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.

November 28, 1995

Mr. Don L. Hudnall
Industrial Hygienist
Bell Helicopter
Textron Dept. H8, Safety
P.O. Box 482
Fort Worth, TX 76101

Dear Mr. Hudnall:

This is in response to your letter of August 11, regarding your carburization process and the applicability of 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management (PSM) for Highly Hazardous Chemicals. We apologize for the delay in responding to you.

You requested that OSHA review the information provided and respond as to whether the methanol use is the process of carburization is covered by PSM, or if the methanol use is exempt as a hydrocarbon fuel.

You indicated in your letter that methanol is stored in a quantity above the 10,000 pound threshold limit for flammables and is not mixed with another highly hazardous chemical. In your letter, however, it was indicated that during the cracking process, methanol is introduced into the furnace along with propane which is a flammable material.

Therefore, there are two parameters that render your process to be covered by 1910.119. The first is the fact that methanol is not used as a workplace fuel, and it is stored in quantities above 10,000 pounds. Second, the methanol undergoes a cracking process involving the use of propane which is a highly hazardous material, and therefore, would not qualify to be excepted under 1910.119(a)(1)(ii)(A).

Further, a third parameter may render your process to be covered. Although it is not clear from your letter if the methanol is stored in atmospheric tanks, it is likely that the storage tanks are not atmospheric, and therefore, the exception under 1910.119(a)(1)(ii)(B) may not be applicable to your process.

Thank you for your inquiry. If you need further assistance, please contact Alcmene Haloftis of my staff at 202-219-8031.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs