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 https://www.osha.gov.

May 27, 1986

Mr. Michael Tomaro
Tomaro Contractors, Inc.
P.O. Box 1986
Cudahy, Wisconsin 53110

Dear Mr. Tomaro:

This is in response to your letter dated May 12, concerning your request for a variance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decompression tables as delineated in 29 CFR 1926.803.

Without regard to the adequacy of your application, your request to substitute the so-called National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) decompression tables for those prescribed by the standard cannot be acted upon at this time by this office. The report has not as of this time been endorsed or published by NIOSH. Until such time as it may be endorsed we have no basis for judging its equivalence for purposes of safety and health as required for issuance for a grant of permanent variance.

I would point out, however, that your concern with the need for use of automatic decompression controllers to regulate pressure in the decompression lock may be founded since section 1926.803(g)(1)(iii) only requires these controls where the air pressure in the working chamber exceeds 12 psi.

No further action will be taken on your request for a variance. Please contact me at (202) 523-7193, if you have any question.


James J. Concannon
Office of Variance Determination