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.

November 19, 1996

Mr. Randy Nicholls, CIH
Employee and Public Safety Dept.
Montana Power Company
40 East Broadway
Butte, Montana 59701

Dear Mr. Nicholls:

This is in response to your inquiry of June 4, addressed to Ms. Joanne Slattery regarding the application of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Process Safety Management Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119 to utility LPG distribution facilities. Please excuse the delay in our response.

We have discussed that subject letter with Ms. Slattery. It appears that there was a misunderstanding on your part. The retail establishments are exempted from 1910.119 because it was determined that the same degree of hazard was not present to employees based on the quantities of the highly hazardous chemicals [Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 36 at 6369]. In fact, the only two examples cited in the attached excerpt of our directive pertain to filling for small containers used for barbecues and units for recreational vehicles.

Further, the exemption in the standard lists the threshold quantities of flammables in terms of 10,000 lbs (in atmospheric tanks that are not chilled). In your case, you have 60,000 gallons under an unknown pressure which allows the distribution of the propane, and that is clearly not exempted from the standard.

I hope this letter and the attached excerpt from our directive will be helpful to you. If you have further questions, please contact Alcmene Haloftis of my staff at 202-219-8031.

Sincerely,



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