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• Publication Date: 09/24/1991
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 56:48133
• Standard Number: 1910.119
• Title: Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, Notice of John Gray Institute Report on Contractors, and Request for Comments

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

(Docket S-026)

RIN 1218-AB20

Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of availability of the John Gray Institute report on contractors and peer reviews of the report; reopening of the record to reexamine the issue of contractors in light of the study; and request for comments.

SUMMARY: This document announces the availability of a study conducted by the John Gray Institute of Lamar University (John Gray report) concerning the use of contractors in the petrochemical industry and invites the public to reexamine, in light of this study, the contractor provisions contained in the proposed standard for Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (Process Safety Management standard), published on July 17, 1990 (55 FR 29150). OSHA wants to assure that safety issues surrounding contractor employees who are exposed or may expose site employees to potentially catastrophic events are thoroughly addressed in the final Process Safety Management standard. The John Gray report addresses various aspects of this issue and may be pertinent to the proposed standard.

DATE: Comments must be postmarked by October 24, 1991.

ADDRESSES: JOHN GRAY REPORT. The John Gray report, "Managing Worker Safety and Health: The Case of Contract Labor in the U.S. Petrochemical Industry," as well as the peer reviews of the report, are available upon request from the Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, N2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone (202) 523- 7894.

COMMENTS. Comments on the John Gray report and the contractor provisions contained in the proposed Process Safety Management standard should be submitted in quadruplicate to the Docket Office, Docket S-026, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, N2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. James F. Foster, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3637, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, (202)523-8151.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. BACKGROUND

On October 23, 1989, catastrophic explosions and fires occurred at the Phillips 66 Company's Houston Chemical Complex resulting in 23 deaths and more than 130 injuries. The issue of contractors at the workplace surfaced since a contractor had been working in the vicinity of the release.

OSHA's growing experience with the petrochemical industry indicated that a significant number of companies in this industry were using contractors to perform regular maintenance, repairs, construction, and renovation. The Agency determined that more information was needed about the extent to which contract work might affect workplace safety.

OSHA asked the John Gray Institute to conduct a study of safety and health issues as they relate to contract work in the petrochemical industry. The Institute was guided on the methodology and approach for the study by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from labor, management and academia.

The John Gray Institute report examined such factors as the extent of industry reliance upon contract employees; the nature of work performed by contractors; the role of safety records in contractor selection; the training provided to employees and the supervision accorded to safety and health compliance for contract operations as compared with that for company operations; and injury/illness recordkeeping.

On July 17, 1990, OSHA published in the FEDERAL REGISTER (55 FR 29150) its notice of proposed rulemaking concerning Process Safety Management. The proposed standard contained specific provisions concerning contractors. The text reads as follows:

(h) Contractors. (1) The employer shall inform contractors performing work on, or near, a process of the known potential fire, explosion or toxic release hazards related to the contractor's work and the process, and ensure that contract employees are trained in the work practices necessary to safely perform their job. The employer shall also inform contractors of any applicable safety rules of the facility.

(2) The employer shall explain to contractors the applicable provisions of the emergency action plan required by paragraph (n) of this section.

(3) Contract employers shall assure that each of their employees follow all applicable work practices and safety rules of the facility. (55 FR 29164-29165)

OSHA has received significant input on these contractor provisions during the rulemaking on the Process Safety Management standard and this information will be thoroughly considered in the development of the final provisions.

II. AGENCY ACTION

Since the John Gray report contains information that may be relevant to the contractor provisions of the proposal, the Agency is reopening the record to receive the report and to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the report. Therefore, OSHA invites interested persons to comment on the John Gray report particularly focusing comments on how the report should influence the Process Safety Management proposal.

Also, because this study may be an important factor in the development of safety requirements for contractors, OSHA believed that it was appropriate for the study to undergo a peer review to ensure the reliability of the study and its findings. These peer reviews are also available in the Docket Office.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on the John Gray report and how it should affect the July 17, 1990, PSM proposal. Comments must be postmarked by (Insert date 30 days from date of publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER). Four copies of comments must be submitted to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket S-026, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, N2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. The telephone number of the Docket Office is (202)523-7894, and its hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Comments limited to 10 pages or less may also be transmitted by facsimile to (202)523-5046, provided that the original and four copies of the comment are subsequently sent to the Docket Office.

All materials submitted will be available for inspection and copying at this address. All submissions will become a part of the record developed for the process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals rulemaking.

The contractor provisions will be reviewed in light of all submissions received. Decisions on the contractor provisions will be made by the Assistant Secretary based on the entire record of the proceeding.

AUTHORITY

This document has been prepared under the direction of Gerard F. Scannell, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.

It is issued under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033); and 29 CFR part 1911.

Signed at Washington, D.C., on this 19th day of September, 1991.

Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary of Labor


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