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• Publication Date: 04/04/1996
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 61:15059-15060
• Title: Notice of Addendum to Memorandum of Understanding

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Office of the Environment, Safety and Health

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Notice of Addendum to Memorandum of Understanding

SUMMARY: This notice is to advise the public of an addendum to the interagency memorandum of understanding which delineates regulatory coverage of occupational safety and health at government-owned, contractor-operated sites administered by the Department of Energy. The addendum provides for coverage by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of certain facilities and operations at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 28, 1996.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Cyr, Acting Director, Office of Public Information and Consumer Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-3647, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 219-8615.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on August 10, 1992, delineating regulatory authority over the occupational safety and health of contractor employees at DOE government-owned or leased, contractor-operated (GOCO) facilities. In general, DOE exercises statutory authority relating to the occupational safety and health of private sector employees at these facilities.

Section 4(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. 653(b)(1), exempts from OSHA coverage working conditions over which other federal agencies have exercised statutory authority to prescribe or enforce occupational safety or health. The 1992 interagency Memorandum of Understanding acknowledges DOE's extensive regulation of contractor health and safety through safety orders which require contractor compliance with all OSHA standards as well as additional requirements prescribed by DOE, and concludes with an agreement by the agencies that the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act shall not apply to GOCO sites for which DOE has exercised its authority to regulate occupational safety and health.

Among the listed GOCO sites covered by the Memorandum of Understanding is the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Recently, DOE concluded a new lease agreement with South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) under which that public utility would operate certain coal-fired power and heat generation facilities located within the Savannah River Site, selling power to DOE as well as to some outside customers. As part of this privatization effort DOE intends to exempt from DOE safety orders the power generation and transmission facilities leased by SCE&G, in effect terminating DOE's exercise of health and safety authority over the leased facilities and reinstating that of OSHA. The following addendum to the DOE/OSHA Memorandum of Understanding implements the termination of DOE authority and makes all standards, rules, and requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act applicable to the SCE&G leased facilities on the Savannah River Site.

Because the site is located in South Carolina, a state which enforces its own occupational safety and health standards under a federally-approved state OSHA plan, the addendum also must address the issue of state plan coverage. The exercise of state authority over federally-owned, contractor-operated facilities raises unique jurisdictional issues; some GOCO facilities may retain the status of federal instrumentalities, where state regulatory authority is limited. Other facilities may be located on so-called federal enclave land, subject to regulation only by the federal government. Because of possible restrictions on the state's legal authority, the South Carolina Department of Labor has decided that SCE&G operations on the Savannah River Site will not be covered under the South Carolina state OSHA plan. The addendum to the OSHA/DOE Memorandum of Understanding therefore specifies that SCE&G operations at the Savannah River site will be covered by federal OSHA rather than under the state plan. OSHA intends to amend Subpart C of 29 CFR Part 1952 to reflect this coverage.

Federal OSHA coverage will extend to all working conditions of SCE&G employees and its subcontractor employees on the Savannah River site not covered by DOE job safety or health requirements. DOE and OSHA have discussed the issue of resources likely to be needed to carry out the additional responsibilities to be assumed by OSHA, and OSHA has concluded that sufficient inspection resources are currently available to assure adequate worker protection upon this transfer of regulatory responsibility from DOE.

Accordingly, the Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is amended by adding an addendum specifying federal OSHA worker safety and health coverage over the phase of operations at the Savannah River Site which DOE has deregulated. This transfer of regulatory responsibility is effective upon signature by the agencies.

Addendum A: Savannah River Site D (Power Generation and Transmission)

Power and steam generation facilities at D-Area, steam transmission lines and power transmission lines throughout the general areas of the Savannah River Site as specifically described in the lease agreement and referenced maps, which have been leased to South Carolina Electric and Gas Company, are not subject to safety orders or other occupational safety or health requirements administered by DOE; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements are fully applicable to these facilities and to working conditions of employees engaged in operating or maintaining them. Because the South Carolina Department of Labor has determined that SCE&G operations on the Savannah River Site will not be covered under the South Carolina State OSHA Plan, federal OSHA standards and enforcement will apply.

Dated: March 28, 1996.

Joseph A. Dear,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

Dated: March 26, 1996.

Tara O'Toole,
Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health.

[FR Doc. 96-8339 Filed 4-3-96; 8:45 am]


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