Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 09/14/2009
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 74:46958-46964
• Standard Number: 1910; 1911; 1926
• Title: Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Limited Reopening of Record; Notice of Informal Public Hearing

[Federal Register: September 14, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 176)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 46958-46964]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr14se09-23]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Parts 1910, 1926

[Docket OSHA-S215-2006-0063]
RIN 1218-AB67

 
Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; 
Electrical Protective Equipment; Limited Reopening of Record; Notice of 
Informal Public Hearing

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; limited reopening of the rulemaking record and 
notice of public hearing.

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SUMMARY: On June 15, 2005, OSHA published a proposed rule to revise the 
general industry and construction standards for electric power 
generation, transmission, and distribution work and for electrical 
protective equipment. The proposed general industry and construction 
standards for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution 
work included revised minimum approach distance tables. Those tables 
limit how close an employee (or a conductive object he or she is 
contacting) may get to an energized circuit part. In light of recent 
changes to one of the consensus standards on which OSHA relied in 
formulating the proposed minimum approach distances, OSHA is reopening 
the record on this proposal to obtain additional comments related to 
the proposed minimum approach distances. The record will remain open on 
this limited basis until October 15, 2009. OSHA is also announcing a 
public hearing on the issues raised in this notice.

DATES: Comments: Comments must be submitted (transmitted, postmarked, 
or delivered) no later than October 15, 2009.
    Notices of intention to appear: Interested persons who intend to 
present testimony or question witnesses at the public hearing must 
submit (transmit, postmark, or deliver) notices of intention to appear no 
later than October 1, 2009.
    Hearing testimony and evidence: Interested persons who request more 
than 10 minutes to present testimony or who intend to submit 
documentary evidence at the hearing must submit (transmit, postmark, or 
deliver) the full text of their testimony and all documentary evidence 
no later than October 15, 2009.
    Public hearing: The informal public hearing will be held from 9:30 
a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on October 28, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Public hearing: The informal public hearing will be held in 
Room N3437A, B, and C at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.
    Comments, notices of intention to appear, hearing testimony, and 
documentary evidence: You may submit comments, notices of intention to 
appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence, identified by 
Docket No. OSHA-S215-2006-0063, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: If your comments, including attachments, do not 
exceed 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 
693-1648.
     Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger, or courier 
service: You must submit two copies of your comments and attachments to 
the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-S215-2006-0063, U.S. Department 
of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210; telephone (202) 693-2350 (OSHA's TTY number is (877) 889-5627). 
Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger, and courier service) are 
accepted during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal 
business hours, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., ET.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and the 
docket number (Docket No. OSHA-S215-2006-0063) or regulation identifier 
number (RIN 1218-AB67) for this rulemaking. All comments received will 
be posted without change to http://dockets.osha.gov, including any 
personal information provided.
    Docket: To read or download comments and materials submitted in 
response to this Federal Register notice, go to Docket OSHA-S215-2006-
0063 at http://www.regulations.gov or at the OSHA Docket Office at the 
previously listed address. All comments and submissions are listed in 
the http://www.regulations.gov index. However, some information (for 
example, copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or 
download through that Web page. All comments and submissions, including 
copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the 
OSHA Docket Office.
    Electronic copies of this Federal Register document are available 
at http://www.regulations.gov. This document, as well as news releases 
and other relevant information, also are available at OSHA's Web page 
at http://www.osha.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Press inquiries and general 
information: Ms. Jennifer Ashley, Office of Communications, Room N-
3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1999.
    Technical information: David Wallis, OSHA, Office of Engineering 
Safety, Room N-3609, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2277.
    Hearings: Ms. Veneta Chatmon, OSHA, Office of Communications, Room 
N-3647; 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone 
(202) 693-1999; e-mail chatmon.veneta@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 15, 2005, OSHA issued a proposed 
rule to revise the general industry and construction standards for 
electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work and for 
electrical protective equipment (70 FR 34822). The Agency solicited 
public comments, and held a public hearing on March 6 through 14, 2006. 
Administrative Law Judge William Colwell set a deadline of July 14, 
2006, for filing written comments, summations, position statements, and 
briefs.
    The proposed requirements for electric power generation, 
transmission, and distribution work for general industry and 
construction would be contained in 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR part 
1926, subpart V (Sec. Sec.  1926.950 through 1926.968), respectively. 
Proposed Sec.  1926.960(c)(1) would require employees to maintain 
minimum approach distances from exposed energized parts. The minimum 
approach distances are specified in proposed Tables V-2 through V-6. 
Existing Sec.  1910.269(l)(2) and proposed Tables R-6 through R-10 
contain equivalent requirements for general industry. OSHA developed 
the minimum approach distance tables in the proposal using principles 
adopted from the 1993 National Electrical Safety Code (NESC, ANSI \1\ 
C2-1993) \2\ and ANSI/IEEE \3\ Standard 516-1987. (See 70 FR 34822, at 
34861 (June 15, 2005) and 73 FR 62942 (Oct. 22, 2008) for a detailed 
description of the methods OSHA used to calculate the proposed minimum 
approach distances.)
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    \1\ ANSI is the American National Standards Institute.
    \2\ In promulgating the general industry standard at Sec.  
1910.269 in 1994, OSHA used minimum approach distances that matched 
the corresponding values in the 1993 NESC. The NESC subcommittee 
subsequently revised their distances in a tentative interim 
amendment correcting the tables in the 1993 NESC. The minimum 
approach distances in the pending proposal for both subpart V and 
Sec.  1910.269 are identical to the minimum approach distances that 
appeared in the NESC through the 2002 edition. For the 2007 edition, 
the NESC adopted minimum approach distances that were the same for 
voltages of 72.5 kV and lower, but that were larger for voltages of 
72.6 kV and higher. The increase in minimum approach distances for 
voltages of 72.6 kV and higher was due to the use of minimum tool 
insulation distance rather than minimum air insulation distance as 
described later in this notice.
    \3\ IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics 
Engineers, Inc.
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    On October 22, 2008, OSHA published a Federal Register notice to 
reopen the record on a limited basis for a period of 30 days, or until 
November 21, 2008, because the IEEE technical committee responsible for 
revising IEEE Standard 516 identified what in its view was an error in 
the calculations of phase-to-phase minimum approach distances for 
nominal voltages 230 kV and higher (73 FR 62942). The equation used to 
calculate the electrical component of the minimum approach distance for 
voltages over 72.5 kV included a term, a, that represented the 
saturation factor for the transient overvoltage involved. This factor, 
which was taken from a graph,\4\ increased substantially with 
increasing voltage. The minimum approach distances for phase-to-phase 
exposures were calculated using an a factor corresponding to the phase-
to-ground transient overvoltage rather than for the higher phase-to-
phase transient overvoltage. Because the minimum approach distances in 
OSHA's 2005 proposal were based on the same equations called into 
question by the IEEE technical committee, the same issue potentially 
affected the minimum approach distances in OSHA's proposal.
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    \4\ The graph, which was published in IEEE Committee Report, 
"Recommendations for safety in live-line maintenance" (IEEE T&D, 
vol. PAS-87, no. 2, pp. 346-352, Feb. 1968), was taken from test 
data. However, the underlying test data were lost. Consequently, the 
a factor had to be read from the published graph.
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    At the time the Agency published the reopening notice in October 
2008, the IEEE committee was voting on a draft revised IEEE standard 
that would have corrected the perceived error by (1) using a formula to 
calculate the a factor to avoid errors that could be made in reading values 
from the graph; and (2) extrapolating values for the a factor beyond the range 
of the underlying test data. In its reopening notice, OSHA asked for 
comments on IEEE's proposed approach for resolving this issue and 
raised several questions related to whether the final rule should 
reflect any elements of the draft IEEE standard.\5\ The reopening 
notice limited comments to issues related to minimum approach distances 
for voltages of 72.6 kV and higher (73 FR 62942).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ OSHA is repeating, in this notice, several of these 
questions in slightly different form now that IEEE has formally 
published a new version of Standard 516.
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    OSHA received only eight responses to the 2008 reopening notice. 
Most commenters generally supported the idea of incorporating into the 
final rule IEEE's proposed approach for calculating phase-to-phase 
minimum approach distances for voltages of 72.6 kV and higher. Two 
commenters, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and 
Edison Electric Institute (EEI), recommended that OSHA open the record 
again when the IEEE committee adopted a final standard (see Document 
IDs: \6\ OSHA-S215-2006-0063-0526, OSHA-S215-2006-0063-0527). EEI also 
requested an extension of the comment period, an expansion of the scope 
of the reopening to cover minimum approach distances for voltages below 
72.6 kV, and a public hearing (see Document ID: OSHA-S215-2006-0063-
0530). This notice resolves all of EEI's pending requests.
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    \6\ These are the Document IDs on the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal, http://www.regulations.gov.
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A. Minimum Approach Distances for Phase-to-Phase Exposures for Voltages 
of 72.6 kV and Higher

    The IEEE committee recently adopted and published a new edition of 
IEEE Standard 516.\7\ The revised standard adopts a new methodology, 
using a different set of formulas, for calculating phase-to-phase 
minimum approach distances for voltages of 72.6 kV and higher.\8\ These 
formulas are derived from testing for line configurations (that is, for 
system design) rather than for live-line work. In other words, the 
underlying formulas are intended to be used for determining appropriate 
conductor spacing rather than for determining minimum approach 
distances appropriate for employees performing live-line work. To 
account for the presence of the employee working in an aerial lift 
bucket within the air gap between the two phase conductors, the 
committee incorporated the concept of a floating electrode in the air 
gap. The committee's approach to determining the electrical component 
of the minimum approach distance can be summarized as follows:
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    \7\ This document, IEEE Standard 516-2009, is available for 
inspection and copying in the Docket Office at the address listed in 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    \8\ The approach for extrapolating values for the a factor that 
the IEEE committee was considering at the time of the 2008 reopening 
notice, which assumed that the value continued to increase in a 
linear fashion, failed to achieve consensus (73 FR 62942).
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    1. Start with a formula to calculate the critical sparkover voltage 
\9\ for the distance between two conductors.
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    \9\ The critical sparkover voltage, or V50, is the 
voltage that will sparkover a specified distance 50 percent of the 
time.
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    2. Modify the formula to account for a 3.3-meter floating electrode 
to represent an employee working within an aerial lift bucket between 
the phase conductors.
    3. Modify the formula to convert the critical sparkover voltage to 
a withstand voltage.\10\
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    \10\ The withstand voltage is the voltage at which sparkover is 
not likely to occur across a specified distance. It is the voltage 
taken at the 3[sigma] point below the sparkover voltage, assuming 
that the sparkover curve follows a normal distribution.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. Determine the maximum transient overvoltage on the line and 
substitute that value for the withstand voltage.
    5. Rearrange the equation to solve for distance.
    In more technical detail, this approach is as follows:
    1. The equation for calculating the critical sparkover voltage for 
a given distance between two conductors includes a gap factor, k. This 
factor depends on several variables:

alpha = the proportion of the negative switching impulse voltage to 
the total phase-to-phase impulse voltage.
Ddesign L	L = the design phase-to-phase clearance
H = the average height of the phase above the ground

    Table 1 shows the values recommended by IEEE Standard 516-2009 for 
these variables and the resultant gap factors.

                  Table 1--Recommended Gap Factors (k)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Ddesign L	L/
      Phase-to-phase voltage          Alpha          H            k
------------------------------------------------------------------------
<= 242 kV........................         0.33          0.8        1.451
> 242 kV.........................         0.41          0.8        1.530
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    IEEE Standard 516-2009 uses the following equation to calculate the 
critical sparkover voltage for the designed gap between two phase 
conductors:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.000

Where:

V50 = the critical sparkover voltage in kilovolts
k = the gap factor from Table 1
Dl-l = the sparkover distance in meters
    2. When live-line bare-hand work\11\ is performed, the employee is 
typically positioned between two or more phase conductors. The employee 
could be working, for example, from an aerial lift platform or a 
conductor cart. These devices and the worker are both conductive. The 
presence of a conductive object in the air gap reduces its dielectric 
strength. IEEE Standard 516-2009 introduces a constant, KF, to account 
for the presence of the employee and other conductive objects in the 
air gap. IEEE Standard 516-2009 uses KF equal to 0.9 to accommodate a 
3.3-meter conductive object in the air gap. This value is equivalent to 
a 10 percent reduction in the dielectric strength of the gap.
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    \11\ This is work performed with the employee at the same 
potential as one of the phase conductors. The employee is insulated, 
by air or another insulating medium, from the other phase conductors 
and from ground.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With this factor included, the equation for the critical sparkover 
voltage is:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.001

    3. IEEE sets the withstand voltage at a level that is 3[sigma] 
lower than the critical sparkover voltage, as indicated in the following equation:

VW = (1--3[sigma])V50

Where:

VW = the withstand voltage
V50 = the critical sparkover voltage
[sigma] = 5 percent for a normal distribution

    4. To solve for the electrical component of the clearance, the 
maximum transient overvoltage is substituted for the withstand voltage. 
The IEEE committee used the following equation to calculate the maximum 
transient overvoltage on the line:

TL	L = 1.35TL	G + 0.45

Where:

TL	L = the phase-to-phase maximum transient overvoltage in per unit
TL	G = the phase-to-ground maximum transient overvoltage in per unit

    5. Substituting the values of the various constants and solving 
these equations for distance, IEEE Standard 516-2009 uses the following 
equations to calculate the minimum air insulation distance:
    For voltages less than or equal to 242 kV:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.002
    
    For voltages more than 242 kV:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.003
    
Where:

DL	L = the minimum air insulation distance (the minimum distance 
needed to prevent sparkover with air alone as the insulating medium)
TL	G = the phase-to-ground maximum transient overvoltage in per unit
VL	L = the rms phase-to-phase system voltage

    Tools in the air gap. The presence of an insulated tool in the air 
gap reduces the air gap's dielectric strength. IEEE Standard 516-2009 
generally gives two values for the electrical component of the minimum 
approach distance: One in air (called MAID \12\) and one with a tool in 
the air gap (called MTID \13\).\14\ Unlike the most recent edition of 
the NESC,\15\ which uses the tool distance plus an ergonomic component 
(0.31 or 0.61 meters) in setting minimum approach distances, IEEE 
Standard 516-2009 does not provide either the tool distance or a means 
of calculating it for phase-to-phase exposures. Section 4.5.2.3 
justifies this as follows:
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    \12\ MAID is the minimum air insulation distance.
    \13\ MTID is the minimum tool insulation distance.
    \14\ IEEE Standard 516-2009 increases the electrical component 
of the minimum approach distance by 10 percent (6 percent for the 
tool and 4 percent for intangibles) before the saturation factor is 
applied.
    \15\ This document, NESC, ANSI C2-2007, is available for 
inspection and copying in the Docket Office at the address listed in 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

    The definition of MTID applies only to line-to-ground 
application. It is rare that a worker would be at the potential of 
one phase while working on another phase. If a nonconductive object, 
such as an insulated tool, is placed in the air gap joining two 
phases, an engineering study should be performed. [Additional] 
testing is required to develop a line-to-line MTID. If a line-to-
line MTID is required, the same factor as used in the line-to-ground 
distance may be used. Industry practices normally use an MTID that 
is the same as or greater than the MAID.

B. Minimum Approach Distances for Voltages Up to 72.5 kV

    IEEE Standard 516-2009 contains a slightly revised methodology for 
calculating minimum approach distances for voltages up to 72.5 kV. In 
the past, IEEE Standard 516 calculated these distances using sparkover 
distances in IEEE Standard 4-1995, which are based on 60-Hz rod-to-rod 
sparkover voltages. The IEEE committee identified, in its view, two 
problems with continuing to use these distances without further 
adjustment. First, the distances are based on testing with 60-Hz 
voltages, not transient impulses. The sparkover voltage for a given 
distance is higher for a transient overvoltage than for an equal 60-Hz 
voltage. Second, the voltages in IEEE Standard 4-1995 are sparkover 
voltages, not withstand voltages. The withstand voltage for a given 
distance is smaller than the corresponding sparkover voltage. Thus, the 
two problems identified by the IEEE committee work in opposite 
directions. The first one would decrease the minimum approach distance; 
the second would increase it. IEEE Standard 516-2009 resolves both 
problems with resultant minimum approach distances that are slightly 
smaller than those in earlier editions. To overcome the first problem, 
IEEE Standard 516-2009 applies an impulse test factor of 1.3 to convert 
60-Hz sparkover voltage to the critical sparkover voltage for a 
transient overvoltage. The standard then uses a 3[sigma] margin (0.85) 
to convert the critical sparkover voltage to a withstand voltage. This 
addresses the second problem.
    Table 2 shows a comparison of the 60-Hz sparkover voltage with the 
transient overvoltage withstand voltage for different rod-to-rod air 
gaps. This table shows that a given air gap can withstand a somewhat 
higher transient overvoltage than it can a 60-Hz voltage. The 
relationship between the electrical component of the minimum approach 
distance and the maximum transient overvoltage in this range is linear 
and, in IEEE Standard 516-2009, is represented by the following linear 
formula for phase-to-ground exposures:\16\
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    \16\ IEEE Standard 516 uses this equation for voltages more than 
27.00 kV but less than or equal to 72.5 kV. For voltages less than 
27.00 kV, IEEE Standard 516 uses a distance of 0.02 meters, with the 
following explanation: "When the TOVPeak is less than 
27.00 kV, sufficient test data are not available to calculate the 
MAID, which is less than 2 cm or 0.06 ft."
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.004

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Where:

DM = Distance in meters
TOV = Maximum phase-to-ground transient overvoltage (peak)

    The corresponding formula for phase-to-phase exposures is:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP14SE09.005
    
Where:

DM = Distance in meters
TOV = Maximum phase-to-phase transient overvoltage (peak)

    Table 2--Comparison of 60-Hz Sparkover With Transient Overvoltage
                                Withstand
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Gap
                                                60-Hz  rod-    spacing
   Impulse transient overvoltage rod-to-rod        to-rod     from IEEE
             withstand (kV peak)*                sparkover    Std 4-1995
                                                 (kV peak)       (cm)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
27.6..........................................           25            2
39.8..........................................           36            3
50.8..........................................           46            4
58.6..........................................           53            5
66.3..........................................           60            6
77.4..........................................           70            8
87.3..........................................           79           10
95............................................           86           12
105...........................................           95           14
115...........................................          104           16
123.8.........................................          112           18
132.6.........................................          120           20
158...........................................          143           25
184.5.........................................          167           30
212.2.........................................          192           35
240.9.........................................          218           40
268.5.........................................          243           45
298.4.........................................          270           50
355.8.........................................          322           60
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The voltage in this column equals the voltage in the second column x
  1.3 x 0.85.

C. Comparison of the Revised IEEE Minimum Approach Distances With 
OSHA's Proposed Minimum Approach Distances

    Table 3 compares OSHA's proposed minimum approach distances with 
distances resulting from the application of the changes described 
earlier in IEEE Standard 516-2009.

                                Table 3--Comparison of Minimum Approach Distances
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 Distance (m)
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
                                                              Phase-to-ground exposure   Phase-to-phase exposure
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
        Nominal voltage in kilovolts phase to phase*                         Proposed                  Proposed
                                                               IEEE 516-    tables R-6   IEEE 516-    tables R-6
                                                                  2009        and V-        2009       and V-2
                                                                            2[dagger]                  [dagger]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0.051 to 0.300..............................................        Avoid contact
                                                                    Avoid contact
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
0.301 to 0.750..............................................         0.32         0.31         0.32         0.31
0.751 to 15.0...............................................         0.64         0.65         0.67         0.67
15.1 to 36.0................................................         0.73         0.77         0.84         0.86
36.1 to 46.0................................................         0.79         0.84         0.94         0.96
46.1 to 72.5................................................         0.89         1.00         1.15         1.20
72.6 to 121.................................................         1.01         0.95         1.37         1.29
138 to 145..................................................         1.15         1.09         1.62         1.50
161 to 169..................................................         1.29         1.22         1.88         1.71
230 to 242..................................................         1.71         1.59         2.77         2.27
345 to 362..................................................         2.75         2.59         4.32         3.80
500 to 550..................................................         3.61         3.42         6.01         5.50
765 to 800..................................................         4.82         4.53         8.87         7.91
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The voltage ranges correspond to those in OSHA's 2005 proposal. IEEE Standard 516-2009 has additional voltage
  ranges below 72.5 kV and has one additional higher voltage range, 362.1 to 420 kV. The distances shown in this
  table for IEEE Standard 516-2009 correspond to the minimum approach distance for the highest voltage in the
  range.
[dagger] See 70 FR 34822, June 15, 2005.

    As can be seen from Table 3, the IEEE's approach in the new version 
of Standard 516 results in the following relative differences in 
minimum distances:
    (1) Phase-to-ground and phase-to-phase exposures at voltages from 
751 volts to 72.5 kV. The minimum approach distances in IEEE Standard 
516-2009 for voltages from 751 volts to 72.5 kV are approximately 10 
percent smaller than the corresponding values in OSHA's 2005 proposal. 
It should be noted that, at these voltages, the minimum approach 
distances in both OSHA's proposal and IEEE Standard 516-2009 reflect 
minimum air insulation distances, not minimum tool insulation 
distances.
    (2) Phase-to-phase exposures at 72.6 kV and higher. The revised 
IEEE standard results in increases in minimum approach distances 
compared to OSHA's 2005 proposal, with substantial increases at 
voltages of 230 kV and higher.
    (3) Phase-to-ground exposures at 72.6 kV and higher. Smaller 
increases in the revised IEEE standard compared to OSHA's 2005 proposal 
are evident for phase-to-ground exposures at voltages of 72.6 kV and 
higher. The increased minimum approach distances are due to the IEEE's 
use of minimum tool insulation distance rather than minimum air 
insulation distance as the electrical component in determining the 
minimum approach distance for phase-to-ground exposures.

D. Issues on Which Comment Is Requested

    OSHA continues to support the text of its 2005 proposal and has not 
yet come to any conclusions as to whether the minimum approach 
distances in that proposal are based on faulty principles or 
calculations. In light of IEEE's recently published revisions, OSHA is 
reopening the record on the electric power generation, transmission, 
and distribution standard to invite additional comments, evidence, and 
data on the minimum approach distances proposed in 2005. In light of 
the changes made in the new IEEE standard, OSHA is now seeking 
additional public comment on the proposed minimum approach distances 
for all voltages. OSHA is interested in public feedback on the proposed 
minimum approach distances insofar as any party has specific comments 
about perceived problems or concerns with the calculation methods 
described in the 2005 proposal. The Agency strives to adopt a final 
rule that is based on sound and up-to-date engineering and scientific 
principles. Therefore, in developing the final rule based on these 
principles, OSHA will review the comments received in response to this 
notice, as well as evidence and other information gathered at the 
public hearing and in any posthearing comment period, including 
information provided in response to the following questions:
    1. Should OSHA adopt minimum approach distances that are different 
from those proposed in subpart V Tables V-2 through V-6 and proposed 
Sec.  1910.269 Tables R-6 through R-10 and, if so, what criteria and 
methodology are reasonably necessary to protect employees from hazards 
associated with sparkover?
    2. Is there any scientific basis for not extrapolating the 
saturation factor, a, beyond the limits of the test data on which 
earlier (that is, pre-2009) versions of IEEE Standard 516 relied? Is 
there any test data that can be used to validate or invalidate the use 
of extrapolated values for a?
    3. Does the new IEEE methodology for calculating minimum approach 
distances for phase-to-phase exposures at voltages of 72.6 kV and 
higher represent employee exposure conditions better than the 
methodology OSHA used to generate the minimum approach distances in the 
2005 proposal? In particular, is the use of conductor-to-conductor test 
data modified with the use of a 3.3-meter floating electrode preferable to 
the use of rod-to-rod test data for representing the range of employee 
exposure conditions?
    4. All of the minimum approach distances in the 2005 proposed rule 
are based on the minimum air insulation distance. Should the minimum 
approach distances for voltages of 72.6 kV and higher be based on the 
minimum tool insulation distance, as is the case in the 2007 NESC? 
Should the minimum approach distances for voltages of 72.5 kV and lower 
also be based on the minimum tool insulation distance?
    5. IEEE Standard 516-2009 does not provide minimum tool insulation 
distances for phase-to-phase exposures. Using an insulated boom on the 
top or middle conductor in a vertical configuration and using a live-
line rope in a similar position involve the use of an insulator across 
the air gap between two phases. Are there any other situations in which 
an insulator or a live-line tool is used between two phase conductors 
during live-line work? If, in the final rule, OSHA bases minimum 
approach distances on minimum tool insulation distances, but adopts 
IEEE's methodology to calculate phase-to-phase minimum approach 
distances, how, if at all, should the final rule address situations in 
which insulation is present across the air gap?
    6. Existing Sec.  1910.269 and OSHA's 2005 proposal set maximum 
transient overvoltages of 3.0 per unit for voltages up to 362 kV, 2.4 
per unit for voltages in the 552-kV range, and 2.0 per unit for 
voltages in the 800-kV range. The committee and the electric utility 
industry, as reflected in the NESC and earlier editions of IEEE 
Standard 516, believed that these were the highest possible transient 
overvoltages. However, IEEE Standard 516-2009 now recognizes that even 
higher maximum per-unit transient overvoltages can exist. How, if at 
all, should the final rule address the possibility of higher maximum 
transient overvoltages given that the proposed rule did not address 
this possibility?
    7. In drafting the final rule, should OSHA include the 362.1- to 
420-kV voltage range appearing in IEEE Standard 516-2009 in addition to 
the voltage ranges in the proposed rule? Do any existing systems 
operate at these voltages?
    8. OSHA does not anticipate that revising the minimum approach 
distances using one of the methods outlined in this notice will have a 
substantial impact on compliance costs. However, the Agency realizes 
that some companies might be affected by revised minimum approach 
distances. Would revised minimum approach distances in accordance with 
one or more of the methods described in this notice impose additional 
compliance costs? If so, explain the reasons for these costs and the 
frequency with which they will be incurred.
    OSHA is reopening the record solely on issues related to minimum 
approach distances. The record is not being reopened on any other 
issue.

E. Informal Public Hearing

    As previously noted, OSHA received a request to conduct a public 
hearing from EEI in response to the October 2008 reopening notice (see 
Document ID: OSHA-S215-2006-0063-0530). Based on this request, the 
Agency is scheduling an informal public hearing to address the limited 
issues related to the minimum approach distances described in this 
notice. OSHA will make witnesses available at the hearing to provide 
testimony and to take questions about the minimum approach distances 
proposed in 2005. The Agency is relying on the public to provide 
testimony and evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of the 
principles, calculations, and minimum approach distances set forth in 
IEEE Standard 516-2009. The public must use the following procedures to 
participate in the hearing.
    Informal public hearings--purpose, rules, and procedures. Pursuant 
to section 6(b)(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 
(OSH Act) (29 U.S.C. 655), OSHA invites interested persons to 
participate in this rulemaking by attending the public hearing and 
providing oral testimony and documentary evidence on the limited issues 
related to minimum approach distances raised in this notice. OSHA also 
welcomes any data or other evidence that will assist the Agency in 
developing a complete and accurate record on these issues.
    The informal public hearing on minimum approach distances will be 
held on October 28, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., ET, in Room 
N3437A, B, and C at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. An administrative law judge (ALJ) 
will preside over the hearing and will be responsible for resolving any 
procedural matters that arise.
    The legislative history of Section 6 of the OSH Act, as well as 
OSHA's rules governing public hearings (29 CFR 1911.15), establish the 
purpose and procedures of informal public hearings. Although the 
presiding officer of such hearings is an ALJ and questioning witnesses 
is allowed on crucial issues, the proceeding is largely informal and 
essentially legislative in purpose. Therefore, the hearing provides 
interested persons with an opportunity to make oral presentations in 
the absence of procedural restraints or rigid procedures that could 
impede or protract the rulemaking process. In addition, the primary 
purpose of the hearing is to gather information and clarify the record; 
the hearing will be an informal administrative proceeding rather than 
an adjudicative one in which the technical rules of evidence apply. 
OSHA's rules governing public hearings and the prehearing guidelines 
that the ALJ issues for the hearings will ensure fairness and due 
process for participants, as well as 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 be resolved in favor of 
development of the record.
    The conduct of the hearing will conform to OSHA's Rules of 
Procedure for Promulgating, Modifying, or Revoking Occupational Safety 
and Health Standards (29 CFR part 1911). The rules also specify that 
the Assistant Secretary may, on reasonable notice, issue additional or 
alternative procedures to expedite the proceedings, to provide greater 
procedural protections to interested persons or to further any other 
good cause consistent with applicable law (29 CFR 1911.4). Although the 
ALJs who preside over the hearings make no decisions or recommendations 
on the merits of OSHA proposed rules, they do have the responsibility 
and authority necessary to ensure that the hearing progresses at a 
reasonable pace and in an orderly manner and to ensure that interested 
persons receive a full and fair hearing. Accordingly, ALJs have the 
power to regulate the course of the proceedings; dispose of procedural 
requests, objections, and comparable matters; confine presentations to 
matters pertinent to the issues this reopening notice raises; use 
appropriate means to regulate the conduct of persons present at the 
hearing; question witnesses and permit others to do so; limit the time 
for such questioning; and leave the record open for a reasonable time 
after the hearing for the submission of additional data, evidence, 
comments and arguments (29 CFR 1911.16).
    Notice of intention to appear at the hearing. Interested persons 
who intend to participate in and provide oral testimony or documentary 
evidence at the hearing must file a written notice of intention to appear by 
October 1, 2009. To testify or question witnesses at the hearing, 
interested persons must submit (transmit, postmark, or deliver) a 
notice by October 1, 2009, providing the following information:
     Name, address, and telephone number of each individual who 
will give oral testimony;
     Name of the establishment or organization each individual 
represents, if any;
     Occupational title and position of each individual 
testifying;
     Approximate amount of time required for each individual's 
testimony;
     A brief statement of the position each individual will 
take with respect to the issues identified in this notice; and
     A brief summary of documentary evidence each individual 
intends to present.
    OSHA emphasizes that the hearings are open to the public; however, 
only individuals who file a notice of intention to appear may question 
witnesses and participate fully at the hearing. If time permits, and at 
the discretion of the ALJ, an individual who did not file a notice of 
intention to appear may be allowed to testify at the hearing, but for 
no more than 10 minutes.
    Hearing testimony and documentary evidence. Individuals who request 
more than 10 minutes to present their oral testimony at the hearing or 
who will submit documentary evidence at the hearing must submit 
(transmit, postmark, or deliver) the full text of their testimony and 
all documentary evidence no later than October 15, 2009.
    The Agency will review each submission and determine if the 
information it contains warrants the amount of time the individual 
requested for the presentation. If OSHA believes the requested time is 
excessive, the Agency will allocate an appropriate amount of time for 
the presentation and will notify the individual of that action, and the 
reasons for that 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, and may request that 
the participant return for questioning later. Before the hearing, OSHA 
will notify all participants of the time the Agency is allowing for 
their presentations and will provide them with prehearing guidelines 
and a hearing schedule.
    Certification of the hearing record and Agency final determination. 
Following the close of the hearing and any posthearing comment periods, 
the 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. The ALJ, however, will not make or recommend any 
decisions as to the content of the final standard. Following 
certification of the record, OSHA will review the record and issue the 
final rule based on the record as a whole.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

    Electric power, Fire prevention, Hazardous substances, Occupational 
safety and health, Safety.

Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of Jordan Barab, 
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, 
U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210. It is issued pursuant to sections 4, 6, and 8 of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), 
Secretary's Order 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), and 29 CFR part 1911.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 8th day of September 2009.
Jordan Barab,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. E9-22002 Filed 9-11-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-P


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