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.

May 14, 1996

Mr. Stephen H. Jero
Manager of Product Testing
Research Products Corporation
P.O. Box 1467
Madison, Wisconsin 53701-1467

Dear Mr. Jero:

Thank you for your letter of April 12 requesting a written interpretation for questions related to compliance with NFPA 33 (1995 edition). You inquired as to whether compliance with NFPA 33 offered "equal or greater employee protection" and if a company would be cited if they comply with NFPA 33.

To address your first concern, OSHA's policy is that compliance with NFPA 33(1995 edition) offers at least "equal" employee protection in areas specifically addressed in that document. As for your second concern, we are unable to give this type of generic interpretation of compliance. A compliance officer will deal with such compliance issues on a case-by-case basis to completely evaluate the specific and unique circumstances in order to verify whether employees are being provided equal or greater protection.

An employer who complies with a consensus standard, such as NFPA-33, rather than an OSHA standard in effect at the time of inspection and clearly provides equal or greater employee protection will not be cited (OSHA's De Minimis policy, OSHA Instruction 2.103, September 26, 1994, Field Instruction Reference Manual, Chapter III-19 and 20, attached).

We hope that this interpretation is useful to you. Should you need further assistance, please contact Margo Daniel, of my staff, at (202)219-8041, extension #107. Thank you for your interest in safety and health.

Sincerely,



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




April 4, 1996

Ms. Margo Daniel
Compliance Programs
OSHA
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Ms. Daniel:

Please find two letters following this cover letter.

The first letter is addressed to Mr. Michael K. Haufe of Columbus Industries and is signed by John B. Miles. The second letter is written for general distribution by T. Wayne Vickers of Columbus Industries.

As we discussed on the phone today, myself and two other employees of Research Products would like to participate in a conference call with you to discuss these letters and how they relate to NPPA Standard 33 (Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials, 1995 Edition).

I hope we may be able to do the conference call this afternoon. If not, the soonest time would be appreciated.

Sincerely,



Steven H. Jero
Manager of Product Testing




March 28, 1996

Dear Distributor/Partner,

There are two key points about competition that we need to bring to your attention.

We have received comments from customers that our competitor in expanded Paint Collectors have been quoting some low prices. We have encountered product that is a non UL product, that may have one less layer of expanded and a front layer with an alternating diamond pattern which is very similar to our high capacity/large diamond. If you encounter price competition please try to secure as much information as possible so we can help with engineering and total support.

Next is the issue of NFPA and OSHA 1910.107. OSHA states, per the enclosed letter dated March 15, 1996, that any employer providing compliance to "a consensus standard rather than a standard in effect at the time of inspection and clearly provides equal or greater employee protection will not be cited". A product without UL approval does not provide "equal or greater employee protection" and is open to inspector interpretation. Please use this to your advantage.

Also enclosed is a letter from our competitor showing this change and the inference that they are trying to "hold the line on pricing", as well as a copy of their former ("with UL") and current ("without UL") packaging.

Sincerely,

COLUMBUS INDUSTRIES, INC.



T. Wayne Vickers
President - Distribution Products Division




March 15, 1996

Mr. Michael K. Haufe, P.E.
Technical Director
Distributions Products Division
Columbus Industries , Inc.
P.O. Box 257
2938 State Route 752
Ashville, Ohio 43103-0257

Dear Mr. Haufe:

Thank you for your letter of February 6 regarding spray finishing as covered under 29 CFR 1910.107. Your question related to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) possible future updating of 1910.107(b)(5)(vi) and what the agency's interim enforcement policy will be until such an updated standard is promulgated.

OSHA does not have any immediate plans to change or amend 1910.107 to reflect the newly revised NFPA-33 standard for spray application using flammable or combustible materials. Until such an amendment to the OSHA standard is made, however an employer who complies with a consensus standard rather than a standard in effect at the time of inspection and clearly provides equal or greater employee protection will not be cited. (OSHA's De Minimis policy, OSHA Instruction 2.103, September 26, 1994, Field Inspection Reference Manual, Chapter III-19 and 20.

Furthermore, an employer choosing to comply with the NFPA 33 standard must comply with all relevant sections of Chapter 3, Sections 3-6 of this standard specifically allow for the use of dry overspray collection filters.

Thank you for your interest in safety and health. If we can be of any further assistance, please call Margo Daniel, of my staff, at (202) 219-8041, Ext. 107.



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