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.

August 30, 2006

Mr. Hale Williams
Vice President
Safe Shop Tools
P.O. Box 4206
Missoula, MT 59806

Dear Mr. Willams:

This letter is in response to your request of October 26, 2005, addressed to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine (DSTM), for clarification of OSHA's response to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), dated April 28, 2005. This response addressed use of the BoaGrip™ sling
1 to move compressed-gas cylinders in general industry settings. DSTM has referred your letter to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs. Your paraphrased scenario and question, and our response, are provided below.

Scenario: You assert that it is difficult to comply with both the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) standards at 49 CFR parts 174 and 177 and OSHA's standard at 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(A) because the DOT standards require that compressed-gas cylinders be sotred in a limited space, which makes it difficult to lift the cylinders from small- to medium-sized service trucks using the equipment specified by the OSHA standard; as a result, employees must lift the cylinders manually, which exposed them to ergonomic and impact hazards.

Question: To avoid the apparent conflict between the DOT and OSHA standards, would OSHA permit use of the BoaGrip™ sling to prevent exposure of employee to the ergonomic and impact hazards associated with manually lifting gas cylinders from small- to medium-sized service trucks?

Response: After reviewing the DOT and OSHA standards you identify in your letter, we find no conflict between them. The DOT standard at 49 CFR part 177.840(a)(1), which governs service trucks transporting cylinder containing Class 2 gases performance based. Accordingly, this provision requires only that compressed-gas cylinders be "securely restrained in an upright or horizontal position, loaded in racks, or packed in boxes or crates to prevent the cylinders from being shifted, overturned or ejected from the motor vehicle under normal transportation conditions." The need to manually life compressed-gas cylinders from the cylinder carrying areas of service trucks is the result of truck-bed design. To reduce the need for manual lifting, manufacturers could redesign the truck beds. In this regard, OSHA does not prohibit manually lifting gas cylinders, provided the lifting is performed safely. However, employers must not allow employees to use the BoaGrip™ sling to lift compressed-gas cylinders from the cylinder-carrying areas because such use would be a violation of 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(A).

Note also that BNSF's variance request only addressed 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(A), which specifies the requirements for moving compressed-gas cylinders safely during welding operations. Accordingly, OSHA's response to BNSF would not necessarily apply to the safe movement of compressed-gas cylinders during non-welding operations, which are covered by 29 CFR 1910.101(b).

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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
www.osha.gov. if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

 

 


1 Mention of a product's name is not be construed as approval or endorsement of that product by OSHA, including any use, practice, or procedure associated with the product. [ back to text ]