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• Publication Date: 03/16/1995
• Publication Type: Final Rules
• Fed Register #: 60:14218-14220
• Standard Number: 1915
• Title: Confined and Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres in Shipyard Employment

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1915

[Docket No. S-050]

Confined and Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres in Shipyard Employment

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

ACTION: Final rule; correction.



SUMMARY: In the July 25, 1994, Federal Register OSHA published a revised standard for Shipyard Employment, subpart B of 29 CFR part 1915, extending the previous requirements for work in explosive and other dangerous atmospheres on ships to cover all work involving confined or enclosed spaces or other dangerous atmospheres throughout shipyard employment (59 FR 37816). With the present document, OSHA is making corrections to the rule which include: clarifying the order of testing before employees may enter a confined or enclosed space or other dangerous atmosphere; clarifying when flammable atmospheres must be maintained above the upper explosive limit during installation of ventilation or rescue; and clarifying the limited locations and conditions where hot work may be performed without first being certified by a Marine Chemist. Several typographical errors are also being corrected.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The final rule published on July 25, 1994, became effective on October 24, 1994. These corrections are effective March 16, 1995.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Liblong, Director, Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210 (202-219-8148).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Correction to Sec. 1915.12--Precautions Before Entering Confined and Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres

OSHA is correcting the section heading to Sec. 1915.12 to make clearer the requirement that atmospheric testing must be done in the order set forth in the standard (i.e., oxygen content, then flammability, and then toxicity).

In the preamble to the final rule OSHA explained how the section was being reformatted to address the order of atmospheric testing to be conducted when determining hazards within confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres prior to entry (59 FR 37830). The Agency stated explicitly in the preamble to paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of Sec. 1915.12 that atmospheres must be tested for oxygen content first, flammability second, and toxicity third (59 FR 37831). However, the section heading did not include the sequence of testing, and the specific introductory statement requiring atmospheric testing to be conducted in the proper sequence was inadvertently omitted from the regulatory text. The insertion of the sequence of testing into the section heading and the addition of the introductory text to Sec. 1915.12 brings the section into conformance with the rulemaking record, the preamble explanation, and OSHA's intent.

II. Correction to Sec. 1915.12(b)--Flammable Atmospheres

In the previous standard covering entry into spaces containing flammable atmospheres, Sec. 1915.12(d), employees were allowed to perform work of brief duration in atmospheres containing concentrations of flammable contaminants as long as the concentrations remained above the upper explosive limit (UEL) and the requirements of Sec. 1915.152(a) and (b), Respiratory protection, were followed. That allowance was continued in the proposed revision to subpart B, Sec. 1915.12(d), Work of brief duration (53 FR 48108). In the final standard, which permits such entry only to set up ventilation or for rescue, OSHA carried over the condition that the flammable contaminant(s) be maintained above the UEL (59 FR 37858). Unfortunately, the wording of this condition could be construed to require that levels of atmospheric contaminants in a space actually be increased to a level above the UEL prior to ventilation start-up or rescue so that they may be maintained above the UEL. OSHA did not intend the rule to require this. When the atmosphere is below the UEL (but above the lower explosive limit) the addition of flammable contaminants to a space prior to rescue or ventilation set-up to exceed the UEL could increase both the atmospheric hazards to employees and the time needed for rescue. Only atmospheres that are already at or above the UEL are to be maintained at those levels. To prevent confusion regarding when an employer must maintain the level of contaminants above the UEL, OSHA is correcting Sec. 1915.12(b)(3)(iii).

III. Correction to Sec. 1915.14--Hot Work

In paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of Sec. 1915.14, OSHA has provided an exception to the general rule that certain atmospheres in spaces must be tested and certified by a Marine Chemist before hot work may be done. The exception provides that some atmospheres where hot work is to be performed may, instead, be tested by a Competent Person. OSHA is correcting the exception to specify the spaces to which the exception applies and adding a note for further clarification.

It was OSHA's intent to extend the requirements of existing subpart B to all shipyard employment, making changes only where necessary to clarify the language and correct requirements that were inappropriate. In bringing forward the requirements on hot work, however, OSHA incorrectly omitted the reference to the scope of the existing exception which included dry cargo, miscellaneous and passenger vessels. The exception did not apply to tank vessels because of the seriousness of the hazards associated with the flammability or combustibility of tanker vessel cargo. However, OSHA intended the dry cargo, miscellaneous and passenger vessels exception to apply to all landside spaces as well, because their configuration and the conditions found within these spaces are similar to those on the dry cargo, miscellaneous and passenger vessels. Therefore, OSHA is correcting the paragraph to make it clear that the exception does not apply to hot work performed on tank vessels. This is consistent with the previous standard and OSHA's intent.

OSHA has also added a note to make it clear that hot work which does not need to be certified by a Marine Chemist (i.e., work in spaces adjacent to spaces that contain liquids with a flash point above 150 deg. F (65.6 deg. C)) still needs to be inspected and tested by a competent person prior to beginning the hot work.

IV. Correction to Sec. 1915.15(e)

In Sec. 1915.15(e), OSHA requires testing to maintain a competent person's findings. In order to make it clear that a visual inspection is part of the testing, OSHA is correcting paragraph (e). This is consistent with the testing requirements throughout the standard, the rulemaking record, the preamble explanation, and OSHA's intent.

V. Typographical Corrections

Two provisions in subpart B of part 1915 contained minor typographical errors. They are Sec. 1915.12 (d)(3)(ii) and (e)(1)(iii).

PART 1915--[CORRECTED]

1. The authority citation for part 1915 continues to read as follows:

Authority: Sec. 41, Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 941); secs. 4,6,8, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Sec. 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), or 1-90 (55 FR 9033) as applicable; 29 CFR Part 1911.

2. The text of 29 CFR part 1915, beginning at Sec. 1915.12, 59 FR 37858 is corrected as follows:

  Page, column Correction
Sec. 1915.12
Section heading 59 FR 37858, 1st The section heading is corrected to read as follows: "Precautions and the order of testing before entering confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres."
Introductory text 59 FR 37858, 1st Add the following new introductory text after the section heading: "The employer shall ensure that atmospheric testing is performed in the following sequence: oxygen content, flammability, toxicity."
Paragraph (b)(3)(iii) 59 FR 37858, 3rd This paragraph is corrected to read as follows: "(iii) Atmospheres at or above the upper explosive limit are maintained; and"
Paragraph (d)(3)(ii) 59 FR 37859, 1st The word "a" that appears at the end of the first line is corrected to read "an"
Note to (e)(1)(iii) 59 FR 37859, 2nd
(sixth paragraph)
The word "preforms" that appears at the beginning of the paragraph second line)second line is corrected to read "performs"
Sec. 1915.14
Paragraph (a)(1)(iv) 59 FR 37860, 2nd This paragraph is corrected to read as follows: "Exception: On dry cargo, miscellaneous and passenger vessels and in the landside operations within spaces which meet the standards for oxygen, flammability and toxicity in Sec. 1915.12, but are adjacent to spaces containing flammable gases or liquids, as long as the gases or liquids have a flash point below 150 deg. F (65.6 deg. C) and the distance between such spaces and the work is 25 feet (7.5m) or greater."Note: For flammable liquids with flash points above 150 deg. F (65.6 deg. C), see paragraph (b) of this section
Sec. 1915.15
Paragraph (e) 59 FR 37861, 1st Correct the paragraph to read as follows: "(e) Tests to maintain a competent person's findings. After a competent person has conducted a visual inspection and tests required in Secs. 1915.12, 1915.13, and 1915.14 of this part and determined a space to be safe for an employee to enter, he or she shall continue to test and visually inspect spaces as often as necessary to ensure that the required atmospheric conditions within the tested space are maintained."

VI. Authority

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

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1915

Confined spaces, Emergency medical services, Hazardous substances, Marine safety, Occupational Safety and Health, Signs and symbols, Vessels, Welding.

The actions in this document are taken pursuant to sections 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033), and 29 CFR Part 1911.

Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 95-6526 Filed 3-15-95; 8:45 am]


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