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.

March 13, 1991

Mr. Reed T. Warnick
Vice President and General Counsel
Ford, Bacon & Davis Utah, Inc.
Post Office Box 58009
Salt Lake City, Utah 84158-0009

Dear Mr. Warnick:

This is an update to our response to your inquiry of February 12, concerning the application of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (29 CFR 1910.120).

Your specific question is the coverage of employees who design and engineer hazardous waste facilities. Such employees may be at an incinerator on a limited basis in connection with site inspections for purposes of design criteria or operational testing.

Employees who have regular duties in permitted or interim status areas (see 29 CFR 1910.120(a)(iv)) are covered by section (p) of the standard. Other workers who temporarily need to be in these areas may be covered by the emergency response provisions under (q) of the standard if they are in an area where there is a possibility of an emergency resulting from a hazardous substance. The level of training is based on the type of response the employees would be taking (e.g., approximately 4 hours for awareness level training to more than 24 hours for hazmat teams). In addition, other OSHA standards such as the Hazard Communication Standard, may be applicable.

As you may be aware, the state of Utah administers its own occupational safety and health program under the provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. If you wish to contact them the address and telephone number are:

Douglas J. McVey
Utah Occupational Safety and Health
160 East 300 South
P.O. Box 5800
Salt Lake City, Utah 84110-5800

Telephone: (801) 530-6900

We hope this information is helpful.


Gerard Scannell
Assistant Secretary

February 12, 1991

Mr. Gerard Scannell
Assistant Secretary
OSHA - Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

Dear Mr. Scannell:

Ford, Bacon & Davis Utah, Inc. requests a written clarification from your agency on the applicability of 29 CFR 1910.120 to our company operations.

We are an engineering and construction company providing design and engineering services to clients throughout the United States.

The areas of practice for such services include designing and engineering, and sometimes supplying turn-key, material handling, and mineral processing facilities for the mining industry, sulphur removal plants for the hydrocarbon refining industry, power generating facilities, and -- the reason for this letter -- rotary slagging kiln hazardous waste incineration plants. We design and engineer such hazardous waste incineration facilities to meet strict performance and destructibility criteria set forth in Federal and state laws regulating such facilities.

While normally we are designing and engineering new "grass roots" facilities for clients, sometimes we will design and engineer such hazardous waste facilities for a client who is currently a hazardous waste treatment operator. For such an operator we may provide a "replacement system" for an existing system, or a second operating train to expand incineration capacity. Only in these last two cases would our employees come in contact with a hazardous waste site and only then on a very limited basis in connection with site inspections for purposes of design criteria or operational testing.

Given these factual circumstances, as described above, the question is to what extent is our Company subject to the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120?

We conclude that Ford, Bacon & Davis Utah, Inc., so long as it is not an owner/operator of operations involving hazardous waste storage, disposal, and treatment regulated under 40 CFR 264 or 265, and so long as we do not engage in what is termed in the industry "site remediation" study or clean-up work, is not subject to 29 CFR 1910.120. The only way we may be affected by such regulations is when, and to the extent that, an owner/operator of a hazardous waste TSD facility subject to these regulations "informs" us of any "potential fire, explosion, health or other safety hazards of the hazardous waste operation that have been identified..." (29 CFR 1910.120(b)(15)).

Because of some confusion in our industry and with our clients (for example, some clients have requested that our employees demonstrate certification for having completed the 40 hour or 24- hour training program), it is respectfully requested that your agency provide us a written response confirming our understanding and conclusion or advising how we are subject to 29 CFR 1910.120.

Please call me at the telephone number given in the letterhead of this letter if you need or require further information. Thank you for your attention and response.


Reed T. Warnick
Vice President and General Counsel