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• Publication Date: 03/10/1978
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 43:9887-9888
• Standard Number: 1910.106
• Title: Variance
• Abstract: Variance granted to Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. (3M) from the standards prescribed in 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(vi)(b) concerning storage of flammable and combustible liquids. Effective March 10, 1978, and it shall remain in effect until modified or revoked.


[Federal Register: Friday, March 10, 1978 (Volume 43, Number 48)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9887-8]
From printed Federal Register page via PDF

[V-77-4; V-77-14]

MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO.

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Grant of variance.

SUMMARY: This notice announces the grant of a variance to Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., from the standards prescribed in 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(vi)(b) concerning storage of flammable and combustible liquids.

DATE: The effective date of the variance is March 10, 1978.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

James J. Concannon, Director, Office of Variance Determination, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Third Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3668, Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone 202-523-7121; or the following Regional and Area Offices:
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Building, Room 5010, 1961 Stout Street, Denver, Co. 80294.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Court House Plaza Building, Room 408, 300 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, S.D. 57102.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 911 Walnut Street, Room 3000, Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1150 Grand Avenue, 6th Floor, 12 Grand Building, Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 555 Griffin Square Building, Room 602, Dallas, Tx. 75202.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, American Bank Tower, Suite 310, 221 West 6th Street, Austin, Tx. 78701.

I. Background

Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., Medical Products Division, Brookings Plant, Brookings, S.D. 57006, made application pursuant to section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (84 Stat. 1596; 29 U.S.C. 655) and 29 CFR 1905.11 for a variance, and for an interim order pending a decision on the application for a variance, from the safety standards prescribed in 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(vi)(b). The standard limits the height and gallonage of flammable and combustible liquids stored in warehouses to that permitted in Table H-14. The affected facilities, as requested in two separate variance applications are:

3M Co., Medical Products Division, Brookings Plant, Brookings, S. D. 57006.
3M Co., Decorative Products Division, P.O. Box 327, Nevada, Mo. 64772.
3M Co., Decorative Products Division, P.O. Box 1669, Brownwood, Tx. 76801.

Notices of the applications, and of the granting of interim orders, were published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on March 1, 1977 (42 FR 11920) and on November 1, 1977 (42 FR 57182). The notices invited interested persons, including affected employers and employees to submit written data, views, and arguments regarding the grant or denial of the variance requested. In addition, affected employers and employees were notified of their right to request a hearing on the application for a variance. No written comments or requests for a hearing have been received.

II. Facts

The applicant uses various flammable and combustible liquids in its manufacturing processes. These liquids include methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, hexane, heptane, and xylene. The liquids are stored in 55 gallon drums or portable tanks in warehouse areas and are transported to the mixing or compounding area by forklift truck as needed.

Section 1910.106(d)(5)(vi)(b) sets maximum limits on the number of gallons stored per pile and the height of each pile. In addition, it requires that no container be more than 12 feet from an aisle, that main aisles be at least 8 ft. wide, that side aisles be 4 ft. wide, and that there shall be at least 4 ft. between piles.

The applicant proposes to stack the pallets containing the drums or tanks on racks of shelves rather than directly on top of each other as is done in the piles. This would provide greater stability and would eliminate the danger of piled drums falling. In addition, it would provide greater safety because the weight of each pallet of drums rests on the rack rather than on the drums below it. Each pallet of drums would be adjacent to an aisle rather than up to 12 feet from the aisle as permitted by the standard.

Using rack storage, as described, the applicant proposes to stack its drums and portable tanks of flammable and combustible liquids with the following height limitations rather than those required by the standard:

The total quantity of liquids within a building shall not be restricted but the arrangement of racked storage shall comply with the following table*:

Class Type rack Storage Maximum storage height containers Maximum storage height portable tanks
IA Double or single Ground
Upper
Not permitted.
Do.
25'
15'
IB and IC do Ground
Upper
15'
15'
25'
15"
II do Ground
Upper
Basement
15'
15'
15'
25'
25'
15'
III Multi double/single. Ground
Upper
Basement
15'
15'
15'
40'
20'
20'


* Aisles between racks shall be a minimum of 4 feet wide. Cross aisle requirements shall be in accordance with the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101-1976) for means of egress.

The applicant had originally stated that at the Brookings, S. Dak. facility only about one employee-hour per shift was spent in the warehouse with usually only one employee involved, but occasionally two or three.

At the time the applicant amended its application to include other worksites, it stated that the one employee-hour per shift may not necessarily apply to all its warehouses. Employee occupancy would, however, be kept to a minimum with the warehouses identified as restricted areas and access limited to authorized personnel only.

Employee evacuation time in the warehouses is minimal, ranging from about 5 to about 20 seconds. The employees are instructed in the procedures to follow in the event of a spill or drum rupture. In the event of a fire, the employees are instructed to evacuate immediately. At the Brookings facility they would sound an alarm to call the trained plant emergency squad and the local fire department.

This procedure may vary somewhat at other warehouses depending on the local situations. In all cases the employees would evacuate immediately in the event of a fire.

The Brookings warehouse is protected by an overhead sprinkler system fusible at 286 F and an in-rack system fusible at 165 F. The fire alarm system is a pre-action type and is actuated by either a rate of rise, pneumatic detector or manual actuation at an alarm box. Actuation of the detector or manual pull causes water to enter the sprinkler system, actuating a water flow alarm which sounds locally and at the guard's desk and is transmitted to the local fire department.

The type of fire suppression system or alarm system would also vary from warehouse-to-warehouse depending on the local conditions.

III. Decisions

Section 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(vi)(b) sets the height and gallonage limits for flammable and combustible liquids stored in warehouses to that permitted by Table H-14. This is intended to reduce the amount of fuel for a fire, to avoid damage to containers from excessive weight in piling them, and to avoid hazards associated with unstable piles. This standard addresses only liquids stored in piles, which are generally defined as containers or pallets of containers stacked directly on top of one another.

The applicant proposes to store its flammable and combustible liquids in 55 gallon drums on racks of shelves rather than directly on top of each other in piles. This provides much greater stability in that each shelf is independently supported. This is particularly true in the event of a fire when a burning pallet may collapse causing the drums to fall.

The employee time in the warehouse will be kept to a minimum, with the warehouses identified as restricted areas and access limited to authorized personnel only.

The applicant has described the type of fire suppression system which will be utilized at its Brookings warehouse. However, some of its warehouses are isolated and do not utilize employee fire brigades. In these situations the fire suppression system would only serve for property protection. The protection of employees would be served by a fire detection and audible alarm system with employees directed to evacuate the building immediately in the event of a fire and not to re-enter the area.

However, if an employee fire brigade were to be utilized, a fire suppression system serves to enhance the safety of the fire brigade members by helping to control the fire. An alternative to a fire suppression system would be the storage of a smaller amount of flammable and combustible liquids, as is recognized in Table H-14 of the standard. Therefore, the need for a fire suppression system and/or a limitation of the amount of flammable and combustible liquids stored is recognized for situations in which there would be continued employee involvement after a fire was detected.

Therefore it is determined that, with varying provisions for different situations, the applicant will be providing a place of employment as safe as that which would be obtained by complying with the standard.

IV. Order

Pursuant to authority in section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and in Secretary of Labor's Order No. 8-76 (41 FR 25059), it is ordered that Minnesota mining and Manufacturing Co. be, and it is hereby, authorized to store flammable and combustible liquids on racks to the heights and under the conditions specified below:
  1. The number of employees and employee-hours in the warehouses shall be kept to a minimum (approximately 1-2 employee-hours per shift), with signs posted to restrict access to the warehouses.
  2. All warehouses shall be equipped with a fire detection and audible alarm system.
  3. The height of rack storage shall be restricted to the storage heights listed in the chart above, if there is an employee fire brigade.
  4. Employees shall immediately evacuate the warehouse in the event of a fire.
  5. Any employees involved in fighting the fire shall be properly trained and shall be equipped with personal protective equipment proper to the type of fire fighting anticipated.
  6. Racks shall be constructed so that each pallet of drums is adjacent to an aisle.
  7. Aisles between racks shall be a minimum of four feet wide, and cross aisles shall be in accordance with the Life Safety Code (NFPA101-1976) requirements for means of egress.
  8. If the warehouse is adjacent to areas or buildings normally occupied by employees. storage shall be protected by an in-rack sprinkler system in compliance with NFPA No. 13-1974. The actuation of this system shall activate a local fire alarm signal perceptible above ambient noise or light levels by all employees in the affected portion of the worksite.
  9. When using an industrial power truck to remove pallets of drums from the racks, the load shall not be raised or lowered en route.
  10. Other applicable standards, such as those in § 1910.178, shall be complied with.
As soon as possible Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. shall give notice to affected employees of the terms of this order by the same means required to be used to inform them of the application for variance.

Effective date. This order shall become effective on March 10, 1978. and shall remain in effect until modified or revoked in accordance with section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
(84 Stat. 1596; 29 U.S.C. 655; 29 CFR Part 1905.)

Signed at Washington, D.C. this 7th day of March, 1978.

EULA BINGHAM,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.
(FR Doc. 78-6377 Filed 3-9-78: 8:45 am]



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