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• Publication Date: 06/24/1999
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 64:33810-33812
• Standard Number: 1910
• Title: Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment.


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. S-042]

RIN 1218-AB77

Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment

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

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Survey.


SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has completed a survey of current patterns of personal protective equipment (PPE) payment and usage. We have submitted the survey to the docket of our rulemaking concerning employer payment for PPE (Docket S-042). The survey is available for review, and we invite the public to comment and testify on the survey. Also, OSHA is requesting information about the impact of the proposed rule on the shipyard industry.

DATES: Written comments. Written comments must be postmarked by July 23, 1999. If you submit comments electronically through OSHA's internet site, you must transmit those comments by July 23, 1999.

Informal public hearing. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on August 10, 1999.

Notice of intention to appear, testimony, and documentary evidence. Notices of intention to appear at the informal public hearing must be postmarked by July 16, 1999. If you will be requesting more than 10 minutes for your presentation, or if you will be submitting documentary evidence at the hearing, you must submit the full text of your testimony and all documentary evidence to the Docket Office, postmarked by July 23, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Survey. The Survey is available from the OSHA Docket Office (Docket S-042), Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20210. (Telephone: (202) 693-2350)

Informal public hearing. The hearing will be held in the auditorium of the U.S. Department of Labor (Frances Perkins Building), 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Comments, Testimony, and Documentary Evidence. Submit four copies of written comments, notices of intention to appear at the informal public hearing, testimony, and documentary evidence to the OSHA Docket Office at the address listed above. Please identify the document at the top of the first page as either a comment, notice of intention to appear, testimony, or documentary evidence. If your written comments are 10 pages or less, you may fax them to the Docket Office, but you must then submit a heard copy to the Docket Office postmarked within two days. The OSHA Docket Office fax number is (202) 693-1648.

You may also submit comments electronically through OSHA's Internet site. The URL of that site is as follows:
http://www.osha.gov/e-comments/e-comments-ppe.html. Please be aware that you may not attach materials such as studies or journal articles to your electronic comments. If you wish to include such materials, you must submit them separately in quadruplicate to the Docket Office at the address listed above. When submitting such materials to the Docket Office, you must clearly identify your electronic comments by name, date, and subject, so that we can attach them to your electronic comments.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On March 31, 1999, OSHA published a proposed rule (64 FR 15402) that would require employers to pay for required personal protective equipment, with limited exceptions for some types of protective footwear and protective eyewear.

We provided a written comment period and scheduled an informal public hearing to provide the public with opportunities to comment on the proposed rule and provide relevant data.

On May 24, 1999, OSHA published a Federal Register notice (64 FR 27941) rescheduling the hearing to begin on August 10, 1999, and extending the written comment period to July 23, 1999.

Survey. As discussed in the preamble of the proposed rule, OSHA conducted a nationwide telephone survey of employers to obtain more accurate data on current patterns of PPE payment and usage. The survey has been completed and is now available from the Docket Office (Docket S-042) for review and comment.

Issue concerning impact of proposed rule on collective bargaining agreements. After we issued the proposal, the Shipbuilders Council of America, a trade association of shipyards, contacted the Agency with concerns about the impact of the proposal on their members' collective bargaining agreements.

They told OSHA that the cost of welding gloves and other PPE, especially "leathers" worn to protect employees against welding sparks, slag, and molten metal, often is covered in their collective bargaining agreements. Some agreements split the cost between employers and employees, others cover the cost with pay premiums, others specify that employees pay for PPE. The Council also stated that the proposed rule would be very costly for its members.

OSHA did not specifically ask for comment on this exact issue in the proposal although we did note in the proposal that "the longshoring and marine terminal industries have a unique employer- employee relationship in may ports" (64 FR 15416). We asked if there were unique issues in these industries that should affect our considerations of the proposed rule.

Because of the concerns expressed by the Council, OSHA is interested in comments on whether requiring employers to pay for PPE, especially PPE such as "leathers" for welders, would impact the shipyard industry. Would collective bargaining agreements and hiring practices be affected? Would the kind of protective gear worn while welding change because of the proposed rule? What would be the cost to shipyard employers of any change in payment practices?

II. Public Participation

Written Comments

Interested parties are invited to submit written data, views, and comments with respect to the survey discussed above, and the questions relating to the maritime industry. If you wish to file written comments, you must submit them in one of the following forms: (1) Hard copy, in quadruplicate; or (2) an original (hard copy) with 1 disk (3 1/2" or 5 1/4") in WordPerfect 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 8.0, or ASCII, to the Docket Office, Docket No. S-042, Room N2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210.

You may also submit written comments electronically, using OSHA's website:
http://www.osha.gov/e-comments/e-comments-ppe.html. However, please be aware that you cannot attach materials such as studies or journal articles to your electronic comment. If you wish to submit such materials to supplement your electronic comment, you must submit them separately (either in quadruplicate or in single copy plus diskette) to the Docket Office at the address noted above. You must clearly identify these materials by including your name and the date and subject of your electronic comments, so that we can attach the materials to your comments.

All comments, views, data, and arguments that we receive within the specified comment period will become part of the record and will be available for public inspection and copying at the above Docket Office address.

Informal Public Hearing

The informal public hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on August 10, 1999, in the auditorium of the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. We will continue the hearing through August 20, 1999, depending on the number of public participants.

If you wish to participate in the hearing, you must file four copies of a notice of intention to appear. This notice must be postmarked on or before July 16, 1999. Your notice of intention to appear, which will be available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office (Room N2625), must contain the following information:


  1. The name, address, and telephone number of each person to appear;


  2. The capacity in which the person will appear;


  3. The approximate amount of time required for the presentation;


  4. The issues that will be addressed;


  5. A brief statement of the position that will be taken with respect to each issue; and,


  6. Whether the party intends to submit documentary evidence and, if so, a brief summary of that evidence.
Mail the notice of intention to appear to: Docket Office, Docket S- 042, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210. The telephone number of the Docket Office is (202) 693-2350.

You may also transmit your notice of intention to appear by facsimile to (202) 693-1648 (Attention: Docket S-042), by July 16, 1999, provided that you send an original and 3 copies of the notice to the Docket Office postmarked no more than 3 days later.

Filing of Testimony and Evidence Before the Hearing

If you request more than 10 minutes for your presentation at the hearing, or if you will be submitting documentary evidence, you must provide us with four copies of the complete text of the testimony and documentary evidence. One copy must not be stapled or bound and must be suitable for copying. You must provide the Docket Office with these materials postmarked no later than July 23, 1999.

We will review all testimony and evidence in light of the amount of time requested in the notice of intention to appear. If the information contained in a submission does not justify the amount of time requested, we will allocate a more appropriate amount of time and notify the participant of that fact prior to the informal public hearing.

If you do not submit your materials in accordance with the schedule and other requirements, we may limit your presentation to 10 minutes. We may also ask you to return for questioning at a later time.

Any party who has not filed a notice of intention to appear may be allowed to testify for no more than 10 minutes as time permits, at the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge, but will not be allowed to question witnesses.

Notices of intention to appear, testimony, and evidence will be available for copying at the Docket Office at the address noted above.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 21 day of June 1999.

Charles N. Jeffress,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 99-16142 Filed 6-23-99; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-M



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