Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 12/13/1994
• Publication Type: Meeting
• Fed Register #: 59:64173-64176
• Standard Number: 1915.152; 1915.1001
• 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; Request for public participation in public meeting.

SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announces an informal public meeting to provide an opportunity for oral and written presentations regarding specific issues raised through the reopening of the Shipyard Employment Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) rulemaking record (59 FR 34586, July 6, 1994) and the incorporation of the general industry PPE rulemaking docket (S-060).

DATES: Notices of intention to appear at the public meeting must be postmarked by January 11, 1995. The public meeting will be held on January 25, 1995 in Washington, D.C.

Any written information or comments must be received by OSHA no later than January 25, 1995.

ADDRESSES: Submit all notices of intention to appear and written comments to Ms. Audrey K. Best, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, Room N-3609, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone (202) 219-7225; FAX (202) 219-7477. Please submit four copies of all written information.

Persons with disabilities, who need special accommodations, should contact Ms. Audrey Best, by January 11, 1995 at the address above.

The public meeting will be held in the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, Conference Room N3437(A and B), 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, room N-3647, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Telephone (202) 219-8148.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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). This 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. The written comment period ended on February 27, 1989. The Agency received 10 comments on the proposed rule, and one hearing request, which was withdrawn.

On August 16, 1989, OSHA proposed to update the existing general industry standards (part 1910, subpart I, Docket S-060) for eye and face (Sec. 1910.133), head (Sec. 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, Secs. 1910.132(d) through (f) (54 FR 33832).

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

The two general industry rulemakings generated extensive rulemaking 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 general industry PPE proceeding. Based on the rulemaking record, (59 FR 16334, Docket S-050), OSHA made some changes to the proposed rule in drafting the final rule. In particular, OSHA revised the proposed training requirements to provide clear requirements for what is adequate training and what circumstances trigger retraining. In addition, the final rule added requirements for certification that the required hazard assessment (Sec. 1910.132(d)(2)) and training (Secs. 1910.132(f)(4)) had been performed.

Also, based on the general industry rulemaking record (Docket S-057), the Agency is considering whether it should revise the proposed rule for general industry fall protection PPE to further limit or to prohibit the use of body belts and non-locking snap hooks in personal fall arrest systems. In a related rulemaking for fall protection in the construction industry, OSHA recently issued a final rule (59 FR 40672, August 9, 1994) which prohibits the use of body belts and nonlocking snap hooks in personal fall arrest systems after December 31, 1997.

The Agency believes that the substance of the OSHA standards for general industry (part 1910), shipyard (part 1915) and construction employment (part 1926) should be consistent where possible. OSHA believes that PPE used in shipyard employment does not differ markedly from PPE used in general industry, and that the standards covering PPE use should not differ markedly either.

While the Agency recognizes that work activities in shipyard employment often differ from those in other industries, the Agency believes that much of the information generated in the general industry rulemakings will help the Agency draft the final rule for shipyard PPE. To this end, OSHA formally incorporated the general industry PPE rulemaking records (Dockets S-057 and S-060) into the record for the shipyard employment PPE rulemaking (59 FR 34586, July 6, 1994).

In that same notice, OSHA reopened the written comment period for the shipyard employment PPE rulemaking to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the newly incorporated general industry materials and on five specific issues (certification of hazard assessment; certification of training; training elements; body belts and body harnesses; and locking and non-locking snaphooks). The comment period, which ended August 22, 1994, elicited 13 comments, including one hearing request. These comments generally opposed any revision to proposed 1915 subpart I based on the 1910 subpart I records.

Based on these submissions, OSHA is convening a public meeting to seek additional input regarding all issues raised therein with emphasis on the issues set out below. OSHA solicits further input regarding how the incorporation of the provisions discussed in the July 6, 1994 notice of reopening would impact the shipyard industry. The Agency also requests that interested parties provide input regarding any experience they have had with the implementation of such provisions.

Issues

Issue 1 -- Certification of Hazard Assessment

Proposed part 1915 subpart I would require that employers select PPE for their employees based on an assessment of the pertinent workplace hazards (proposed Sec. 1915.152(b)). For example, shipyard maintenance workers, in general, are required to wear hard hats, safety glasses and safety shoes. Maintenance workers who are exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos that exceed the PELs, are also required to wear full-body clothing, gloves and foot coverings.

The proposed provision did not specifically address documentation of the hazard assessment. The revised PPE standard for general industry requires that affected employers verify that they have assessed workplace hazards through a written certification. As discussed in the July 6, 1994 notice, the Agency has been considering whether it would be appropriate to require written certification of hazard assessments in shipyards, as well.

One commentor (Ex. 9-2) said that such a certification provision required the approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act and the implementing regulations. Other comments (Exs. 9-3, 9-7, 9-8 and 9-10) stated that OSHA should take a performance-oriented approach to documentation of hazard assessments, instead of adopting the general industry written certification requirement. In particular, a commentor (Ex. 9-7) stated "certification of hazard assessment requirements should be based on employees' duties that tend to be constant rather than on the shipyard work place that is neither fixed, nor constant, nor readily quantifiable like work places in all other industries."

In addition, one commentor (Ex. 9-11) stated that hazard certification is unnecessary, because that company has "a good hazard assessment program that addresses PPE. A properly trained Compliance Officer can make a fair determination concerning PPE."

Those commentors indicated that requiring hazard assessments for each job, if followed literally, would create considerable costs for shipyard employers, without increasing employee safety. Those commentors also stated that requiring employers to certify their hazard assessment activities would increase shipyard operational costs and paperwork burdens, with no safety benefit.

Based on those comments, OSHA requests input regarding the appropriateness of a documentation requirement; the manner in which shipyards currently document their hazard assessments; and suggested language for a verification requirement that would address concerns specific to shipyard employment. In particular, the Agency solicits information regarding hazard assessment programs currently in use in shipyards and experience concerning the effectiveness of such programs.

In addition, the Agency is considering the extent to which current hazard assessments performed by trade or occupation provide the necessary information for selection of appropriate PPE. The following are examples of typical trade-based hazard assessment formats that OSHA may consider to be acceptable:

Example 1: Welder

Based on an assessment of the workplace hazards to which welders are exposed, the equipment listed below is the basic PPE required for this occupation. This does not take into account a job location in which additional PPE may be required such as where the welder works from an elevated platform without guard rails. In this situation the welder must wear the proper fall protection equipment, such as a body harness.

    --   Hard hat

    --   Welding Shield (Face)

    --   Welding Gloves

    --   Safety Glasses

    --   Safety Shoes

    --   Welding Sleeves (welding in the overhead position)

(Signed and dated)

Example 2: Yard Maintenance Worker

Based on an assessment of the workplace hazards to which shipyard maintenance workers are exposed, the equipment listed below is the basic PPE required for this occupation. Where maintenance workers are exposed to other hazards, such as asbestos exposure where the insulation on a pipe is being repaired, the maintenance worker must be provided with the appropriate supplemental PPE (requirements for asbestos PPE are set out in Sec. 1915.1001).

    --   Hard Hat

    --   Safety Glasses

    --   Work Gloves

    --   Safety Shoes

(Signed and dated)

Issue 2 -- Certification of Training and Training Elements

Proposed Sec. 1915.152(d) required that employees be trained in the proper use of their personal protective equipment. The proposal did not address certification of training nor did it address specific training elements. The revised PPE standard for general industry requires employees to be trained and retrained, as necessary, in at least the following: When PPE is necessary; What PPE is necessary; How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE; The limitations of the PPE; and, Useful life and disposal of the PPE This training may be provided in a variety of ways, such as through tool box training or at safety meetings. Once this training has been completed, Sec. 1910.132(f)(4) requires employers to verify through a written certification that each affected employee has received and understood the required training. This certification requirement may be satisfied through a training log or other document that the employer has already been using to keep track of its training activities. For compliance purposes, a record which provides the names of the employees who have successfully completed the training, the date of the training, the type of certification (that is, completion of PPE training), and the signature of a supervisor or trainer would be sufficient. OSHA solicits additional information concerning whether it is appropriate to clarify the requirements of proposed Sec. 1915.152(d) by incorporating the above-noted training elements and whether the Agency should add a new requirement for written certification of training.

In response to the notice of reopening, OSHA received comments (Exs. 9-6, 9-8 and 9-9) which stated that training can be satisfied during new employee orientation. Another commentor (Ex. 9-7) supported OSHA's intent for general requirements for training. The commentor also believed that "documentation of all training should be in the form of training logs, which would be the equivalent of "written certification" to avoid the non-value added redundance of record keeping." In addition, a commentor (Ex. 9-9) stated that most shipyards are already complying with the OSHA PPE training standard under consideration. Most of the shipyards that responded to the notice of reopening stated that they already have a written certification program and a new hire training program in effect. One commentor (Ex. 9-11) stated that requiring employers to certify their training activities would increase shipyard operational costs and paperwork burdens, with no safety benefit.

Issue 3 -- Body Belts and Body Harnesses

Proposed part 1915 subpart I would allow the use of personal fall arrest systems with either body belts or body harnesses, but would limit the impact load allowed for body belts to one-half of that allowed for body harnesses (900 pounds as opposed to 1800 pounds). The July 6, 1994 notice stated that OSHA was considering whether the part 1915 subpart I final rule should bar the use of body belts for fall protection. Some commentors (Exs. 9-1, 9-3, 9-7 and 9-8) suggested that there is no basis for barring the use of body belts for fall arrest and that the load limits set in the proposed rule were appropriate. In particular, the South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers and Newport News Shipbuilding (Exs. 9-3 and 9-11) stated that requiring employers to dispose of body belts and to purchase body harnesses would impose unreasonable financial burdens. Those commentors also stated that a review of their records showed no injuries that would have been prevented by having employees wear body harnesses instead of body belts; that belts had greater ease of use; and that the cost of harnesses was approximately double that of body belts. On the other hand, Tampa Shipyard (Ex. 9-8), Atlantic Marine (Ex. 9-9), and General Dynamics (Ex. 9-10) stated that they already employ body harnesses in their personal fall arrest systems. Tampa Shipyards and Atlantic Marine stated that the use of body harnesses was cost effective, even though harnesses could cost twice as much as body belts, because the additional safety factor provided by harnesses was worth the investment. In addition, General Dynamics (Ex. 9-10) stated that its systems already comply with the general industry criteria.

Subsequently, OSHA promulgated a revised fall protection standard for construction, part 1926 subpart M (59 FR 40672, August 9, 1994), which prohibits the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems after December 31, 1997. After that time, construction employees may use body belts only with positioning device systems. The Agency has found, as follows:

The evidence in the record clearly demonstrates that employees who fall while wearing a body belt are not afforded the level of protection they would be if the fall occurred while the employee was wearing a full body harness. In addition, [a commentor] presented evidence of injuries resulting from the use of body belts. The best available evidence the Agency has at this time indicates that the Agency should ban the use of body belts after a reasonable period. This will allow employers to phase out their existing inventory.

OSHA seeks input regarding the extent to which a phased in ban on the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems would be appropriate for shipyard employment. Please provide information on the useful life of body belts currently in use or on the market, the impact loads imposed on employees who fall while wearing such body belts, the cost of the body belts and body harnesses that are currently available, along with other data which would help OSHA address this issue.

Public Participation

Public Meeting

OSHA has scheduled a public meeting in the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, Conference Room N-3437 (A and B), 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC, on January 25, 1995 to provide an informal forum in which interested persons can present oral and written comments and information regarding issues raised in the July 6, 1994 notice of reopening.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. The presiding officer, who will be a representative of OSHA's Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, will have the necessary authority to regulate the conduct of the meeting.

OSHA requests that any person wishing to make oral presentations notify OSHA in advance. The notice should identify the person and organization, the amount of time needed for oral presentation, the subject matter, and a brief summary of the intended oral presentation. All persons giving written advance notice will have time reserved for their oral presentations.

Persons who wish to make oral presentations, but who have not notified OSHA of their intention to appear, may ask for an opportunity to speak at the time of the meeting. While the Agency will attempt to accommodate "walk-on" participants, priority will be given to those who submitted timely notices of intention to appear.

All persons desiring to participate in the public meeting must file a notice of intention to appear postmarked by January 11, 1995, addressed to Ms. Audrey K. Best, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, Room N3609, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

All written submissions must be received by OSHA no later than the date of the public meeting, January 25, 1995. A subsequent period for the submission of additional written materials may be set at the public meeting, at the discretion of the presiding officer. The materials submitted will be available for inspection and copying at the above address. All written and oral submissions, and other information gathered by the Agency, will be considered in any action taken.

Authority and Signature

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 of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655), section 41 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 941), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033), and 29 CFR part 1911.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 7th day of December 1994.

Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 94-30518 Filed 12-12-94; 8:45 am]


Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents