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.

June 4, 1991

Mr. Jeffery A. Reynolds, CIH
Health and Safety
Ebasco Environmental
160 Chubb Avenue
Lyndhurst, New Jersey 07071-3586

Dear Mr. Reynolds,

This is in response to your letter of May 10, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

Your specific question relates to the scope of the final rule and a specific application concerning boilermakers rebuilding an incinerator in a clean area at a Superfund site. OSHA concurs with your interpretation that 1910.120 does not apply to these workers if there is no potential for exposure to the hazardous substances that are involved in the cleanup process. This requirement can be found in paragraph (a)(1) which reads as follows:

(1) Scope. This section covers the following operations, unless the employer can demonstrate that the operation does not involve employee exposure or the reasonable possibility of employee exposure to safety or health hazards:".

Therefore, it would add strength to your case for an exception if a competent person were to monitor and characterize the area around the incinerator, thereby, demonstrating the no exposure characteristics of the work area. The information that is needed to be gathered is set forth in 29 CFR 1910.120 (c). If the results of the monitoring change the boundaries of the exclusion zone than the site safety and health plan must be modified accordingly. If 1910.120 is not applicable the boilermakers are still covered by other OSHA standards such as the training requirements in 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2). Thus regardless of which standards are applicable, the boilermakers must be capable of performing their job duties in a safe and healthful manner.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at (202) 523-8036.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs