- Standard Number:
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.
APR 4 1990
Mr. Kurt A. Coburn Manager, Product Group Pentek, Inc. 1026 Fourth Avenue Coraopolis, Pennsylvania 15108
Dear Mr. Coburn:
This is in response to your letter of November 29, 1989 to the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Philadelphia regional office, concerning the Hazardous Waste standard, 29 CFR 1910.120. Your letter was recently forwarded to our office for reply.
According to your letter, your firm offers "services for the cleanup of nuclear and hazardous waste," and to date has engaged "primarily in the removal of contaminated concrete and/or coatings in industrial facilities." First, it is not clear from your letter whether your employees are engaged in emergency response, clean-up operations, or both. As explained below, the standard applies to each situation, and the requirements of the standard differ depending upon which situation applies. Second, assuming it is an emergency response situation, it is also not clear from your letter whether or not the emergency response or post emergency response is actually completed.
You state that your operation "begins only after emergency spill response actions have been taken and post spill recovery actions, including waste removal, have been completed." However, "contaminants remain in the spill area" and your service removes the contaminated surfaces, packages the contaminants, and presents the packages to the facility operator for disposal. The definition of clean-up operation includes the removal, containment, incineration, neutralization, stabilization, and processing or handling "in any other manner" of hazardous substances. Thus, your employees are exposed to nuclear or hazardous waste.
Therefore, it is very likely that the training requirements of 29 C.F.R. 1910.120 would apply. The scope of the standard is outlined in 29 C.F.R. 1910.120(a), and includes clean-up operations at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that are required by governmental bodies, as well as voluntary clean-ups at sites simply recognized by any governmental body as an uncontrolled hazardous waste site. Certain operations and actions regulated by RCRA are also within the coverage of the standard, as are emergency operations for the release of hazardous substances "without regard to the location of the hazard."
If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Patricia K. Clark Director Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs
JAN 8 1990
MEMORANDUM FOR: THOMAS SHEPICH, DIRECTOR
FROM: LINDA R. ANKU REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
SUBJECT: TRAINING UNDER 29 CFR 1910.120 RELATIVE TO WORK OPERATIONS AT PENTEK, INC. CORAPOLIS, PENNSYLVANIA
We have received a letter from Mr. Kurt Colburn, Manager of the products group at Pentek, Inc. in Corapolis, Pennsylvania relative to training requirements for his employee under 1910.120 (if applicable). They break up and remove concrete and cement or industrial coatings which contain or are contaminated with lead, PCB's or radioactive materials.
Since this standard interpretation has national significance we feel that a response from your office is advisable.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. John Barry of my staff at the above address or by telephone FTS: 596-1201.
November 29, 1989
Linda Anku Regional Administrator OSHA Region III U.S. Department of Labor 2100 Gateway Building 3535 Market Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Dear Ms. Anku:
Pentek, Inc. is an engineering consulting firm specializing in products and services for the cleanup of nuclear and hazardous waste. We have been reviewing OSHA regulations in an effort to determine if our activities are regulated under 29 CFR 1910.120 which covers employers and employees engaged in hazardous waste operations. This review indicates that these regulations do not apply to our work. However, we request a ruling on our situation by OSHA to help ensure we are in compliance with the regulations.
To date, Pentek's activities have been limited primarily to the removal of contaminated concrete and/or coatings in industrial facilities. Contaminants have included radioactive isotopes, lead-based paint, and PCBs. Pentek's role in cleanup operations begins only after emergency spill response actions have been taken, and post spill recovery actions, including waste removal, have been completed. Typically, contaminants remain in the spill area only because they have penetrated porous concrete. Pentek's service is limited to the physical removal of the contaminated surface concrete and/or coatings. The waste generated by this operation is collected and packaged by our special vacuum systems, and presented to the facility operator for disposal. Air monitoring, verification of cleanup, and other site management functions are performed by the facility operator.
Our work crews are trained in the proper use of the decontamination tools used in their work, and in standard safety procedures. They are also trained to understand the risks associated with contamination, and learn to use personal protective equipment. Many of our employees have worked in nuclear power plants, and have received certification as radiation workers prior to their assignment to work in a radioactive environment.
Pentek makes every effort to ensure the safety of its workers, and to comply with OSHA regulations. When gray areas exist we normally choose the more conservative option, however, the training requirements of 1910.120 (e) represent a significant investment of resources which we seek to make only if necessary.
I would appreciate an assessment of our current situation with regards to training, and also of whether this would change if we began working at sites designated for cleanup by CERCLA, RCRA, or other authority. Please call me at the above Pittsburgh number so that I can clarify the nature of our work, and discuss training requirements with you directly.
Very truly yours,
Kurt A. Colborn Manager, Product Group