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.

May 16, 1997

Mr. Henry Renfrew
Compliance and Response Management, Inc.
1842 Meriden-Waterbury Road
Milldale, CT 06467-0794

Dear Mr. Renfrew:

This is in response to your letter of September 25, 1996, regarding the applicability of 29 CFR 1910.119 to public displays of flame effects. Please excuse the delay in our response.

Based on the information that you have provided in your letter, and the exceptions that you noted, it appears that 29 CFR 1910.119 does not apply to the public display of flame effect systems. Please note, however, that if the flame-effect-systems operation takes place within a close proximity to a covered process under 1910.119, then the flame-effects-system operation would also be covered by 1910.119.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. 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



May 14, 1997

TO:         Alcmene Haloftis
            OSHA Compliance Programs
            N3107 F-022
            Washington, D.C.  20210

FROM:       Henry Renfrew
            Compliance and Response Management, Inc.
            PO Box 794
            Milldale, CT 06467-0794

I hope you received the copy of the Draft NFPA 160 Flame Effect Standard and a copy of the NFPA Technical Committee on Special Effects membership list.

Regarding the OSHA letter received - what I am saying is the following recommendation:

flame effects systems (pyrotechnics) - Please note, however, that if the pyrotechnics flame effects system operations takes place .....

I am sorry for the confusion regarding pyrotechnic systems Vs. flame effects systems. I was simply using pyrotechnics as an example of another exception because the two systems are often at the same location.

Again, I will not distribute your May 8th letter until I hear from you.

Attached below is the text of my original letter with No Reference to pyrotechnics.

Subject: Public Displays of Flame Effects; PSM Standard 1910.119

The purpose of this letter is to request clarification on whether the Process Safety Management (PSM) of Highly Hazardous Chemicals Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119 applies to the public display of flame effect systems.

For the purposes of this letter, the public display of flame effect systems are one or more visible or sensory flame producing effects used for entertainment purposes at theme parks, concerts, shows or theatrical, musical or other performing arts productions before an audience. The basic components of a flame effect system are piping, valves (manual and automatically controlled), ignition method, and sometimes storage vessels. The flame effects are located outdoors or indoors in areas frequented by the public. These flame effects may be fueled by natural gas, propane, or other flammable gas or liquid hydrocarbon fuels. The flame effect may be installed and attached permanently to a hydrocarbon fuel supply such as a natural gas distribution piping system or a propane storage container(s), or be portable in nature and moved/transported to various locations and attached to a permanent or portable fuel supply before use during a specific period of entertainment. The flammable gases or liquids in use may be connected to storage or pipeline containing quantities in excess of 10,000 pound (4535.9 kg) such as theme park permanently installed flame effects at attractions. Use of the flame effect results in a consumption of the fuel at the workplace or on site and are dedicated systems not a part of any other system or process.

To further support an exception from the standard, in section (a)(1)(ii)(A), a process involving a flammable liquid or gas in a quantity of 10,000 pounds or more which is a hydrocarbon fuel (natural gas, propane or gasoline) "used solely for workplace consumption as a fuel, if such fuels are not a part of the a process containing another highly hazardous chemical covered by this standard" are not subject to the requirements of the PSM Standard. The flame effects use hydrocarbon fuels which are consumed at the workplace, site or attraction and such flame effect systems are not connected to any other systems or processes.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is currently developing a new NFPA standard entitled "Standard for Flame Special Effects" #160.

As the use of flame effect systems continues to grow within the entertainment industry (SICSs 7922, 7929, and 7996, for example), concern has risen within the industry concerning the applicability of PSM to these systems.

In closing, the question to be answered is Are flame effects systems used for public display subject to the PSM Standard and/or a process as defined with the standard.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration on this matter and I await your reply. If you have any questions, please EMAIL me at hrenfrew@snet.net; phone 860-276-1919 or fax 860-620-0071.


Henry Renfrew