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.

December 9, 1998

Mr. Richard Runyon
Senior Executive Consultant
SCIENTECH, Inc.
1303 South Central Ave., Suite 202
Kent, Washington 98032

Dear Mr. Runyon:

This is response to your letter of March 31, 1998 requesting interpretation of OSHA's standard 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals; Explosives and Blasting Agents (PSM). Specifically, your inquiry was related to PSM coverage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. Your inquiry follows:

Question: Is OSHA precluded from enforcing the PSM standard at LNG facilities used in the transportation of LNG by pipeline which are subject to pipeline safety laws (49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.) and Parts 192 and 193 of 49 CFR Chapter I and enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT), Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS)?

Response: As you noted, OSHA previously issued a letter of interpretation related to natural gas distribution and transmission facilities (enclosed) on October 30, 1992 from Dorothy L. Strunk, Acting Assistant Secretary to Michael Baly, III. This interpretation stated, "OSHA has concluded that current OPS regulations address the hazards of fire and explosion in the gas distribution and transmission process. Accordingly, OSHA has determined that the agency is precluded from enforcing the PSM rule over the working conditions associated with those hazards."

Additionally, DOT standards at 49 CFR Part 193, which cover LNG facilities used in the transportation of gas, define LNG to include natural gas which has been liquefied. 49 CFR Part 192 also covers pipeline facilities and the transportation of gas and defines gas to include natural gas. Consequently, OSHA's previous interpretation on natural gas distribution and transmission facilities would include LNG distribution and transmission facilities which are under the jurisdiction of the OPS. As with the natural gas distribution and transmission processes, OSHA has determined that current OPS regulations address the hazards of fire and explosion in the LNG distribution and transmission processes. Therefore, OSHA is precluded from enforcing the PSM standard over working conditions associated with those hazards.

As with the previous interpretation on natural gas, this interpretation on LNG only addresses the applicability of the PSM standard to the LNG transmission and distribution processes; it does not address the applicability of OSHA standards other than PSM, or the applicability of OSHA requirements to operations other than those described above. In other words, natural gas and LNG processing facilities are subject to OSHA coverage, notwithstanding this interpretation. Additionally, employers not subject to particular OPS requirements remain fully subject to OSHA requirements including the PSM standard.

If you have any questions please contact Mike Marshall of my staff at 202-219-8118 ext. 12.

Sincerely,

Richard Fairfax, Director