Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

July 25, 1977

Mr. D. W. Ryerson
Bayport Plant
ICI United States Inc.
5757 Underwood Road
Pasadena, Texas 77507

Dear Mr. Ryerson:

Assistant Secretary Bingham has asked me to respond to your letter dated July 6, 1977, requesting a variance from Section 1910.106(b)(2)(ii)(b) Spacing (Shell-to-Shell) Between Above-Ground Tanks, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

Section 1910.106 is undergoing review in order to eliminate portions of the standard pertaining to property protection rather than employee protection. Included in this revision will be a modification of the shell-to-shell spacing requirement.

A Program Directive has recently been issued to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) field offices authorizing the use of a de minimis notice in situations involving a standard which is being modified, if the deviation from the present standard does not affect the safety or health of the employees. A de minimis notice carries no penalty and no abatement is required.

From the information contained in your application for variance, it appears that the present spacing of your tanks would not affect the safety and health of your employees and, would, therefore, be a de minimis situation. Accordingly, no further action will be taken on your variance application.

Any further questions you may have regarding this matter may be addressed to our Area Director, Mr. Robert A. Griffin, U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA, 2320 La Branch Street, Room 2118, Houston, Texas 77004. Telephone (713) 226-5431.


James J. Concannon,
Office of Variance Determination