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.

March 10, 2006

Bryan Page
Liberty Northwest
55 West 14th Street, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601

Re: Training requirements for powder-actuated tools under §1926.302(e).

Dear Mr. Page:

This is in response to your letter dated October 3, 2005 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We apologize for the delay in providing this response.

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: To meet the training requirement in 1926.302(e)(1) for use of powder-actuated tools, must the manufacturer's representative conduct the training, or may any competent person provide it?

Answer: Powder-actuated tools used in construction work are governed by 29 CFR 1926.302(e). Section 1926.302(e)(1)
1 requires:

Only employees who have been trained in the operation of the particular tool in use shall be allowed to operate a powder-actuated tool.

This provision does not specify particular qualifications for the person conducting such training. However, to meet the requirement that the employees be "trained in" the tool's operation, as a practical matter, the trainer would need to have both sufficient knowledge regarding the tool and sufficient training ability to successfully convey the information to the employees. Therefore, the standard does not require that the trainer necessarily be the manufacturer's representative.

You refer in your question to a "competent person." That term is defined in 29 CFR 1926.32(f) as follows:

[O]ne who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.



To meet the requirements of §1926.302(e)(1), the trainer need not necessarily meet the criteria of a competent person, since, for example, the trainer would not need to have "authorization to take prompt corrective measures" to eliminate hazards. The trainer would, however, have to be able to identify and explain the hazards associated with use of the tool, and how to safely use the tool and avoid such hazards.

If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction



1 In addition, §1926.21(b)(2), Safety training and education, states:

The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury. [ back to text ]