- 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.
February 19, 1991
Mr. S. C. Burkhammer
Vice President & Manager
Bechtel Construction Company
9801 Washingtonian Boulevard
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878-5356
Dear Mr. Burkhammer:
This is in further response to your letter of December 21, 1990, concerning the application of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926 to "Operating Plant Services".
The proper application of the standards at 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926 depend upon the circumstances at the work site. In most instances, either or both sets of standards can be expected to be applicable to the operations of your company.
OSHA standards are promulgated in two general categories. General standards which may be applicable to any workplace situation are promulgated at 29 CFR 1910. Specific standards promulgated at 29 CFR 1915 through 1919 addresses maritime workplaces exclusively. Additionally, specific standards are promulgated at 29 CFR 1926 and at 29 CFR 1928 to address construction and agricultural workplaces respectively.
The general standards at 29 CFR 1910 are applicable at all workplaces unless specifically prohibited or preempted by a specific standard which is directly related to the ongoing employee activities. Therefore, "Operating Plant Services", as described by your letter, which include functions such as general plant maintenance, plant betterment, refurbishment, and some construction activities, are regulated under those general or specific standards which are most applicable to the circumstances at the workplace. Additionally, under Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employers are obligated to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards which may cause employee death or serious injury even when no standard has been promulgated by OSHA to address the circumstance.
The 29 CFR 1926 standards apply to construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating, as those terms are defined under the Davis-Bacon Act, U.S.C. 276a, which authorizes the Secretary of Labor to set wage standards for federal contracts for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating. Interpretation of the terms "construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating" under Davis-Bacon appear at 29 CFR Part 5. At section 5.2(i), construction building or work does not include manufacturing, furnishing of materials, or servicing and maintenance, but it does include without limitation, buildings, structures and improvements of all types, rehabilitation and reactivation of plants.
OSHA inspection of Bechtel operations which result in the issuance of citations can be anticipated to include primarily the application of 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926 standards. However, maritime and agricultural standards could also become applicable should the workplace circumstances justify their use.
Thank you for your interest in workplace safety and health.
Gerald F. Scannell
December 21, 1990
Mr. Gerald F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20210
For several months now we have been getting questions from our customers on which OSHA standard(s) apply to Operating Plant Services. As you are aware, Bechtel, like many other NCA contractors perform general plant maintenance, plant betterment, refurbishment, and some new construction in operating nuclear generating stations. We perform this work under the General Presidents Maintenance Agreement which the NCA has with the Building and Construction Trades Department.
With the above in mind, could you define for us which standards (1910 or 1926) applies to the type of work we are performing. When we have CSHO'S conduct inspections of these facilities, some utilize 1926, others 1910, and a few cite a combination of both.
Once we receive your interpretation, we can be uniform in our implementation of our safety and health program. Also, Leo Carry could inform his Regional Administrators which standard apply.
Thank you for your assistance and attention in this matter.
BECHTEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
S. C. Burkhammer, Vice President & Manager