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• Publication Date: 06/07/1994
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 59:29440-29444
• Standard Number: 1910.106
• Title: Envirosafe Services, Inc.
• Abstract: Variance granted to Envirosafe Services, Inc. from the standard that prescribes procedures to be used in draining and flushing combustible/flammable liquids, 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f). The effective date of the variance is June 7, 1994, and it shall remain in effect unless modified or revoked.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[V-93-1]

Envirosafe Services, Inc.; Variance Applications, etc.

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

ACTION: Grant of Variance.

SUMMARY: This notice announces the grant of a permanent variance to Envirosafe Services, Inc. from the standard that prescribes procedures to be used in draining and flushing combustible/flammable liquids (29 CFR 1910.106[b][2][viii][f]).

DATES: The effective date of the variance is June 7, 1994.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hank Woodcock, Acting Director, Office of Variance Determination, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, Telephone: (202) 219-7065

or the following OSHA Regional and Area Offices:

U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA, 1111 Third Avenue, suite 715, Seattle,

Washington, 98101-3212 U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA, 3050 N. Lakeharbor Lane, suite 134, Boise, Idaho 83703.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Envirosafe Services, Inc. (i.e., "Envirosafe" or "applicant"), 200 Welsh Road, Horsham, Pennsylvania 19044, has made application pursuant to section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The address of the place of employment affected by this application is:

Envirosafe Services of Idaho, Inc., Highway # 78, Missile Base Road, Grand View, Idaho 83624.

Envirosafe states that its employees are being provided with employment and a place of employment as safe and healthful as required by 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f) (i.e., "the standard"), which specifies the procedures to be used in draining and flushing combustible and flammable liquids; Envirosafe, therefore, requests a permanent variance from this standard under 29 U.S.C. 655 and 29 CFR 1905.11.

The Federal Register notice of September 28, 1993 (58 FR 50568) informed the public that OSHA has received the applicant's variance application. This notice invited interested persons, including affected employers and employees, to submit written comments, data, views and arguments regarding the variance requested. In addition, affected employers and employees were notified of their right to request a hearing on the variance application. No comments or requests for a hearing were received in response to this notification.

II. Facts

The applicant operates a commercial storage and chemical-waste landfill facility for disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Transformers and other articles containing PCBs received at the facility must be drained and flushed, and the flushed liquid placed into storage tanks. According to the applicant, two of its employees drain transformers containing PCB-contaminated oil into one of the two 10,000-gallon outside tanks. The transformers then are filled with diesel fuel and allowed to sit approximately 18 hours. The diesel fuel subsequently is drained into one of the two outside tanks previously mentioned. It is during this draining and flushing operation that the filling and emptying connections controlled under the subject standard are made and broken. These draining and flushing operations occur within the processing and storage building, as opposed to outside the building as required by the standard. As a result of these draining and flushing operations, a conflict exists between OSHA's requirement 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(viii)(f) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements specified under 40 CFR 761.65(b)(1) concerning the draining and flushing of combustible/flammable liquids. Specifically, the EPA requires that processing and storage facilities for PCBs be located inside enclosed structures to avoid exposure to weather, with specially-designed steel floors to properly drain spills, while OSHA requires that transfer of combustible/flammable liquids-diesel fuel in this case-be accomplished outside enclosed structures.

Outside storage tanks used to store the flushed liquid are provided with a continuously-welded steel secondary containment unit that is 30 feet in diameter and 3 feet, 6 inches high. The tanks also are placed on 2-inch x 1/14-inch heavy-duty welded steel grating to allow immediate identification of any leaks from the tank bottom. The secondary containment structure has the capacity to hold 100 percent of the volume of the largest tank within its perimeter plus the volume of water that would be added from a 24-hour rainfall totalling 1.75 inches.

Auxiliary equipment (e.g., pumps and pipelines systems serving the tanks) also is above ground and subject to daily visual inspections. All pumps and disconnect units are within the processing/storage building (the "processing building"), which has a welded steel floor for containment.

For security purposes, the facility is located within a fenced, controlled area. The main entry gate to the facility is open during operating hours; during these hours, a security officer is posted at this gate to preclude unauthorized entry. During nonoperating hours, the main entry gate is locked and a security officer is posted at this gate; this security officer also makes periodic patrols of the facility during nonoperating hours. The remaining six gates to the facility are normally locked with a key lock during both operating and nonoperating hours; keys to these locks are contained in a sealed (i.e., "break") box next to each of these gates. During emergency events (e.g., fire or explosion), evacuees will break the seals to these boxes, remove the keys, and unlock the gates to effect emergency egress from the facility. Access to the tank area is controlled, and only authorized personnel are permitted to enter the area. The tanks (including tank valves and connections), associated equipment building, and surrounding area are inspected by designated inspector/supervisors for spills, structural integrity/damage, proper grounding, the presence of sparks and open flames/other ignition sources, accessibility and proper space segregation between tanks, and notation of liquids in the tanks; these inspection procedures are required as part of the facility's Operating Permit issued by the EPA. These inspections are conducted daily during regular operating periods.

Instead of complying with the standard, the applicant contends that specific safety procedures and engineering provisions used during the draining and flushing operations will provide protection equal to, or better than, the standard. These procedures and provisions are discussed below.

1. Operators are supervised during the transfer of PCBs or ignitable materials.

2. Waste-handling (i.e., draining and flushing) areas are clearly marked with warning signs and routinely inspected (at least once daily during regular operating periods) by designated inspectors/supervisors to assure that hazardous concentrations of vapors generated by combustible/flammable liquids are not permitted to accumulate in a waste-handling area when ignition sources are present. No meters are used to monitor diesel fuel vapors in waste-handling areas because the vapor pressure of diesel fuel (i.e., 0.4 mm Hg @ 68 deg.F) is too low to register on commercially-available gas meters or the photometric meters (i.e., HNu units) used normally to monitor volatile vapors.

3. Smoking is prohibited inside the processing building.

4. Hot work permits are required prior to any activity that may generate a source of ignition. Draining and flushing operations do not take place when a work permit is issued for repairs in the processing area.

5. During loading/unloading operations, transportation vehicles containing ignitable substances are secured to prevent movement, and grounded to reduce the potential for static discharge.

6. No ignitable wastes are processed in uncontrolled areas.

7. All pumps, hoses, and connections are checked by system operators for leaks and ruptures prior to operation, and at least once daily during regular operating hours by designated inspectors/supervisors.

8. Direct ventilation is provided during these draining and flushing operations by a wall-mounted exhaust fan located adjacent to the processing area. This fan circulates air at 12,000 cubic feet per minute (i.e., 18 air changes per hour), thereby preventing accumulation of diesel fuel vapors inside the building.

9. The processing building is ventilated by roof-mounted turbine vents.

10. All tanks containing ignitable wastes meet American Society for Testing and Materials specifications for ignitables, and are grounded to prevent sparking and potential ignition. For these tanks, discharge valves are fitted with fusible links that close in case of a fire emergency.

11. Procedures have been established to minimize, contain, and expeditiously remove any liquid spills (containing PCBs, ignitable liquids, or combinations thereof) that may occur within the facility. In addition, daily inspections for spills are conducted during regular operating periods by designated inspectors/supervisors (including monitoring tank volumes for undocumented reductions); all hoses, connections, and valves are inspected by systems operators prior to initiating an operation. Leaking drums are placed in overpack drums. The processing system is provided with a series of interlocks to prevent liquid spills.

Spill-removal procedures vary according to the size of the spill. If the spill is small, the hazardous liquid should be removed using designated sorbents and containers available in the processing area. During removal, the following safety precautions must be observed: Contact with the spilled material is to be avoided; unnecessary personnel must leave the area; protective equipment (descibed below in paragraph 14) must be worn; the area must be ventilated; personnel and equipment must be decontaminated thoroughly following exposure (eyewashes and bodywashes are available in the processing area for this purpose); and technical advice should be sought if necessary. Large spills should be contained using diking materials available in the processing areas. Safety precautions prescribed for controlling small spills should be used in large-spill situations as well. Where there is a high potential for spills, work is performed within diked or curbed areas. If the spilled material escapes, downstream authorities must be notified. A detailed Contingency Plan for managing spills may be obtained from Envirosafe at the address listed above in the first paragraph under I. Background.

12. The storage tank volume is checked prior to pumping ignitable liquids into the tank to assure that there is adequate volume to receive these liquids.

13. Tanks are checked to assure that the proper tanks are being filled with flushed liquid.

14. Personnel involved in draining and flushing operations receive specific, documented training for conducting these operations as prescribed by appendix 3 ("Training Plan/section 17, PCB Personnel Training Program"), volume I of the EPA's "Final Approval for Disposal and Commercial Storage of Polychlorinated Biphenyls" (hereafter, the "EPA approval document"). This training includes emergency procedures for the general workforce (e.g., recognizing alarms, notifying designated authorities of the emergency, egressing from the facility), and specialized training for members of the fire bridgade in controlling and suppressing explosions/fires. (Members of the fire brigade are volunteers from among Envirosafe's local employees; these employees leave their regular jobs to respond to emergencies.) The EPA issued this approval document under Permit Number IDD073114654, September 20, 1991. Copies of training plans, including training plans for emergency procedures used by the general workforce and the fire brigade, may be obtained from Envirosafe at the address listed above in the first paragraph under I. Background.

During emergency events involving PCB contamination, emergency personnel are required to wear chemical-protective clothing (i.e., polyethylene-coated coveralls, pvc or composite-rubber gloves, and full-face, fitted respirators).

Every employee at the facility has access to either the internal telephone system or a two-way radio that can be used to communicate the occurrence of a fire or explosion to the Emergency Coordinator located in the supervisor's trailer at the north end of the facility site. The Emergency Coordinator determines the correct emergency response, and initiates this emergency response by manually activating the appropriate combination of falcon horns, sirens, and/or alarm horn/strobe-light sets. Using predetermined routes, all nonessential employees are evacuated from the immediate fire/explosion area to designated assembly areas outside the facility gates. Only authorized (and predesignated) employees are allowed to remain in the fire/explosion area. During regular operating hours, the fire brigade is available onsite to control the emergency event. During nonoperating hours, the employee who discovers the emergency, usually the security officer, notifies the Emergency Coordinator; after determining the appropriate response, the Emergency Coordinator telephones members of the fire brigade at their homes and directs them to report to the Envirosafe facility. After the emergency event has been controlled, the decision to reenter the facility can be made only by the Emergency Coordinator; prior to reentry, a tally is made of employees, contract personnel, and visitors.

All employees receive emergency training drills semi-annually, during which they practice emergency evacuations. If a power outage occurs during an emergency event, emergency equipment requiring electricity can be operated either through batteries (e.g., two-way radios) or auxiliary power. Copies of the Emergency Evacuation Plan covering these activities may be obtained from Envirosafe at the address listed above in the first paragraph under "I. Background."

15. To respond to serious emergency events (i.e., fires and explosions), a fire brigade consisting of specially-trained Envirosafe employees is available during operating hours. Pursuant to the Training Plan mentioned in the preceding section, members of the fire brigade are trained not only in fire brigade procedures and safety, but in first aid and CPR.

Every employee at the facility receives the following onsite emergency training: Procedures for locating, using, inspecting, repairing, and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment; emergency communication procedures and alarm system operation; proper responses to fires, explosions, and spill incidents (i.e., procedures for containing, controlling, and mitigating spills); and evacuation procedures. At least two employees on duty during regular operating hours are trained in first-aid and CPR.

As described in Table G-4 of Appendix 5 to the EPA approval document, the fire brigade is trained to use dry chemicals or carbon dioxide on small fires, and standard firefighting agents (i.e., foam and high-pressure water) on large fires. The fire brigade is available at the facility during normal operating hours (and on standby status at home during nonoperating hours), and is equipped with a fire truck carrying a foam unit, high-pressure water applicator, and water supply. A storage tank has been installed at the facility to supply a maximum of 16,000 gallons of water during fire emergencies. Employees in the processing building are trained to operate Class ABC 20-pound fire extinguishers, while members of the fire brigade also are trained in the use of 125-pound Class BC fire extinguishers located outside this building.

The applicant states that it is providing its employees with employment and a place of employment at least as safe and healthful as required by 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f) by using engineering techniques and operational procedures to prevent the accumulation of vapors generated from the transfer of combustible/flammable liquids used in its processing operations and by controlling ignition sources at these transfer sites.

III. Decision

The applicant has requested from OSHA a variance from the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f). This standard requires that filling and emptying connections that are made and broken during the transfer of combustible/flammable liquids shall be located outside the buildings at a location free from any source of ignition and not less than 5 feet away from any building opening. Such connection shall be closed and liquid-tight when not in use. The connection shall be properly identified. This standard assures worker safety by preventing fires and explosions that may occur during transfer operations involving combustible/flammable liquids. This purpose is accomplished by: Providing sufficient ventilation at combustible/flammable liquid transfer sites to prevent concentrations of vapor-air mixtures (resulting from spilled liquids) from exceeding one-fourth of the lower flammable limit defined under 29 CFR 1910.106(a)(31); and prohibiting sources at the transfer sites that could ignite these vapor-air mixtures. Due to a conflict between the OSHA and EPA standards, as discussed above under section II, the applicant's filling and emptying connections are made and broken inside the building compared to outside the building as required under the OSHA standard.

To assure maximum employee protection during flushing and draining operations, the applicant has implemented specific procedures to assure that the above OSHA standard will be met or exceeded. These procedures include: Providing supervision of employees during the transfer of PCBs or ignitable materials; inspecting draining and flushing areas daily to assure that ignition sources are not present; forbidding waste-handling operations that may generate sources of ignitions from occurring when hot work permits are issued for repairs; prohibiting smoking in the process building; providing a large-capacity fan and several roof-mounted turbine vents to prevent the accumulation of diesel fuel vapors inside the building; securing and grounding transportation vehicles to prevent movement and potential static discharge; minimizing, containing, and expeditiously removing any PCB ignitable liquids spills; continuously inspecting drums, hoses, and connections; wearing appropriate protective clothing and respirators when controlling liquid spills; and training general employees and inhouse fire brigade personnel in pertinent emergency procedures.

OSHA has determined that the applicant, by using the above-mentioned operational procedures and engineering techniques, will provide employment and a place of employment as safe and healthful as required under 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f) in preventing the accumulation of hazardous vapors generated from combustible/flammable liquids used in its processing operations, and controlling ignition sources at the transfer sites.

Moreover, in the event of a fire or an explosion, every employee at the facility can notify the Emergency Coordinator by either the internal telephone system or a two-way radio. Upon notification of a fire or explosion, the Emergency Coordinator manually activates the appropriate alarms. All employees, except trained fire brigade members, are evacuated. This emergency training program conforms with OSHA's policy to allow fire brigades under conditions in which training, organization, and planning are adequate to assure employee safety and health.

On the basis of the variance application and supporting data, OSHA has determined that the specific safety procedures used by the applicant during the draining and flushing operations will provide employee protection equal to, or better than, the level of protection required under 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f). Therefore, based on the record discussed above, OSHA finds that compliance with the terms of the Order set out below will provide employment, and a place of employment, that are as safe and healthful as would be provided if the applicant complied with 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(viii)(f).

IV. Order

Pursuant to section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033), and 29 CFR part 1905, it is ordered that Envirosafe Services, Inc., is authorized to implement the following conditions in lieu of complying with the provisions in 29 CFR 19(b)(2)(viii)(f).

1. All employees involved in the draining and flushing operations shall receive specific, onsite, and documented training as discussed in Envirosafe's Emergency Evacuation Plan at least once annually. The general workforce shall be trained in emergency procedures, including recognition and operation of emergency alarms, procedures for notifying designated authorities of an emergency, operation of emergency communication equipment, evacuation procedures, containing and controlling spills, fire drills, and fire suppression techniques and procedures (i.e., procedures for locating, using, inspecting, repairing and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment, including Class ABC 20-pound fire extinguishers).

2. Members of the fire brigade shall receive specialized training in controlling and suppressing explosions/fires, including using dry chemicals and carbon dioxide on small fires, and standard firefighting agents (i.e., foam and high-pressure water) on large fires; they shall demonstrate proficiency in operating Class ABC 20-pound fire extinguishers and Class BC 125-pound fire extinguishers. The fire brigade shall be equipped with a fire truck carrying a foam unit, high-pressure water applicator, and water supply. A 16,000-gallon storage tank shall be installed and maintained at the facility to supply water during fire emergencies. Additionally, all fire brigade members shall be trained in first aid and CPR.

3. A continuing education program shall be conducted at least annually for members of the fire brigade by a person or persons qualified by experience or special training in current fire-fighting techniques.

4. All employees in the processing building shall receive emergency training drills semi-annually, including practice in emergency evacuations.

5. All employees shall be instructed in the procedures of the Emergency Evacuation Plan immediately upon being hired.

6 . At least two employees on duty during regular operating hours, and who are not members of the fire brigade, must be trained in first aid and CPR.

7. Every employee shall have access to either the internal telephone system or a two-way radio to report fires/explosions to the Emergency Coordinator.

8. All emergency equipment requiring electricity shall be capable of operating via batteries or auxiliary power should regular electrical service be disrupted during an emergency involving fire/explosion.

9. During emergencies involving PCB contamination, emergency personnel shall be provided with the appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment (i.e., chemical-protective clothing such as polyethylene-coated coveralls, pvc or composite-rubber gloves, and full-face fitted respirators).

10. All operators shall be supervised during the transfer of PCBs or ignitable materials.

11. All waste-handling (i.e., draining and flushing) areas shall be properly marked by readily visible warning signs stating that "Only authorized employees are allowed in the tank areas, and in the draining and flushing areas."

12. The draining and flushing area shall be inspected for flammable/combustible fuel spills and leaks at least once daily during regular operating periods by designated inspectors/supervisors to prevent the accumulation of hazardous concentrations of vapors generated by combustible/flammable liquids.

13. Smoking shall be prohibited inside the processing building. "No smoking" signs shall be displayed conspicuously throughout the processing building.

14. All emergency exits shall be properly marked by readily visible signs.

15. Hot-work permits shall be issued to prohibit draining and flushing operations in the processing building during operations that may generate a source of ignition.

16. Draining and flushing operations shall not take place in the processing building when a hot work permit is issued for repairs in that building.

17. No ignitable waste shall be processed in uncontrolled areas and, during loading and unloading operations, transportation vehicles containing ignitable substances shall be secured to prevent movement and grounded to reduce the potential for static discharge.

18. All pumps, hoses, valves, and connections shall be checked by system operators for leaks and ruptures prior to initiating each draining and flushing operation, and at least once daily by designated inspectors/supervisors during regular operating hours.

19. Leaking drums shall be placed in overpack drums.

20. Direct ventilation of the processing building shall be provided during the draining and flushing operations by a wall-mounted exhaust fan located adjacent to the processing area. This fan shall circulate air at 12,000 cubic feet per minute (i.e., 18 air changes per hour), and shall be capable of operating under auxiliary electric power.

21. The processing building shall be vented by roof-mounted turbine vents.

22. The processing system shall be provided with a series of interlocks to prevent liquid spills.

23. Inspectors/supervisors shall inspect the processing building and tank areas for spills on a daily basis.

24. A detailed Contingency Plan for managing spills shall be available at the facility. This Plan shall consist of written procedures established to minimize, contain, mitigate, and expeditiously remove liquid spills (containing PCBs, ignitable liquids, and combinations thereof) that may occur in the facility. These written procedures shall be posted near areas where spills are likely to occur, and all employees are to receive documented training annually on these procedures.

25. All spills shall be cleaned immediately. Small spills shall be removed by using designated sorbents and containers. Large spills shall be contained using diking materials if necessary. Work shall be performed in diked/curbed areas where the potential for spills is high.

26. During spill removal, the following safety procedures shall be observed.

a. Contact with the spilled material shall be avoided;

b. Unnecessary personnel shall leave the area;

c. Appropriate protective equipment (described under Condition 9 above) shall be worn;

d. The area shall be ventilated;

e. Personnel exposed in any manner to the spilled material shall be decontaminated thoroughly using eyewashes and bodywashes available in the processing area; this decontamination shall occur immediately following spill removal; and

f. Technical advice shall be obtained as necessary.

27. Authorities shall be notified if the spilled material escapes downstream.

28. All tanks containing ignitable waste shall meet American Society for Testing and Materials specifications for ignitables, and shall be grounded to prevent sparking and potential ignition. These tanks shall be fitted with discharge valves with fusible links that close in case of a fire emergency.

29. Storage tanks shall be adequately maintained; these tanks shall be checked prior to pumping ignitable liquids into the tanks to assure that there is ample space to accommodate the liquid, and that the proper tanks are being filled with flushed liquids.

Upon receipt of this order, Envirosafe Services, Inc. shall give affected employees notice of the terms contained herein using the same means required to inform them of the variance application.

This order shall become effective on June 7, 1994, and shall remain in effect until modified or revoked in accordance with section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 23d day of May 1994.

Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 94-13716 Filed 6-6-94; 8:45 am]


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