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• Publication Date: 11/10/1998
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 63:63086-63087
• Standard Number: 1910.7; 1910.7(c)
• Title: Southwest Research Institute, Applications for Renewal and Expansion of Recognition.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. NRTL-3-90]

Southwest Research Institute, Applications for Renewal and Expansion of Recognition

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

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice announces the applications of Southwest Research Institute for renewal and for expansion of its recognition as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory under 29 CFR 1910.7, and presents the Agency's preliminary finding. This preliminary finding does not constitute an interim or temporary approval of these applications.

DATES: Comments submitted by interested parties must be received no later than January 11, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send comments concerning this notice to: Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, NRTL Program, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N3653, Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernard Pasquet, Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, NRTL Program, at the above address, or phone (202) 219-7056.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Notice of Application

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hereby gives notice that Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has applied for renewal and for expansion of its current recognition as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). SwRI's expansion request covers the use of additional test standards. OSHA recognizes an organization as an NRTL, and processes applications related to such recognitions, following requirements in Sec. 1910.7 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1910.7). Appendix A to this section requires that OSHA publish this public notice of the preliminary finding on an application.

When first recognized, OSHA identified the Department of Fire Technology as the SwRI unit to which the recognition would, and still does, apply. The renewal and expansion will continue to apply primarily to this part of SwRI, although part of the recognition, such as the requirement for independence, applies to SwRI as a whole.[[Page 63087]]

SwRI's previous application as an NRTL covered its recognition as an NRTL (57 FR 30237, July 8, 1992), which OSHA granted on the date noted below.

The current address of the SwRI testing facility already recognized by OSHA is: Southwest Research Institute, Department of Fire Technology, 6620 Culebra Road, Post Office Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228.

General Background on the Applicant and Applications

According to publicly available information, SwRI is an "independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization * * *" In addition, SwRI has "12 technical divisions," one of which is the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division. This division includes the Department of Fire Technology.

SwRI has submitted a request for renewal of its recognition, dated October 1, 1997 (see Exhibit 6A). SWRI received its recognition as an NRTL on July 13, 1993 (58 FR 37752), for a period of five years ending July 13, 1998. Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.7 stipulates that the period of recognition of an NRTL is five years and that an NRTL may renew its recognition by applying not less than nine months, nor more than one year, before the expiration date of its current recognition. SwRI has submitted its request within the time allotted, and retains its recognition pending OSHA's final decision in this renewal process.

SwRI has also submitted a request, dated October 1, 1997 (see Exhibit 6B) to expand its recognition for additional test standards. However, OSHA has determined that some of the standards that were requested are not appropriate, as prescribed by 29 CFR 1910.7(c). Therefore, OSHA does not intend to include these standards for recognition.

Renewal of Recognition

SwRI seeks renewal of its recognition for testing and certification of products to demonstrate compliance to the following 7 test standards, which OSHA has previously recognized for SwRI:

UL 10A Tin-Clad Fire Doors

ANSI/UL 10B Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

ANSI/UL 94 Tests for Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances

ANSI/UL 155 Tests of Fire Resistance of Vault and File Room Doors

ANSI/UL 555 Fire Dampers

ANSI/UL 910 Test Method for Fire and Smoke Characteristics of Electrical and Optical-Fiber Cables Used in Air Handling Spaces

ANSI/UL 1887 Fire Test of Plastic Sprinkler Pipe for Flame and Smoke Characteristics

The designations and titles of the above test standards were current at the time of the preparation of this notice. They may differ from those that OSHA used in the original recognition of the test standards published in the Federal Register. In addition, OSHA had recognized SwRI for ASTM E152 but the standards organization has since withdrawn this standard. As a result, this standard is not included in SwRI's renewal. The standards organization has indicated that it is working on a replacement standard.

Expansion of Recognition--Additional Test Standards

SwRI seeks recognition for testing and certification of products to demonstrate compliance to the following 3 test standards, and OSHA has determined the standards are appropriate, as prescribed by 29 CFR 1910.7(c). OSHA recognition of any NRTL for a particular test standard is limited to products for which OSHA standards require third party testing and certification before use in the workplace.

UL 162 Foam Equipment and Liquid Concentrates

ANSI/UL 711 Rating and Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishers

UL 2085 Insulated Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Preliminary Finding on the Applications

SwRI has submitted acceptable requests for renewal and expansion of its recognition as an NRTL. In connection with the requests, OSHA has performed an on-site review of the SwRI facility in San Antonio, Texas, on March 30-April 2, 1998. The review focused on the testing and certification activities performed by the Department of Fire Technology in its capacity as an NRTL. Discrepancies noted by the auditor during the on-site review were addressed by SwRI following the on-site evaluation and are included in the on-site review report (see Exhibit 7).

Following a review of the application file, the on-site review report, and other pertinent documents, the NRTL Program staff has concluded that OSHA can grant to the SwRI Department of Fire Technology facility in San Antonio, Texas: (1) The renewal of recognition for the test standards noted above, and (2) the expansion to use the additional 3 test standards. The staff therefore recommended to the Assistant Secretary that the applications be preliminarily approved.

Based upon the recommendation of the staff, the Assistant Secretary has made a preliminary finding that the SwRI Department of Fire Technology San Antonio, Texas can meet the recognition requirements, as prescribed by 29 CFR 1910.7, for the renewal and the expansion of recognition. This preliminary finding does not constitute an interim or temporary approval of the applications.

OSHA welcomes public comments, in sufficient detail, as to whether SwRI has met the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7 for the renewal and expansion of its recognition as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. Your comment must consist of pertinent written documents and exhibits. To consider it, OSHA must receive the comment at the address provided above (see ADDRESS), no later than the last date for comments (see DATES above). You may obtain or review copies of SwRI's requests, the on-site review report, and all submitted comments, as received, by contacting the Docket Office, Room N2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, at the above address. You should refer to Docket No. NRTL-3-90, the permanent record of public information on SwRI's recognition.

The NRTL Program staff will review all timely comments, and after resolution of issues raised by these comments, will recommend whether to grant SwRI's renewal and expansion requests. The Assistant Secretary will make the final decision on granting the renewal and expansion, and in making this decision, may undertake other proceedings that are prescribed in Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.7. OSHA will publish a public notice of this final decision in the Federal Register.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 28th day of October, 1998.

Charles N. Jeffress,
Assistant Secretary.

[FR Doc. 98-30114 Filed 11-9-98; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-U


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