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• Publication Date: 10/12/2005
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 70:59290-59292
• Standard Number: 1910; 1926
• Title: Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Extension of Comment Period; Change in Date of Public Hearing

[Federal Register: October 12, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 196)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 59290-59292]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr12oc05-33]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

[Docket No. S-0215]
RIN 1218-AB67

 
Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; 
Electrical Protective Equipment; Extension of Comment Period; Change in 
Date of Public Hearing

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

ACTION: Notice of hearing; extension of comment period; reopening of 
the period to file notices of intention to appear at an informal public 
hearing; additional issues for comment.

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SUMMARY: This notice reschedules an informal hearing on the proposed 
standards on electric power generation, transmission, and distribution 
and on electrical protective equipment, which were published on June 
15, 2005. It also reopens the period to file notices of intention to 
appear at the informal public hearing, extends the period for written 
comments on the proposal, extends the period to provide the complete 
text of testimony and documentary evidence, and identifies additional 
issues on which OSHA is seeking comment. These periods are extended 90 
days with this notice.

DATES: Comments. Comments on the proposal must be submitted (postmarked 
or sent) by January 11, 2006.
    Informal public hearing. OSHA will hold an informal public hearing 
in Washington, DC, beginning March 6, 2006. The hearing will commence 
at 1 p.m. on the first day, and at 9 a.m. on the second and subsequent 
days.
    Notices of intention to appear. Parties who intend to present 
testimony at the informal public hearing must notify OSHA in writing of 
their intention to do so no later than November 11, 2005.
    Hearing testimony and documentary evidence. Parties who request 
more than 10 minutes for their presentations at the informal public 
hearing and parties who will submit documentary evidence at the hearing 
must submit the full text of their testimony and all documentary 
evidence postmarked no later than February 1, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments, notices of intention to 
appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence--identified by 
docket number (S-215) or RIN number (1218-AB67)--by any of the 
following methods.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 

Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     OSHA Web site: http://dockets.osha.gov/. Follow the 

instructions for submitting comments on OSHA's Web page.
     Fax: If your written comments are 10 pages or fewer, you 
may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.
     Regular mail, express delivery, hand delivery, and courier 
service: Submit three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S-
215, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room 
N2625, Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. (OSHA's TTY 
number is (877) 889-5627.) OSHA Docket Office hours of operation are 
8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.s.t.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this 
rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to 
http://dockets.osha.gov/, including any personal information provided. 

For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the ``Public Participation'' 
heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read comments and background 
documents that can be posted go to http://dockets.osha.gov/. Written 

comments received, notices of intention to appear, and all other 
material related to the development of the proposed standard will be 
available for inspection and copying in the public record in the Docket 
Office at the address listed previously.
    Hearing: The hearing will be held in the auditorium of the U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    General information and press inquiries: Mr. Kevin Ropp, Director, 
Office of Communications, Room N3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 
693-1999.
    Technical information: Mr. David Wallis, Director, Office of 
Engineering Safety, Room N3609, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
2277 or fax (202) 693-1663.
    Hearings: Ms. Veneta Chatmon, OSHA Office of Communications, 
Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Room N3647; 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
1999.
    Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice, as well as news, 
are available at OSHA's Web page on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 15, 2005, OSHA published a proposal 
that would update the standards on electric power generation, 
transmission, and distribution and on electrical protective equipment 
for general industry and construction (70 FR 34822). Interested parties 
were given until August 15, 2005, to submit notices of intention to 
appear at an informal hearing, and they were given until October 13, 
2005, to submit written comments.
    The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) requested that OSHA extend the 
rulemaking period by 90 days. EEI argued that an extension is warranted 
because of the involvement of their membership in electric power 
restoration following Hurricane Katrina, as follows:

EEI is the association of the nation's investor owned electric 
companies. Many EEI member companies, their employees, and 
contractors they regularly engage, are now overwhelmingly occupied 
with providing assistance in the areas affected by Hurricane 
Katrina. This is especially so as to those involved in electric 
power transmission and distribution construction, as sister 
companies work to provide mutual aid, including restoration of 
electric power, to customers of those companies whose service 
territories include affected portions of southern states.


Stated simply, those involved in managing and performing such work 
are likely to have little, if any, time now or in the coming few 
months to focus on assisting EEI to prepare comments on the proposed 
rule.

    OSHA has received similar requests from other organizations.
    The Agency recognizes that many of the parties who would be 
interested in this rulemaking are heavily involved in responding to the 
destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The affected contractors and 
electric utilities, including utilities providing assistance directly 
affected areas, are likely to be spending significant resources on the 
restoration efforts, As EEI notes, these contractors and utilities will 
have little time in the next couple of months to respond to OSHA's 
request for comments on the proposed standards. Therefore, OSHA is 
extending the rulemaking period by 90 days.

Issues

    In the preamble to the proposal, OSHA specifically requested 
comments in nearly seventy areas, involving such issues as safe work 
procedures and requirements for protective equipment. For instance, 
OSHA requested comments on how employees can be insulated or isolated 
from multiphase exposure (70 FR 34831) and on whether the standard 
should require the employer to provide automated external 
defibrillators (70 FR 34842). OSHA received over 30 notices of 
intention to appear (NOITA) in response to the notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM). The NOITAs raised many issues related to the 
proposal, some of which went beyond those listed in the NPRM. OSHA will 
consider evidence introduced on these issues during the rulemaking and 
invites the public to comment on them:
     Whether the standard should include ground-to-ground, 
cradle-to-cradle, or lock-to-lock rubber glove and sleeve requirements;
     Whether the standard should include specific multicrew 
tagging requirements;
     Whether the standard should include tagging requirements 
for systems using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) 
equipment; \1\
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    \1\ SCADA is a computer system for monitoring and controlling 
equipment (in this case, electric power transmission and 
distribution lines and equipment).
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     Whether OSHA should revise the order of removal of 
protective grounds for the protection of employees as given in proposed 
Sec.  1926.962(f)(2) and Sec.  1910.269(n)(7);
     Whether the standard should include specific requirements 
for the creation of an equipotential zone;
     Whether the standard should include requirements for an 
information trail tracking the job briefing between all levels of 
employees associated with the job, for example, between the supervisor, 
employee-in-charge, and crewmember;
     Whether the standard should require fall arrest or work 
positioning equipment for employees transferring to another object 
while climbing; and
     Whether the provisions for the testing of fall protection 
equipment in proposed Sec.  1926.954(b) and Sec.  1910.269(g)(2) are 
appropriate.
    OSHA is not limiting comments, hearing requests, and documentary 
evidence to only these areas. OSHA invites comments, hearing requests, 
and documentary evidence on all issues raised by the proposal.

Public Participation--Comments and Hearings

    OSHA encourages members of the public to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting comments on the proposal, and by providing 
oral testimony and documentary evidence at the informal public hearing 
that the Agency will convene after the comment period ends. In this 
regard, the Agency invites interested parties having knowledge of, or 
experience with, safety related to working on electric power 
generation, transmission, or distribution installations to participate 
in this process, and welcomes any pertinent data and cost information 
that will provide it with the best available evidence on which to 
develop the final standard.
    This section describes the procedures the public must use to submit 
their comments to the docket in a timely manner, and to schedule an 
opportunity to deliver oral testimony and provide documentary evidence 
at the informal public hearings. Comments, notices of intention to 
appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence will be available 
for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You also should 
read the earlier sections titled DATES and ADDRESSES for additional 
information on submitting comments, documents, and requests to the 
Agency for consideration in this rulemaking.
    Written comments. OSHA invites interested parties to submit written 
data, views, and arguments concerning this proposal. In particular, 
OSHA encourages interested parties to comment on the various issues 
raised in the summary and explanation of the proposal (70 FR 34826-
34893) and in this notice. When submitting comments, parties must 
follow the procedures specified earlier in the sections titled DATES 
and ADDRESSES. The comments must clearly identify the provision of the 
proposal you are addressing, the position taken with respect to each 
issue, and the basis for that position. Comments, along with supporting 
data and references, received by the end of the specified comment 
period will become part of the proceedings record, and will be 
available for public inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office.
    Informal Public Hearing. Pursuant to section 6(b)(3) of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act, members of the public will have an 
opportunity at an informal public hearing to provide oral testimony 
concerning the issues raised in this proposal. The hearings will 
connect at 1 p.m. on March 6, 2006. At that time, the presiding 
administrative law judge (ALJ) will resolve any procedural matters 
relating to the proceeding. The hearings will reconvene on subsequent 
days at 9 a.m.
    The legislative history of section 6 of the OSH Act, as well as 
OSHA's regulation governing public hearings (29 CFR 1911.15), 
establishes the purpose and procedures of informal public hearings. 
Although the presiding officer of such hearings is an ALJ, and 
questioning by interested parties is allowed on crucial issues, the 
proceeding is informal and legislative in purpose. Therefore, the 
hearing provides interested parties with an opportunity to make 
effective and expeditious oral presentations in the absence of 
procedural restraints or rigid procedures that could impede or protract 
the rulemaking process. In addition, the hearing is an informal 
administrative proceeding, rather than an adjudicative one in which the 
technical rules of evidence would apply, because its primary purpose is 
to gather and clarify information. The regulations that govern public 
hearings, and the prehearing guidelines issued for this hearing, will 
ensure participants fairness and due process, and will facilitate the 
development of a clear, accurate, and complete record. Accordingly, 
application of these rules and guidelines will be such that questions 
of relevance, procedure, and participation generally will favor 
development of the record.
    Conduct of the hearing will conform to the provisions of 29 CFR 
part 1911, ``Rules of Procedure for Promulgating, Modifying, or 
Revoking Occupational Safety and Health Standards.'' The regulation at 
29 CFR 1911.4, ``Additional or Alternative Procedural Requirements,'' 
specifies that the Assistant Secretary may, on reasonable notice, issue 
alternative procedures to expedite proceedings or for other good cause. 
Although the ALJs who preside over these hearings make no decision or 
recommendations on the merits of OSHA's proposal, they do have the 
responsibility and authority to ensure that the hearing progresses at a 
reasonable pace and in an orderly manner. To ensure that interested parties 
receive a full and fair informal hearing as specified by 29 CFR part 1911, 
the ALJ has the authority and power to: Regulate the course of the 
proceedings; dispose of procedural requests, objections, and comparable 
matters; confine the presentations to matters pertinent to the issuers 
raised; use appropriate means to regulate the conduct of the parties 
who are present at the hearing; question witnesses, and permit others 
to question witnesses; and limit the time for such questioning. At the 
close of the hearing, the ALJ will establish a post-hearing comment 
period for parties who participated in the hearing. During the first 
part of this period, the participants may submit additional data and 
information to OSHA; during the second part of this period, they may 
submit briefs, arguments, and summations.
    Notice of Intention to Appear to Provide Testimony at the Informal 
Public Hearing. Interested parties who intend to provide oral testimony 
at the informal public hearings must file a notice of intention to 
appear by using the procedures specified earlier in the sections titled 
DATES and ADDRESSES. This notice must provide the: name, address, and 
telephone number of each individual who will provide testimony, and 
their preferred hearing location; capacity (for example, the name of 
the establishment or organization the individual is representing and 
the individual's occupational title and position) in which each 
individual will testify; approximate amount of time required for each 
individual's testimony; specific issues each individual will address, 
including a brief statement of the position that the individual will 
take with respect to each of these issues; and a brief summary of any 
documentary evidence the individual intends to present.
    OSHA emphasizes that the hearings are open to the public, and that 
interested parties are welcome to attend. However, only a party who 
files a complete notice of intention to appear may ask questions and 
participate fully in the proceedings. While a party who did not file a 
notice of intention to appear may be allowed to testify at the hearing 
if time permits, this determination is at the discretion of the 
presiding ALJ.
    Hearing Testimony and Documentary Evidence. Any party requesting 
more than 10 minutes to testify at the informal public hearing, or who 
intends to submit documentary evidence at the hearing, must provide the 
complete text of the testimony and the documentary evidence as 
specified earlier in the sections listed DATES and ADDRESSES. The 
Agency will review each submission and determine if the information it 
contains warrants the amount of time requested. If OSHA believes the 
requested time is excessive, it will allocate an appropriate amount of 
time to the presentation, and will notify the participant of this 
action, and the reasons for the action, before the hearing. The Agency 
may limit to 10 minutes the presentation of any participant who fails 
to comply substantially with these procedural requirements; in such 
instances, OSHA may request the participant to return for questioning 
later.
    Certification of the Record and Final Determination after the 
Informal Public Hearing. Following the close of the hearing and post-
hearing comment period, the presiding ALJ will certify the record to 
the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health; 
the record will consist of all of the written comments, oral testimony, 
and documentary evidence received during the proceeding. However, the 
ALJ does not make or recommend any decisions as to the content of the 
final standard. Following certification of the record, OSHA will review 
the proposed provisions in light of all the evidence received as part 
of the record, and then will issue the final rule based on the entire 
record.

Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of Jonathan L. 
Snare, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor of Occupational Safety and 
Health, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.
    This action is 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. 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), and 29 CFR part 
1911.

    Dated: Signed at Washington, DC this 6th day of October, 2005.
Jonathan L. Snare,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor.
[FR Doc. 05-20421 Filed 10-11-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-M

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