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 http://www.osha.gov.

December 16, 1991

 

MEMORANDUM FOR:     BRUCE HILLENBRAND, DIRECTOR
                   DIRECTORATE OF FEDERAL-STATE OPERATIONS

ATTENTION:          BARBARA BRYANT, DIRECTOR
                   OFFICE OF STATE PROGRAMS

FROM:               PATRICIA CLARK, DIRECTOR
                   DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS

SUBJECT:            Washington's Response to Federal Program Change (CPL 2-2.51)

As per your request, the following is a discussion of the differences between Washington State's WRD 91-1 and Federal OSHA's CPL 2-2.51:

The most obvious difference between the Federal OSHA directive and the Washington State directive regarding "Post Emergency Response Operations" under HAZWOPER is the number of minimum training hours for employees who are at low risk at an oil spill clean up operation. Federal OSHA requires a minimum of 4 hours, whereas Washington state requires an 8 hour minimum.

This difference in minimum allowable training time is not as inconsistent as it may appear. These are minimum requirements; industries will find it difficult to cover all topics listed in the training requirements in the minimum allowable time. The "competencies" to be covered during the Federal OSHA training sessions will probably require more than 4 hours, and the "mandatory requirements" to be covered for the Washington State training sessions will probably demand more than 8 hours.

Washington State specifies who low risk employees are and includes a list of what they should be trained to do. The directive gives examples of low risk activities (general beach scrubbing, on-site wildlife handling, etc.) and supplies "mandatory requirements" to be covered during training for oil spill clean up.

Federal OSHA takes a less direct approach to ensure that employees who are trained to at least the 4 hour minimum are performing low risk tasks, and are trained to meet HAZWOPER's competencies. CPL 2-2.51 states that the Regional Response Team Representative is responsible for "making assessments when fewer than 24 hours of training is required."

Washington State also requires worst case area air monitoring samples to meet an "allowance criteria." All other allowance criteria is similar or identical to the de minimis criteria listed in Federal OSHA's directive.