hearing, the ALJ will establish a post-hearing comment
period for parties who participated in the hearing. During the first
part of this period, the participants may submit additional data and
information to OSHA; during the second part of this period, they may
submit briefs, arguments, and summations.
Notice of Intention to Appear to Provide Testimony at the Informal
Public Hearing. Interested parties who intend to provide oral testimony
at the informal public hearings must file a notice of intention to
appear by using the procedures specified earlier in the sections titled
DATES and ADDRESSES. This notice must provide the: name, address, and
telephone number of each individual who will provide testimony, and
their preferred hearing location; capacity (for example, the name of
the establishment or organization the individual is representing and
the individual's occupational title and position) in which each
individual will testify; approximate amount of time required for each
individual's testimony; specific issues each individual will address,
including a brief statement of the position that the individual will
take with respect to each of these issues; and a brief summary of any
documentary evidence the individual intends to present.
OSHA emphasizes that the hearings are open to the public, and that
interested parties are welcome to attend. However, only a party who
files a complete notice of intention to appear may ask questions and
participate fully in the proceedings. While a party who did not file a
notice of intention to appear may be allowed to testify at the hearing
if time permits, this determination is at the discretion of the
Hearing Testimony and Documentary Evidence. Any party requesting
more than 10 minutes to testify at the informal public hearing, or who
intends to submit documentary evidence at the hearing, must provide the
complete text of the testimony and the documentary evidence as
specified earlier in the sections listed DATES and ADDRESSES. The
Agency will review each submission and determine if the information it
contains warrants the amount of time requested. If OSHA believes the
requested time is excessive, it will allocate an appropriate amount of
time to the presentation, and will notify the participant of this
action, and the reasons for the action, before the hearing. The Agency
may limit to 10 minutes the presentation of any participant who fails
to comply substantially with these procedural requirements; in such
instances, OSHA may request the participant to return for questioning
Certification of the Record and Final Determination after the
Informal Public Hearing. Following the close of the hearing and post-
hearing comment period, the presiding ALJ will certify the record to
the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health;
the record will consist of all of the written comments, oral testimony,
and documentary evidence received during the proceeding. However, the
ALJ does not make or recommend any decisions as to the content of the
final standard. Following certification of the record, OSHA will review
the proposed provisions in light of all the evidence received as part
of the record, and then will issue the final rule based on the entire
Authority and Signature
This document was prepared under the direction of Jonathan L.
Snare, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor of Occupational Safety and
Health, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.
This action is 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. 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), and 29 CFR part
Dated: Signed at Washington, DC this 6th day of October, 2005.
Jonathan L. Snare,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor.
[FR Doc. 05-20421 Filed 10-11-05; 8:45 am]
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