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September 4, 1996
Directorate of Compliance Programs
Region IX recently received information from Cal/OSHA concerning a Solvent Distillation Unit manufactured by Framco Environmental Technologies. Apparently a unit, identified as Model SRS-75M, is neither equipped with explosion-proof electrical equipment nor identified as approved for use with flammable liquids. Cal/OSHA has seen this unit used for flammable liquids in California and believes that this may be the case elsewhere. Cal/OSHA believes that Framco has not sufficiently informed the public of the hazards of using this unit with flammable liquids. A copy of the Cal/OSHA Model SRS-75M report is enclosed for your reference.
February 21, 1996
Deputy Chief for Safety and Health
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Ray A. Rooth, Senior Safety Engineer
Research & Standards Development Unit, South
This is in response to the Memorandum dated 10 January 1996 from Jerry Neisler to Tom Hanley regarding the FRAMCO acetone solvent distillation unit which was being used in CAT HARBOR BOATS in Adelanto, California. The unit was yellow tagged by Assistant Safety Engineer Lupe Calderon of the San Bernardino office during a compliance inspection in October 1995. Jerry wanted the R&SD Unit staff to evaluate the SDU.
As directed, I visited the worksite in Adelanto on January 17, 1996, to look at the distillation unit. After meeting with CAT HARBOR BOATS V.P. Michael Horwarth, we looked at the subject FRAMCO SDU, Model SRS-75M, SN 94914, together and discussed the potential for accidental explosion or fire as the Division views it. Mr. Horwarth stated that he could understand our concerns and in fact, after giving it some thought himself, was also concerned over the explosion/fire potential of the unit. He also stated that he did not think it would be economically feasible for him to return the unit to the manufacturer in Sarasota, Florida for retro fitting. He thought that he would probably look to buy an approved unit elsewhere. I took several pictures of the SDU and was provided with a brochure describing the unit and several others available from FRAMCO.
In reviewing the FRAMCO brochure after leaving the site, it was apparent that FRAMCO manufactures at least five models of SDU's varying from 5 to 70 gallon capacity. According to their brochure, three models of the five are explosion proof. The Model 75M, the subject of this Memo, was not one of those listed as explosion proof (see brochure).
On or about January 17, I contacted Underwriter's Laboratories in Santa Clara, California. I was informed that certain members of their staff were heavily involved in the approval process of this type of equipment and that one of those members would get back to me at a later date. On February 15, 1996, I was finally able to discuss this matter with Ms. Kathy Crawford of U.L. Laboratories in Santa Clara, Ph. (408) 985-2400. Ms. Crawford has been working with manufacturers, the fire protection agency and the EPA for the last two years or so in developing a standard for this type of equipment. She indicated that the new standard, UL 2208, would probably be completed about June of this year and that she would send us a copy as soon as it was available.
I asked her what criteria was being used for approving SDU's at the present time. Her response was that the equipment was only being looked at from an explosion proof aspect. In other words, only units which were constructed using Class 1, Division 2 type components would be considered as acceptable. However, she went on to say that she was of the opinion that it was unnecessary for all components on an SDU to be classified for a hazardous location and that UL 2208 may reflect this.
Ms. Crawford indicated that more and more of these units are being used in the manufacturing environment due to problems associated with disposing of used solvents and hence the need for UL 2208. When asked about accidents involving SDU's, her response was that the statistics available to her indicated that, as yet, there were no significant problems.
As I understand it, Jerry Neisler called FRAMCO subsequent to Lupe Calderon's inspection and was told that certain models manufactured by their company were, in fact, approved by a Canadian laboratory. After making several calls I was able to verify that one of the nationally recognized laboratories, Canadian Standards Association ((416) 747-4000) has approved the FRAMCO Models 75XPM and the 175XPM for use in a hazardous location. A third model is in the process of being approved. Apparently, CAT HARBOR BOATS chose to buy one of FRAMCO's cheaper models which was not approved for use in a hazardous location.
There has been some discussion about issuing some type of Hazard Alert or Information Bulletin regarding this matter. Based on the information which I was able to gather, it is my opinion that this is not necessary at the present time. It might not hurt to write a letter to FRAMCO informing them that some of their units not approved for a hazardous location are being used improperly. It may be that their literature is misleading or not as explicit as it should be with regard to this distillation of flammable solvents in certain models. A copy of the FRAMCO letter and this Memo could be sent to all of our District Offices. Please advise.
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March 15, 1996
Mr. Jaques Marquis, Vice President
Framco Environmental Technologies
1856 Apex Road
Eastern Industrial Park
Sarasota, Florida 34240
Re: Equipment Approval for Classified Areas Solvent Distillation Units
Dear Mr. Marquis:
During a recent safety inspection of a boat manufacturing operation in Adelanto, California, it was discovered that one of the solvent distillation units manufactured by Framco was being used to recycle acetone. The unit, which was identified as a Model SRS-75M, was not equipped with explosion-proof electrical equipment nor was it otherwise identified as being approved for use with flammable liquids. Upon examining Framco literature (FRAMSRS194) describing the equipment which was provided by the boat manufacturer, we discovered that your company manufacturers several different models of solvent distillation units. Apparently the Models 75XPM, 175XPM and 550XPM are constructed with NEMA explosion-proof electrical equipment whereas the Models 35M and 75M are not so equipped. Upon contacting several of the nationally recognized laboratories, such as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual and the Canadian Standards Association, we discovered that in order to obtain approval for this type of equipment it must be equipped with Class 1, Division 2 type components. We also were able to verify that the Canadian Standard Association had, in fact, approved three of the Models manufactured by your company, of which the Model SRS-75M was not included.
We are concerned that equipment being sold by your company is being misused. The literature describing the five models of solvent distillers does not specifically identify those which are approved for use with flammable solvents and those which are not. We believe that it is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide the user of the product with clear instruction as to what the limitations of the product are and the "Do's and Don'ts" related to the product.
Our compliance personnel will be instructed to watch for this type of equipment to ensure it is being used in an approved manner. Any assistance provided by Framco in the form of "Special Instructions to Users" or revised brochures would be appreciated. Please advise us as to what action you will be taking.
Frank R. Ciofalo, Ph.D.
January 10, 1996
Reg. Sr. I. H.
On 10 January 1996, I was advised by Lupe Calderon, Assistant Safety Engineer, DOSH-San Bernardino, that the Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) tag was going to be lifted today. She stated that the manufacturer had requested the employer to ship the subject distillation unit back to Florida. The manufacturer allegedly told the employer that the unit could be retrofit to meet intrinsically safe equipment requirements.
I advised Ms. Calderon that I had discussed the equipment with Frank Ciofalo, Deputy Chief, and that he was interested in having Ray Rooth, Senior Safety Engineer, Research and Standards Development (RSD) Unit, DOSH-Anaheim, look at the equipment. I therefore directed that the OPU tag not be lifted until Mr. Rooth has an opportunity to examine the equipment.
Ms. Calderon advised the employer that we were not going to remove the OPU and that our RSD Unit would like to see it.
It appears that the employer may be a little impatient to obtain a new or retrofitted unit and would like to send this unit back to the manufacturer as soon as possible. I would therefore recommend that you contact Dr. Ciofalo and request that he assign Mr. Rooth to this project within the next week. Mr. Rooth is in Sacramento, CA., today and will not be available until either Friday or Monday.
January 4, 1996
Reg. Sr. I.H.
Last week, I had a discussion with Lupe Calderon, Assistant Safety Engineer, DOSH-San Bernardino, regarding a fiberglass boat manufacturer who was using a solvent recovery system for recycling contaminated acetone. The equipment is basically an electrically heated distillation unit which could be used to distill many different types of organic solvents. The unit is manufactured by Framco Environmental Technologies, 1856 Apex Road, Eastern Industrial Park, Sarasota, Florida. The solvent recovery unit in use at the boat facility is designated as model 75m.
Ms. Calderon reported to me that the equipment is electrically operated and did not have an intrinsically safe approval tag affixed to the unit from any Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Ms. Calderon provided me with a copy of the manufacturer's literature which states that the manufacturer makes 5 different models of solvent recovery systems with 3 of their units identified as having "NEMA 7 Explosion Proof Electrical". The literature states that the 75M model is not designated by the manufacturer as having "NEMA 7 Explosion Proof Electrical".
Ms. Calderon was advised by me to issue an Order To Prohibit Use (OPU) for the equipment if there was no evidence on the unit that it had been approved for use per a NRTL. Ms. issued the OPU on 27 December 1995.
On 3 January 1996, Ms. Calderon contacted Michael Conway, a representative of Framco Environmental Technologies via telephone. She discussed the reason that DOSH has issued an OPU for the equipment. Apparently, Mr. Conway was not satisfied with the explanation and requested to speak to her supervisor. Since Chuck Cox, District Manager, DOSH-San Bernardino, was not available, Ms. Calderon suggested that he contact me. Mr. Conway ended the conversation by abruptly hanging up on Ms. Calderon.
On 3 January 1996, I had a telephone conversation with Mr. Conway who stated that all their equipment has been tested and approved by a "Canadian" laboratory and met all requirements. I advised him that there was no label affixed to the unit to indicate that it was approved as intrinsically safe for the distillation of flammable liquids. I further advised him that such equipment would have to be approved by a NRTL that was acceptable to DOSH. I stated that, as a general rule, DOSH would accept a certification/ approval for equipment from a NRTL approved by Federal OSHA.
I advised Mr. Conway that I was not aware if there was a Canadian Testing Laboratory on the Federal OSHA approval list and that he should check into whether his "Canadian" laboratory was on the approved list. I told him that the NRTL's that DOSH was most familiar with involving the testing and approval on intrinsically safe electrical devices were UL, Factory Mutual and/or MSHA.
Mr. Conway told me that his company had thousands of their solvent recovery units in use in California and throughout the United States. He asked me what action would DOSH take if we were to find that the solvent recovery systems, although it met the "Canadian" standards, was being used in California. I advised him that if the solvent recovery system involved the distillation of a flammable substance, did not have a label affixed indicating that it had been approved by a NRTL as an intrinsically safe apparatus, or had not been approved by a NRTL for that purpose, DOSH would issue an OPU.
At that point, Mr. Conway ended our discussion.
I discussed the issue regarding NRTL with Bill Loupe, Regional 3 Senior Safety Engineer and Ray Ruth, Senior Safety Engineer, DOSH-Research and Standards Development Unit DOSH-Anaheim. Mr. Ruth provided me a list of NRTL. I also obtained the most recent edition of NRTL through OCIS.
The current list contains 14 NRTL approved by Federal OSHA. One of those laboratories is the Canadian Standards Association. There is no entry for NRTL that show anything like NEMA. Mr. Loupe and Mr. Ruth indicated that NEMA usually stands for National Electrical Manufacturer's Association and that this organization is not a laboratory which approves devices as being intrinsically safe.
Based on the information provided by Ms. Calderon and from my telephone conversation with Mr. Conway, it would appear that we may have a serious potential for fire and/or explosion hazards related to the use of this manufacturer's unapproved equipment. Since Mr. Conway stated that there are thousands of these solvent recovery systems in California, it would be advisable to alert all DOSH District Offices of the equipment and consider the issuance of a hazard alert to employers who may have such a device. In addition, since Mr. Conway indicated that his company has these units all over the United States, we should consider contacting Federal OSHA and advise of the situation.
If you have any questions, please contact me.