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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.
March 31, 2011
Mr. Kenny Jordan
The Association of Energy Service Companies
14531 FM 529, Suite 250
Houston, TX 77095
Dear Mr. Jordan:
Thank you for your December 16, 2010, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This letter was a follow-up to the August 16th, 2010 meeting held at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC, between OSHA, you and several other individuals representing oil and gas upstream associations. During the meeting, we discussed the use of flame resistant clothing (FRC) in oil and gas well drilling, well servicing, and production-related operations.
On March 19, 2010 OSHA issued a memorandum entitled, "Enforcement Policy for Flame-Resistant Clothing in Oil and Gas Drilling, Well Servicing, and Production-Related Operations." A copy of that memorandum is attached. 2010 Memo
Please note that this document sets forth OSHA's position that FRC, which includes both flame-resistant and flame-retardant treated clothing, is necessary in certain applications associated with oil and gas well drilling, servicing, and production-related operations to protect employees from flash fire hazards. It also provides guidance on the issuance of citations for non-compliance with the policy. Additionally, an OSHA Letter of Interpretation . (LOI - attached) provides further guidance to employers on the use of comprehensive and robust hazard analyses or other methods to determine the need for FRC to control flash fire hazards. This LOI provides information on the relevant factors employers should consider when conducting these hazard analyses.
This policy is in full effect, and has been since March 19, 2010. Employers are expected to be in full compliance with the requirements set forth in the attached document. FRC has been utilized world-wide in many industries including Steel, Oil Refineries, and Chemical plants for years. OSHA has not granted a waiver from compliance due to short supply of FRC. If employers are experiencing difficulty acquiring the necessary FRC due to issues such as order backlogs or extended delivery dates, OSHA will work with employees to resolve compliance issues related to these situations. To resolve these type situations, OSHA expects employers will: 1) have contacted their suppliers and placed orders for FRC; 2) be able to demonstrate that the FRC are on back order or are in the process of being delivered; and 3) when requested, provide the Agency with evidence of the date when FRC are to be delivered and 4) provide and use appropriate interim measures to protect workers.
We sincerely hope this provides clarification on this important safety issue.
It is important to the safety of workers in your industry that OSHA continues to receive input from you and your associates and we look forward to continuing to work with you. If you have any questions related to the above, call me or my Deputy, Patrick Kapust at (202) 693-2100.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Enclosure (RA Memo and IADC LOI)
 OSHA Letter of Interpretation: Clarification of term "Active Hydrocarbon Zone" as it relates to the oil and gas well drilling operations; and the need to use FRC when performing drilling operations.[1910.132; 1910.132(a); 1910.106; 1910.119]; International Association of Drilling Contractors; October 19, 2010; Drilling Contractors