- 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.
September 5, 1995
Mr. Richard Hayes, President
Hayes Environmental Services, Inc.
5727 Airport Highway, Suite A
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Dear Mr. Hayes:
This letter is in response to your questions concerning shower requirements for the Lead in Construction Standard and the acceptance of Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved safety cans on construction and general industry sites. Your letter raised the following questions which are addressed below:
Showers and the Lead in Construction Standard:
1. Are showers always feasible in OSHA's view?
OSHA does not consider showers as being feasible on every lead abatement construction job site. The lead standard for construction under 29 CFR 1926.62(i)(3)(i) and (ii) states the following:
(i) "The employer shall provide shower facilities, where feasible, for use by employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the PEL."
(ii) "The employer shall assure, where shower facilities are available, that employees shower at the end of the work shift and shall provide an adequate supply of cleansing products and towels for use by affected employees."
2. When are they not feasible and what are some of the scenarios where feasibility is a possibility?
Without knowing the specifics of a particular job site we cannot say or determine whether or not the installation of a shower facility is or is not feasible. On a lead abatement construction site it is OSHA's policy that the compliance officer determine the feasibility of shower facilities on a case-by-case basis using factors including, but not limited to; the location, availability of an acceptable water supply, weather conditions, and duration of the job.
3. Do showers have to be in the immediate area of the operation and if not how close is reasonable?
Again this would be evaluated and determined by the compliance officer on a case by case basis. OSHA recognizes that it may not be possible to install a shower at the job site. In some cases, showers can only be installed some distance away from where the work is being conducted. In evaluating whether or not the company has met the standard, the compliance officer would consider such factors as, but not limited to the following:
1. Did exposed workers use double sets of protective clothing where the outer set is removed and disposed of?
2. Did the employees vacuum off their clothing following completion of work?
3. Did exposed workers wash their hands and face at a portable washing facility?
4. Where was the employee's street clothing stored?
5. What did the exposed workers do between the time when they finished the job and when they took their shower?
UL Approved Gasoline Cans:
Your last two questions involve whether or not OSHA has evaluated the safety of plastic safety cans for gasoline and if the plastic cans are acceptable, would they be allowed in construction and general industry?
In General Industry, 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2) requires particular containers used for storage of flammable liquids to be approved. Approved plastic safety cans have been accepted in construction (see enclosed memorandum to Mr. Gilbert Saulter) since July of 1989. OSHA is in the process of reviewing all standards to determine whether particular standards need revising, revoking, or clarification. Standards which require approved plastic and metal safety cans for both general industry and construction is currently undergoing this review process.
If you have any further questions please contact Richard Fairfax of my staff at (202) 219-8036 for the lead related questions and the Office of Construction and Maritime at (202) 219-8136 for additional information or questions on gasoline cans. Thank you for your interest in occupational health and safety.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
Mr. Roger Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs
Room N 3647
200 Constitution Ave. NW.
Washington DC 20210
May 17, 1995
RE: Request for Interpretation of Lead Standards Shower Requirement Feasibility and Acceptance of Plastic UL Approved Gasoline Safety Cans on construction sites
Under the lead standard there are numerous references regarding providing showers at bridge job sites where lead is being removed. On work sites where sand blasting is being performed, oftentimes the blasting locations are next to or over multi-lane roads, rivers and other structures that have no room to install showers except for the median strip or at other locations away from the work area.
In Ohio, the Ohio Dept. of Transportation does not permit any type of equipment to be located in the median strips for obvious reasons such as auto collisions. The sand blasting and painting companies must either locate the showers several miles down the road or provide for other facilities that are closer such as showers in a motel room.
Assuming employees are wearing double sets of Tyvecs, which are removed in a dirty/clean change room trailer, and the employees have satisfied personal hygiene hand and face cleanup by portable washing facilities, it would appear that shower feasibility becomes an issue when compared to driving a shorter distance to a motel room if the portable shower location is several miles away. The Preamble to the Lead Standard does not clearly interpret the feasibility issue in regard to the above scenario and many other similar instances where shower feasibility becomes a reality. In fact the Preamble leaves the feasibility issue up to the contractor which is generally opposite of the subjective interpretation of most OSHA compliance officers.
Question 1: Are showers always feasible in OSHA's view?
Question 2: When are they not feasible and what are some scenarios where feasibility is a possibility?
Question 3: Do showers have to be in the immediate area of the operation and if not how close is reasonable?
Regarding UL Approved Gasoline Safety Cans, there are published NFPA documents indicating plastic UL approved safety cans made of modern materials are more durable and perhaps safer than metal cans or at least provide the same if not better protection for containing flammable and combustible liquids. I assume the standards in 1926 and 1910 have not been re-visited since the advent of modern plastic materials regarding safety cans.
Question 1. Has OSHA evaluated the safety provisions of plastic safety cans and if so are test results available?
Question 2. Assuming all of the criteria for safety can design is met except for metal v. non-metal, are plastic containers acceptable in General Industry?
Thank you in advance for your timely response to these questions.