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.

August 14, 1987

Mr. John J. Kovach
Coordinator, Safety Administration
Mail Code 1406
Amoco Oil Company
P.O. Box 87707
Chicago, Illinois 60680-0707

Dear Mr. Kovach:

This is in response to your letter of July 22, 1987, concerning 29 CFR 1910.106(f)(3)(iii).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard at 29 CFR 1910.106 was adopted during the initial months of OSHA from the NFPA 30-1969, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code. Section 6230 of Section 62, Loading and Unloading Facilities, was adopted and concerned the loading of tank vehicles. Unfortunately, that standard made no differentiation between top or bottom loading procedures, since only manual procedures for top loading were addressed. It must therefore be noted that the NFPA 30-1969 and the current OSHA requirements at 29 CFR 1910.106(f)(3)(iii) pertain only to manually controlled top loading operations which require the operator to hold the valve open and observe the fill marker. Furthermore, the provision for filling a preset amount has not been deemed to be completely adequate alone, and additional safeguards are necessary.

OSHA recognizes that current methods for filling tank vehicles employ advanced top or bottom fill techniques. Therefore, OSHA regulates such operations under applicable standards through the authority of the general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. NFPA 30-1984, Sections 6-3.4 and 6-3.5, are used by OSHA field staff in this instance. (Portions of the NFPA 30-969 and 1984 code enclosed.) OSHA recommends and expects that employers will abide by the safety recommendations and requirements of the current NFPA 30 code where and when that code pertains to their operations. Where compliance with an updated current consensus safety standard is in conflict with an existing OSHA standard, the circumstances are likely to be a de minimis violation, as addressed in the enclosed guidance on de minimis violations.

Dispensing valves used in industrial plants for Class I liquids must be self closing throughout their operating range when used for liquid dispensing in accord with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(2)(iv)(d).

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us.


Leo Carey, Director
Directorate of Field Operations