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• Publication Date: 07/06/1994
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 59:34586-34589
• Title: Personal Protective Equipment for Shipyard Employment

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1915

[Docket No. S-045]

Personal Protective Equipment for Shipyard Employment

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; limited reopening of the rulemaking record.

SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reopening the rulemaking record for the proposed revision of the regulation of personal protective equipment for shipyard employment (53 FR 48150, November 29, 1988) to incorporate the rulemaking record developed for the recently revised regulation of personal protective equipment for general industry (Docket S-060, final rule published in 59 FR 16334, April 6, 1994) and the record for the proposed regulation of personal protective equipment (fall protection equipment for general industry) (Docket S-057, 55 FR 13423, April 10, 1990). While the shipyard rulemaking on personal protective equipment (PPE) generated 10 comments, the general industry rulemakings generated hundreds of comments and several thousand pages of hearing testimony regarding PPE issues. The Agency believes the regulation of PPE in shipyard and general industry employment should be consistent, in order to facilitate compliance and effective employee protection. OSHA has determined that the information in Dockets S-060 and S-057 is relevant to full consideration of the issues raised by the shipyard PPE proposal, and that it is appropriate to reopen the record to incorporate those materials and to allow the public an opportunity to comment. This notice also raises specific PPE issues arising out of the general industry rulemakings for public comment.

DATES: Comments on the issues raised in the notice of reopening must be postmarked by August 22, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Comments are to be sent to the Docket Office, Docket No. S-045A, U.S. Department of Labor, room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James F. Foster, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, room N-3637, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone (202) 219-8148.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On November 29, 1988, OSHA proposed to revise the personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements in the shipyard employment standards (part 1915, subpart I) (53 FR 48150). The proposal updated references to national consensus standards and added requirements for hazard assessment, proper selection and care of PPE, training, lifesaving equipment and personal fall protection equipment. The written comment period ended on February 27, 1989. The Agency received 10 comments on the proposed rule. There were no hearing requests.

On August 16, 1989, OSHA proposed to update the existing general industry standards (part 1910, subpart I, Docket S-060) for eye and face (1910.133), head (1910.135) and foot (1910.136) PPE and to add generic requirements for hazard assessment, proper selection of PPE, prohibition on use of damaged or defective PPE and training in the proper use of PPE (1910.132 (d) through (f)) (54 FR 33832). The proposed general industry revisions were consistent with the corresponding provisions of the proposed rule for shipyard employment.

On April 10, 1990, the Agency proposed to add criteria for personal fall arrest equipment (1910.128, 1910.129 and 1910.131) and positioning device equipment (1910.128 and 1910.130) to the general industry PPE standards (part 1910, subpart I, Docket S-057) (55 FR 13423). Again, the criteria proposed for general industry PPE were consistent with those proposed for shipyards.

The two general industry rulemakings generated extensive records, including hundreds of comments and several thousand pages of hearing testimony. On April 6, 1994, OSHA issued a final rule (59 FR 16334) which completed Agency action in the Docket S-060 proceeding. Based on the rulemaking record, OSHA made some changes to the proposed rule in drafting the final rule. In particular, OSHA revised the proposed training requirement so that it provides clear direction regarding what constitutes adequate training and what circumstances trigger a requirement for retraining. In addition, the final rule added requirements for the certification of the hazard assessment (1910.132(d)(2)) and certification that the required training has been provided and understood (1910.132(f)(4)).

Also, based on the rulemaking record for general industry fall protection PPE (Docket S-057), the Agency is considering further limiting or prohibiting the use of body belts and non-locking snaphooks in personal fall arrest systems. In particular, the evidence in the record supports the conclusion that an employee who falls while wearing a body belt as part of a personal fall arrest system is substantially more likely to suffer death or serious injury than would be the case if the employee were wearing a full body harness. Furthermore, the rulemaking record indicates that locking snaphooks designed to prevent "roll out" (where snaphooks become accidentally disengaged during use) provide a higher level of employee protection than single-action (non-locking) snaphooks.

While it is appropriate to facilitate employer access to safety and health standards by maintaining separate standards for general industry (part 1910) and for the shipyard industry (part 1915), the Agency believes that the substance of those standards should be consistent. OSHA believes, based on its review of the pertinent rulemaking records, that PPE used in shipyards does not differ markedly from PPE used in general industry. Therefore, the Agency has determined that the information generated in the general industry rulemakings should be taken into account as the Agency drafts the final rule for shipyard PPE, as well. To this end, OSHA is incorporating the general industry PPE rulemaking records (Dockets S-057 and S-060) into the record for the shipyards PPE rulemaking. In addition, OSHA is reopening the written comment period for the shipyard PPE proposal so the public has an opportunity to comment on the newly incorporated materials.

II. Issues

OSHA is requesting comments on these five specific issues:

1. Certification of hazard assessment. OSHA believes that a hazard assessment is an important element of a PPE program because it produces the information needed to select the appropriate PPE for the hazards present or likely to be present at particular workplaces. The Agency believes that employers are able to determine and evaluate the hazards of their particular workplaces and to use this information for proper PPE selection.

Proposed 1915.152(b) required employers to select the types of PPE to be used by employees based on an assessment of the workplace hazards relative to PPE. The comments on proposed 1910.132(d), which contained identical language, indicated concern about the level of documentation required for hazards assessment (Exs. 3:1 and 3:68). In regard to the general industry rulemaking, OSHA concluded that some form of record is needed to provide OSHA compliance officers and affected employees with appropriate assurance that the required hazard assessment has been performed. Given the performance-oriented nature of the rule, the Agency determined that the generation and review of extensive documentation would be unnecessarily burdensome.

OSHA has addressed such situations in other rulemakings (e.g., permit-required confined spaces, 1910.146(g)(4); and the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), 1910.147(c)(7)(iv) by requiring employers to verify their compliance with a requirement through a written certification. The Agency has found that a written certification is a reasonable means by which to establish accountability for compliance.

Therefore, OSHA determined that an employer could adequately verify compliance with the hazard assessment requirement through a written certification which identified the workplace evaluated; the person certifying that the hazard assessment had been performed; the date(s) of the hazard assessment; and which identified the document as a certification of hazard assessment. Accordingly, the Agency added this requirement to the final rule as 1910.132(d)(2).

OSHA believes that verification through written certification would also be appropriate with regard to hazard assessments to be performed under proposed 1915.152(b). Therefore, OSHA solicits comments, with supporting information, as to the need for certification of the hazard assessment and the anticipated impact of such a requirement on the shipyard industry.

2. Certification of training. Proposed 1915.152(e) required that employees be trained in the proper use of their PPE. Proposed 1910.132(f) contained an identical requirement. Based on comments received in relation to proposed 1910.132(f) (Exs. 3:41, 3:46, 3:49, 3:62 and 3:129) which expressed concern regarding the level of documentation employers would be required to provide for their training efforts, OSHA raised Issue 4 in the hearing notice (55 FR 3414, February 1, 1990) to elicit additional information on the recordkeeping needed to document compliance with the proposed paragraph. The commenters (Exs. 7:8, 7:19 and 7:39) generally supported some sort of certification for completion of training.

Based on the rulemaking record and the considerations raised above in regard to Reopening Issue 1, OSHA determined that employers could adequately verify compliance with proposed 1910.132(f) through a written certification. Accordingly, the Agency revised proposed paragraph (f) to add paragraph (f)(4), which requires a certification record that identifies each employee trained, the date(s) of training, and which identifies the document as a certification of training in the use of PPE.

OSHA believes that verification through written certification would also be appropriate with regard to training to be provided under proposed 1915.152(e). Therefore, OSHA solicits comments, with supporting information, as to the need for certification of employee training and the anticipated impact of such a requirement on the shipyard industry.

3. Training elements. As mentioned above, proposed 1915.152(e) required that employees be trained in the proper use of their PPE, and proposed 1910.132(f) set forth an identical requirement. Based on comments and testimony received in relation to proposed 1910.132(f) (Exs. 3:36, 3:41, 3:50, 3:60, 3:73, 3:86, 3:88, 3:116, 3:128; 7:3, 7:8, 7:11, 7:20, 7:29, 7:38; Tr. 23:24; 4/3, Tr. 272-286; 4/4) which expressed concern that the proposed language did not provide enough detailed guidance regarding what constituted adequate training, OSHA determined that more specific guidance should be provided by the final requirement. Accordingly, the Agency determined that more specific guidance was appropriate and revised proposed 1910.132(f) to require, at a minimum, training in the following areas:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE
  • The limitations of the PPE; and
  • That proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of the PPE.

In addition, many of the above comments and testimony suggested that in order to have a successful training program, employers should set measurable training objectives and have their employees demonstrate that they have reached those objectives. Also, it was suggested that retraining be provided, when the employer determined that employees may not possess sufficient knowledge about the PPE. Accordingly, the following provisions were added to 1910.132(f) in the final rule:

(2) Each affected employee shall demonstrate an understanding of the training specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, and the ability to use PPE properly, before being allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE.

(3) When the employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required by paragraph (f)(2) of this section, the employer shall retrain each such employee. Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations were:

(i) Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete; or (ii) Changes in the types of PPE to be used render previous training obsolete; or (iii) Inadequacies in an affected employee's knowledge or use of assigned PPE indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

OSHA believes that these more specific training requirements would also be appropriate with regard to training provided under 1915.152(e). Therefore, OSHA solicits comments, with supporting information, as to the need for such requirements and the anticipated impact of those requirements on the shipyard industry.

4. Body belts and harnesses in fall arrest systems. Proposed 1910.129(b) provided the system performance criteria for personal fall arrest systems. In particular, the proposed paragraph limited maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when using a body belt and 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when using a body harness. The corresponding provision for shipyard employment, proposed 1915.159(a)(4)(iii), limited maximum arresting force for either belts or harnesses to the lesser of 10 times the employee's weight, or 1,800 pounds (8 kN). The more protective criteria in proposed 1910.129(b) are based on information obtained after the Shipyard PPE proposal was issued (53 FR 48150, Nov. 29, 1988). This information is discussed in the General Industry PPE proposal (55 FR 13423, April 10, 1990).

Comments and testimony received on proposed 1910.129(b) (Exs. 3:22, 3:31; Tr. 240-241 and 1374) indicate that the Agency needs to reconsider allowing the use of body belts in fall arrest systems. OSHA solicits comments, with supporting information regarding whether or not body belts should be permitted for use in fall arrest systems, and the anticipated impact on the shipyard industry of any requirement which might limit or prohibit their use.

5. Locking and non-locking snap hooks. Proposed 1915.159 (a)(15), (a)(16), and (a)(17) prohibited certain snap hook connections (such as, connecting snap hooks to each other) where snap hooks have been known to accidentally disengage, allowing an employee to fall. Proposed 1910.129(c)(1) required that snap hooks, unless of the locking type, and designed for certain connections (such as to each other, to horizontal lifelines, or to incompatibly shaped objects), not be used for these connections.

Comments and testimony received on the general industry provisions (Exs. 3:9, 3:12, 3:19; Tr. 210) has led the Agency to consider a prohibition on the use of non-locking snap hooks in personal fall protection systems.

OSHA solicits comments, with supporting information, regarding whether or not non-locking snap hooks should be permitted for use in personal fall protection systems or in positioning device systems, and the anticipated impact on the shipyard industry of any requirement which might further limit or prohibit their use.

III. Public Participation

Written comments regarding the materials incorporated into the shipyard PPE record through this notice must be postmarked by August 22, 1994.

Four copies of these comments must be submitted to the Docket Office, Docket S-045A, U.S. Department of Labor, room N-2634, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. (202) 219-7894. All materials submitted will be available for inspection and copying at the above address. Materials previously submitted to the Docket for this rulemaking need not be resubmitted.

IV. Authority

This document was prepared under the direction of Joseph A. Dear, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

It is issued under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (29 U.S.C. 655), section 41 of the LHWCA (33 U.S.C. 941) and 29 CFR part 1911.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 29th day of June 1994.

Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 94-16240 Filed 7-5-94; 8:45 am]


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