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Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 03/11/2016
• Publication Type: NOTICE
• Fed Register #: 81:12954-12966
• Standard Number: 1904; 1904.4; 1904.7; 1904.8; 1904.12 ; 1904.29(b)(3); 1905.11; 1905.13; 1910.146(b); 1926; 1926 Subpart S; 1926.20(b)(2); 1926.32(f); 1926.32(m); 1926.803; 1926.803(e)(5); 1926.803(f)(1); 1926.803(g)(1)(iii); 1926.803(g)(1)(xvii)
• Title: Traylor Bros., Inc.; Grant of a Permanent Variance

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 48 (Friday, March 11, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12954-12966]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-05485]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2012-0035]


Traylor Bros., Inc.; Grant of a Permanent Variance

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

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: In this notice, OSHA grants a permanent variance to Traylor 
Bros., Inc., from the provisions of OSHA standards that regulate work 
in compressed-air environments at 29 CFR 1926.803.

DATES: The permanent variance specified by this notice becomes 
effective on March 11, 2016 and shall remain in effect until it is 
modified or revoked.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this notice is 
available from the following sources:
    Press inquiries: Contact Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office 
of Communications, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Room N-3647, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; 
email: Meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.
    General and technical information: Contact Mr. Kevin Robinson, 
Director, Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, 
Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: 
(202) 693-2110; email: Robinson.kevin@dol.gov. OSHA's Web page includes 
information about the Variance Program (see http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/variances/index.html).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Copies of this Federal Register notice.
    Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice are available at 
http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register notice, as well as 
news releases and other relevant information, also are available at 
OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.

I. Notice of Application

    On April 26, 2012, Traylor Bros., Inc., 835 N. Congress Ave., 
Evansville, IN 47715, and Traylor/Skanska/Jay Dee Joint Venture, Blue 
Plains Tunnel, 5000 Overlook SW., Washington, DC 20032, submitted under 
Section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ("OSH 
Act"; 29 U.S.C. 655) and 29 CFR 1905.11 ("Variances and other relief 
under section 6(d)"), an application for a permanent variance from 
several provisions of the OSHA standard that regulates work in 
compressed air at 29 CFR 1926.803. Subsequently, OSHA addressed this 
request as two separate applications: (1) Traylor Bros., Inc. 
("Traylor" or "the applicant") request for a permanent variance for 
future tunneling projects; and (2) Traylor/Skanska/Jay Dee Joint 
Venture, Blue Plains Tunnel ("Traylor JV"). This notice only 
addresses the Traylor application for a permanent variance for future 
tunneling projects. This notice does not address Traylor JV's 
application for a permanent variance for the Blue Plains Tunnel 
project. On March 27, 2015, OSHA granted Traylor JV a permanent 
variance for completion of the Blue Plains Tunnel (80 FR 16440).
    As previously indicated, this notice addresses grant of a permanent 
variance to Traylor applicable to future tunneling projects, from the 
provisions of the standard that: (1) Prohibit compressed-air worker 
(CAW) exposure to pressures exceeding 50 pounds per square inch 
(p.s.i.) except in an emergency (29 CFR 1926.803(e)(5)); \1\ (2) 
require the use of the decompression values specified in decompression 
tables in Appendix A of the compressed-air standard for construction 
(29 CFR 1926.803(f)(1)); and (3) require the use of automated 
operational controls and a special decompression chamber (29 CFR 
1926.803(g)(1)(iii) and .803(g)(1)(xvii), respectively).
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    \1\ The decompression tables in Appendix A of subpart S express 
the maximum working pressures as pounds per square inch gauge 
(p.s.i.g.), with a maximum working pressure of 50 p.s.i.g. 
Therefore, throughout this notice, OSHA expresses the 50 p.s.i. 
value specified by Sec.  1926.803(e)(5) as 50 p.s.i.g., consistent 
with the terminology in Appendix A, Table 1 of subpart S.
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    According to its application, Traylor is a contractor that works on 
complex tunnel projects using newly developed advanced equipment and 
procedures for soft-ground tunneling. The applicant's workers engage in 
the construction of tunnels using advanced shielded mechanical 
excavation techniques in conjunction with an earth pressure balanced 
tunnel boring machine (EPBTBM).
    Further, as stated in its application, Traylor is likely to be the 
sole contractor, as well as the general contractor in association with 
future Joint Venture partners for the construction of future tunnels at 
various sites throughout the nation. Traylor asserts that generally, it 
bores tunnels
(i.e., Blue Plains, as well as future tunnels) below the water table 
through soft soils consisting of clay, silt, and sand.
    Traylor employs specially trained personnel for the construction of 
the tunnel, and states that this construction will use shielded 
mechanical-excavation techniques. Traylor asserts that its workers 
perform hyperbaric interventions at pressures greater than 50 p.s.i.g. 
in the excavation chamber of the EPBTBM; these interventions consist of 
conducting inspections and maintenance work on the cutter-head 
structure and cutting tools of the EPBTBM.
    Additionally, Traylor asserts that innovations in tunnel 
excavation, specifically with EPBTBMs, have, in most cases, eliminated 
the need to pressurize the entire tunnel. This technology negates the 
requirement that all members of a tunnel-excavation crew work in 
compressed air while excavating the tunnel. These advances in 
technology modified substantially the methods used by the construction 
industry to excavate subaqueous tunnels compared to the caisson work 
regulated by the current OSHA compressed-air standard for construction 
at 29 CFR 1926.803. Such advances reduce the number of workers exposed, 
and the total duration of exposure to hyperbaric pressure during tunnel 
construction.
    Using shielded mechanical-excavation techniques, in conjunction 
with precast concrete tunnel liners and backfill grout, EPBTBMs provide 
methods to achieve the face pressures required to maintain a stabilized 
tunnel face through various geologies, and isolate that pressure to the 
forward section (the working chamber) of the EPBTBM. Interventions in 
the working chamber (the pressurized portion of the EPBTBM) take place 
only after halting tunnel excavation and preparing the machine and crew 
for an intervention. Interventions occur to inspect or maintain the 
mechanical-excavation components located in the working chamber. 
Maintenance conducted in the working chamber includes changing 
replaceable cutting tools and disposable wear bars, and, in rare cases, 
repairing structural damage to the cutter head.
    In addition to innovations in tunnel-excavation methods, Traylor 
asserts that innovations in hyperbaric medicine and technology improve 
the safety of decompression from hyperbaric exposures. According to 
Traylor, the use of decompression protocols incorporating oxygen is 
more efficient, effective, and safer for tunnel workers than compliance 
with the decompression tables specified by the existing OSHA standard 
(29 CFR part 1926, subpart S, Appendix A decompression tables). These 
hyperbaric exposures are made safe by advances in technology, a better 
understanding of hyperbaric medicine, and the development of a project-
specific Hyperbaric Operations Manual (HOM) that requires specialized 
medical support and hyperbaric supervision to provide assistance to a 
team of specially trained man-lock attendants and hyperbaric workers or 
CAWs.
    OSHA initiated a technical review of the Traylor's variance 
application and developed a set of follow-up questions that it sent to 
Traylor on September 17, 2012 (Ex. OSHA-2012-0035-0003). On October 26, 
2012, Traylor submitted its response and a request for an interim order 
for the Blue Plains Tunnel Project, as well as future projects (Ex. 
OSHA-2012-0035-0013). In its response to OSHA's follow-up questions, 
Traylor indicated that the maximum pressure to which it is likely to 
expose workers during future project interventions is 75 p.s.i.g and 
may involve the use of trimix breathing gas (composed of a mixture of 
oxygen, nitrogen, and helium in varying concentrations used for 
breathing by divers and CAWs for compression and decompression when 
working at pressures exceeding 73 p.s.i.g.). Therefore, to work 
effectively on future projects, Traylor must perform hyperbaric 
interventions in compressed air at pressures higher than the maximum 
pressure specified by the existing OSHA standard, 29 CFR 
1926.803(e)(5), which states: "No employee shall be subjected to 
pressure exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. except in emergency" (see footnote 1).
    As noted above, on March 27, 2015, OSHA published the Federal 
Register notice announcing the grant of a permanent variance to Traylor 
JV for completion of the Blue Plains Tunnel (80 FR 16440).
    OSHA continued its technical review of Traylor's variance 
application focusing on the use of trimix breathing gas (proposed for 
use in future tunneling projects at pressures exceeding 73 p.s.i.g.) 
and developed a second set of follow-up questions that it sent to 
Traylor on December 18, 2013 (Ex. OSHA-2012-0035-0002). On January 21, 
2014, Traylor submitted its response (Ex. OSHA-2012-0035-0009). In its 
response to OSHA's follow-up questions, Traylor provided additional 
technical and scientific information concerning successful trimix use 
on tunneling projects throughout the United States, as well as in 
Europe and Asia. Additionally, Traylor reaffirmed that the maximum 
pressure to which it is likely to expose workers during interventions 
for future tunneling projects is 75 p.s.i.g. and may involve the use of 
trimix breathing gas.
    In reviewing Traylor's application for future tunneling projects, 
OSHA focused on the following important considerations:
     Variances are granted only to specific employers that 
submitted a properly completed and executed variance application. 
Traylor has met this requirement (for the single employer application);
     This notice announces only Traylor's (single employer) 
grant of a permanent variance dealing with future projects. It does not 
address Traylor's future hyperbaric tunneling projects in association 
with unnamed joint venture partners;
     The variance conditions require Traylor to submit for 
OSHA's review and approval a project-specific HOM at least one year 
prior to the start of work on any future project;
     The variance conditions require the HOM to demonstrate 
that the EPBTBM to be used on the project is designed, fabricated, 
inspected, tested, marked, and stamped in accordance with the 
requirements of ASME PVHO-1.2012 (or most recent edition of Safety 
Standards for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy) for the EPBTBM's 
hyperbaric chambers.
     This condition ensures that each future tunneling project 
can be comprehensively reviewed on a case-by-case basis prior to OSHA 
granting its approval to Traylor to proceed with its new project;
     Traylor may not begin hyperbaric interventions at 
pressures exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. until OSHA completes its review of the 
project-specific HOM and determines that the safety and health 
instructions and measures it specifies are appropriate, comply with the 
conditions of the variance, adequately protect the safety and health of 
CAWs, and so notifies the applicant; and
     Traylor is required to submit new applications requesting 
modification of its single employer variance and approval of its 
project-specific HOM [with sufficient lead time (at least one year 
prior to start of work on any future project), to allow OSHA to 
complete the variance modification process], upon forming any future 
joint ventures.
    Further, on December 6, 2012, OSHA published a Federal Register 
notice (77 FR 72781) announcing a request for information (RFI) for its 
continuing regulatory reviews named standards improvement projects 
(SIPs). The Agency conducted similar regulatory reviews of its existing 
standards
previously and issued this latest RFI to initiate another of these 
regulatory reviews, and naming this review the Standards Improvement 
Project--Phase IV (SIP--IV). The purpose of SIP--IV is to improve and 
streamline OSHA standards by removing or revising requirements that are 
confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with 
other standards. Additionally, the regulatory review also is designed 
to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing employees' 
safety and health. SIP--IV will focus primarily on OSHA's construction 
standards.
    As part of SIP-IV, OSHA is considering updating the decompression 
tables in Appendix A (1926.803(f)(1)) (77 FR 72783). This proposed 
action would permit employers to use decompression procedures and 
updated decompression tables that take advantage of new hyperbaric 
technologies used widely in extreme hyperbaric exposures. If the 
planned SIP-IV revises Appendix A, Traylor (and similar tunneling 
contractors previously granted a variance) will still require 
hyperbaric tunneling variances to address portions of the standard not 
covered by SIP-IV (i.e., 29 CFR 1926.803(e)(5); .803(g)(1)(iii) and 
.803(g)(1)(xvii)).
    If SIP-IV is completed (including the update of the decompression 
tables in Appendix A (1926.803(f)(1)), OSHA will modify Traylor's 
(single employer) and similar variances granted to other employers to 
include the applicable SIP-IV provisions as appropriate.
    OSHA considered Traylor's application for a permanent variance and 
interim order for future tunneling projects. OSHA determined that 
Traylor proposed an alternative that provides a workplace at least as 
safe and healthful as that provided by the standard.
    On July 27, 2015, OSHA published a Federal Register notice 
announcing Traylor's application for a permanent variance and interim 
order, grant of an interim order, and request for comments (80 FR 
44386). The comment period expired August 26, 2015, and OSHA received 
no comments. Accordingly, through this notice, OSHA grants a permanent 
variance to Traylor.

II. The Variance Application

A. Background

    Traylor asserts that the advances in tunnel excavation technology 
described in Section I of this notice modified significantly the 
equipment and methods used by contractors to construct subaqueous 
tunnels, thereby making several provisions of OSHA's compressed-air 
standard for construction at 29 CFR 1926.803 inappropriate for this 
type of work. These advances reduce both the number of workers exposed, 
and the total duration of exposure to the hyperbaric conditions 
associated with tunnel construction.
    Using shielded mechanical-excavation techniques, in conjunction 
with pre-cast concrete tunnel liners and backfill grout, EPBTBMs 
provide methods to achieve the face pressures required to maintain a 
stabilized tunnel face, through various geologies, while isolating that 
pressure to the forward section (working or excavation chamber) of the 
EPBTBM.
    Interventions involving the working chamber (the pressurized 
chamber at the head of the EPBTBM) take place only after the applicant 
halts tunnel excavation and prepares the machine and crew for an 
intervention. Interventions occur to inspect or maintain the 
mechanical-excavation components located in the forward portion of the 
working chamber. Maintenance conducted in the forward portion of the 
working chamber includes changing replaceable cutting tools, disposable 
wear bars, and, in rare cases, repairs to the cutter head due to 
structural damage.
    In addition to innovations in tunnel-excavation methods, research 
conducted after OSHA published its compressed-air standard for 
construction in 1971, resulted in advances in hyperbaric medicine. In 
this regard, the applicant asserts that the use of decompression 
protocols incorporating oxygen and trimix is more efficient, effective, 
and safer for tunnel workers than compliance with the existing OSHA 
standard (29 CFR 1926, subpart S, Appendix A decompression tables). 
According to the applicant, contractors routinely and safely expose 
employees performing interventions in the working chamber of EPBTBMs to 
hyperbaric pressures up to 75 p.s.i.g., which is 50% higher than 
maximum pressure specified by the existing OSHA standard (see 29 CFR 
1926.803(e)(5)).
    The applicant contends that the alternative safety measures 
included in its application provide its workers with a place of 
employment that is at least as safe and healthful as they can obtain 
under the existing provisions of OSHA's compressed-air standard for 
construction. The applicant certifies that it provided employee 
representatives of affected workers with a copy of the variance 
application.\2\ The applicant also certifies that it notified its 
workers of the variance application by posting at prominent locations 
where it normally posts workplace notices, a summary of the application 
and information specifying where the workers can examine a copy of the 
application. In addition, the applicant informed its workers and their 
representatives of their rights to petition the Assistant Secretary of 
Labor for Occupational Safety and Health for a hearing on the variance 
application.
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    \2\ See the definition of "Affected employee or worker" in 
section III. D.
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B. Variance From Paragraph (e)(5) of 29 CFR 1926.803, Prohibition of 
Exposure to Pressure Greater Than 50 p.s.i.g. (See Footnote 1)

    The applicant states that it may perform hyperbaric interventions 
at pressures greater than 50 p.s.i.g. in the working chamber of the 
EPBTBM; this pressure exceeds the pressure limit of 50 p.s.i.g. 
specified for nonemergency purposes by 29 CFR 1926.803(e)(5). The 
EPBTBM has twin man locks, with each man lock having two compartments. 
This configuration allows workers to access the man locks for 
compression and decompression, and medical personnel to access the man 
locks if required in an emergency.
    EPBTBMs are capable of maintaining pressure at the tunnel face, and 
stabilizing existing geological conditions, through the controlled use 
of propel cylinders, a mechanically driven cutter head, bulkheads 
within the shield, ground-treatment foam, and a screw conveyor that 
moves excavated material from the working chamber. As noted earlier, 
the forward-most portion of the EPBTBM is the working chamber, and this 
chamber is the only pressurized segment of the EPBTBM. Within the 
shield, the working chamber consists of two sections: The staging 
chamber and the forward working chamber. The staging chamber is the 
section of the working chamber between the man-lock door and the entry 
door to the forward working chamber. The forward working chamber is 
immediately behind the cutter head and tunnel face.
    The applicant will pressurize the working chamber to the level 
required to maintain a stable tunnel face. Pressure in the staging 
chamber ranges from atmospheric (no increased pressure) to a maximum 
pressure equal to the pressure in the working chamber. The applicant 
asserts that most of the hyperbaric interventions will be around 14.7 
p.s.i.g. However, the applicant maintains that they may have to perform 
interventions at pressures up to 75 p.s.i.g.
    During interventions, workers enter the working chamber through one 
of the
twin man locks that open into the staging chamber. To reach the forward 
part of the working chamber, workers pass through a door in a bulkhead 
that separates the staging chamber from the forward working chamber. 
The maximum crew size allowed in the forward working chamber is three. 
At certain hyperbaric pressures (i.e., when decompression times are 
greater than work times), the twin man locks allow for crew rotation. 
During crew rotation, one crew can be compressing or decompressing 
while the second crew is working. Therefore, the working crew always 
has an unoccupied man lock at its disposal.
    Further, the applicant asserts that it will develop a project-
specific HOM for each future tunnel project that describes in detail 
the hyperbaric procedures and required medical examinations used during 
the planned tunnel-construction project. The HOM will be project-
specific, and will discuss standard operating procedures and emergency 
and contingency procedures. The procedures will include using 
experienced and knowledgeable man-lock attendants who have the training 
and experience necessary to recognize and treat decompression illnesses 
and injuries. The attendants will be under the direct supervision of 
the hyperbaric supervisor and attending physician. In addition, 
procedures will include medical screening and review of prospective 
CAWs. The purpose of this screening procedure is to vet prospective 
CAWs with medical conditions (e.g., deep vein thrombosis, poor vascular 
circulation, and muscle cramping) that could be aggravated by sitting 
in a cramped space (e.g., a man lock) for extended periods or by 
exposure to elevated pressures and compressed gas mixtures. A 
transportable recompression chamber (shuttle) will be available to 
extract workers from the hyperbaric working chamber for emergency 
evacuation and medical treatment; the shuttle attaches to the topside 
medical lock, which is a large recompression chamber. The applicant 
believes that the procedures included in the variance application and 
in its project-specific HOM will provide safe work conditions when 
interventions are necessary, including interventions above 50 p.s.i.g. 
OSHA will comprehensively review the project-specific HOM for each of 
Traylor's future projects prior to granting its approval for Traylor to 
proceed with its new project. Therefore, Traylor may not begin 
hyperbaric interventions at pressures exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. until OSHA 
completes its review of the project-specific HOM and determines that 
the safety and health instructions and measures it specifies are 
appropriate, conform with the conditions in the variance, and 
adequately protect the safety and health of the CAWs. OSHA will notify 
the applicant that: (1) Its project-specific HOM was found to be 
acceptable; and (2) the applicant may begin hyperbaric interventions at 
pressures exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. by complying fully with the conditions 
of the variance (as an alternative to complying with the requirements 
of the standard).

C. Variance From Paragraph (f)(1) of 29 CFR 1926.803, Requirement To 
Use OSHA Decompression Tables

    OSHA's compressed-air standard for construction requires 
decompression in accordance with the decompression tables in Appendix A 
of 29 CFR part 1926, subpart S (see 29 CFR 1926.803(f)(1)). As an 
alternative to the OSHA decompression tables, the applicant proposes to 
use newer decompression schedules that supplement breathing air used 
during decompression with air, nitrox, or trimix (as appropriate). The 
applicant asserts decompression protocols using the 1992 French 
Decompression Tables for air, nitrox, or trimix as specified by the HOM 
are safer for tunnel workers than the decompression protocols specified 
in Appendix A of 29 CFR part 1926, subpart S.
    Accordingly, the applicant proposes to use the 1992 French 
Decompression Tables to decompress CAWs after they exit the hyperbaric 
conditions in the working chamber. Also, Traylor proposes to decompress 
with trimix gas, under certain conditions specific to and described in 
detail in the project-specific HOM associated with each future 
tunneling project. Depending on the maximum working pressure and 
exposure times, the 1992 French Decompression Tables provide for air 
decompression with or without oxygen or trimix. Traylor asserts that 
using the 1992 French Decompression Tables for air, nitrox, or trimix 
decompression has many benefits, including (1) keeping the partial 
pressure of nitrogen in the lungs as low as possible; (2) keeping 
external pressure as low as possible to reduce the formation of bubbles 
in the blood; (3) removing nitrogen from the lungs and arterial blood 
and increasing the rate of elimination of nitrogen; (4) improving the 
quality of breathing during decompression stops to reduce worker 
fatigue and to prevent bone necrosis; (5) reducing decompression time 
by about 33 percent as compared to air decompression; and (6) reducing 
inflammation. Traylor asserts that the 1992 French Decompression 
Tables, Appendix B provide for air decompression with trimix 
supplementation for staged decompression for pressures ranging from 58 
to 75 p.s.i.g. As described in Section IV of this notice, OSHA's review 
of the use of air, nitrox, or trimix in several major tunneling 
projects completed in the past indicates that it contributed 
significantly to the reduction of decompression illness (DCI) and other 
associated adverse effects observed and reported among CAWs.
    In addition, the project-specific HOM will require a physician 
certified in hyperbaric medicine to manage the medical condition of 
CAWs during hyperbaric exposures and decompression. A trained and 
experienced man-lock attendant also will be present during hyperbaric 
exposures and decompression. This man-lock attendant will operate the 
hyperbaric system to ensure compliance with the specified decompression 
table. A hyperbaric supervisor (competent person), trained in 
hyperbaric operations, procedures, and safety, will directly oversee 
all hyperbaric interventions, and ensures that staff follow the 
procedures delineated in the HOM or by the attending physician.
    The applicant asserts that at higher hyperbaric pressures, 
decompression times exceed 75 minutes. The project-specific HOMs will 
establish protocols and procedures that provide the basis for alternate 
means of protection for CAWs under these conditions. Accordingly, based 
on these protocols and procedures, the applicant requests to use the 
1992 French Decompression Tables for hyperbaric interventions up to 75 
p.s.i.g. for future projects. The applicant is committed to follow the 
decompression procedures described in the project-specific HOM during 
these interventions.

D. Variance From Paragraph (g)(1)(iii) of 29 CFR 1926.803, 
Automatically Regulated Continuous Decompression

    According to the applicant, breathing air under hyperbaric 
conditions increases the amount of nitrogen gas dissolved in a CAW's 
tissues. The greater the hyperbaric pressure under these conditions, 
and the more time spent under the increased pressure, the greater the 
amount of nitrogen gas dissolved in the tissues. When the pressure 
decreases during decompression, tissues release the dissolved nitrogen 
gas into the blood system, which then carries the nitrogen gas to the 
lungs for elimination through
exhalation. Releasing hyperbaric pressure too rapidly during 
decompression can increase the size of the bubbles formed by nitrogen 
gas in the blood system, resulting in DCI, commonly referred to as 
"the bends." This description of the etiology of DCI is consistent 
with current scientific theory and research on the issue (see footnote 
12 in this notice discussing a 1985 NIOSH report on DCI).
    The 1992 French Decompression Tables proposed for use by the 
applicant provide for stops during worker decompression (i.e., staged 
decompression) to control the release of nitrogen gas from tissues into 
the blood system. Studies show that staged decompression, in 
combination with other features of the 1992 French Decompression Tables 
such as the use of oxygen, result in a lower incidence of DCI than the 
OSHA decompression requirements of 29 CFR 1926.803, which specify the 
use of automatically regulated continuous decompression (see footnotes 
9 through 18 in this notice for references to these studies).\3\ In 
addition, the applicant asserts that staged decompression is at least 
as effective as an automatic controller in regulating the decompression 
process because:
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    \3\ In the study cited in footnote 10, starting at page 338, Dr. 
Eric Kindwall notes that the use of automatically regulated 
continuous decompression in the Washington State safety standards 
for compressed-air work (from which OSHA derived its decompression 
tables) was at the insistence of contractors and the union, and 
against the advice of the expert who calculated the decompression 
table and recommended using staged decompression. Dr. Kindwall then 
states, "Continuous decompression is inefficient and wasteful. For 
example, if the last stage from 4 p.s.i.g. . . . to the surface took 
1 h, at least half the time is spent at pressures less than 2 
p.s.i.g. . . ., which provides less and less meaningful bubble 
suppression . . . ." In addition, the report referenced in footnote 
5 under the section titled, "Background on the Need for Interim 
Decompression Tables" addresses the continuous-decompression 
protocol in the OSHA compressed-air standard for construction, 
noting that "[a]side from the tables for saturation diving to deep 
depths, no other widely used or officially approved diving 
decompression tables use straight line, continuous decompressions at 
varying rates. Stage decompression is usually the rule, since it is 
simpler to control."
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    1. A hyperbaric supervisor (a competent person experienced and 
trained in hyperbaric operations, procedures, and safety) directly 
supervises all hyperbaric interventions and ensures that the man-lock 
attendant, who is a competent person in the manual control of 
hyperbaric systems, follows the schedule specified in the decompression 
tables, including stops; and
    2. The use of the 1992 French Decompression Tables for staged 
decompression offers an equal or better level of management and control 
over the decompression process than an automatic controller and results 
in lower occurrences of DCI.
    Accordingly, the applicant is applying for a permanent variance 
from the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1926.803(g)(1)(iii), which requires 
automatic controls to regulate decompression. As noted above, the 
applicant is committed to conduct the staged decompression according to 
the 1992 French Decompression Tables under the direct control of the 
trained man-lock attendant and under the oversight of the hyperbaric 
supervisor.

E. Variance From Paragraph (g)(1)(xvii) of 29 CFR 1926.803, Requirement 
of Special Decompression Chamber

    The OSHA compressed-air standard for construction requires 
employers to use a special decompression chamber of sufficient size to 
accommodate all CAWs being decompressed at the end of the shift when 
total decompression time exceeds 75 minutes (see 29 CFR 
1926.803(g)(1)(xvii)). Use of the special decompression chamber enables 
CAWs to move about and flex their joints to prevent neuromuscular 
problems during decompression.
    As an alternative to using a special decompression chamber, the 
applicant notes that since only the working chamber of the EPBTBM is 
under pressure, and only a few workers out of the entire crew are 
exposed to hyperbaric pressure, the man locks (which, as noted earlier, 
connect directly to the working chamber) and the staging chamber are of 
sufficient size to accommodate the exposed workers during 
decompression. In addition, space limitations in the EPBTBM do not 
allow for the installation and use of an additional special 
decompression lock or chamber. Again, the applicant uses the existing 
man locks, each of which adequately accommodates a three-member crew 
for this purpose when decompression lasts up to 75 minutes. When 
decompression exceeds 75 minutes, crews can open the door connecting 
the two compartments in each man lock (during decompression stops) or 
exit the man lock and move into the staging chamber where additional 
space is available. The applicant asserts that this alternative 
arrangement is as effective as a special decompression chamber in that 
it has sufficient space for all the CAWs at the end of a shift and 
enables the CAWs to move about and flex their joints to prevent 
neuromuscular problems.

F. Previous Tunnel Construction Variances

    OSHA notes that it previously granted several sub-aqueous tunnel 
construction permanent variances from the same provisions of the 
standard that regulate work in compressed air (at 29 CFR 
1926.803(e)(5), (f)(1), (g)(1)(iii), and (g)(1)(xvii)) that are the 
subject of the present application. These permanent variances were 
granted to: (1) Tully/OHL USA Joint Venture for the completion of the 
New York Harbor Syphon Tunnel [on May 23, 2014 (79 FR 29809)]; (2) 
Traylor JV for the completion of the Blue Plains Tunnel in Washington, 
DC [on March 27, 2015 (80 FR 16440)]; and (3) Impregilo Healy Parsons 
Joint Venture (IHP JV) for the completion of the Anacostia River Tunnel 
in Washington, DC [on August 20, 2015 (80 FR 50652)].
    Generally, the conditions included in this notice are based on and 
very similar to the conditions of the previous permanent variances.

G. Multi-State Variance

    Traylor stated that it performs construction of sub-aqueous tunnels 
using EPBTBM in compressed-air environments in a number of states that 
operate safety and health plans that have been approved by OSHA under 
Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 (29 
U.S.C. 651 et seq.) and 29 CFR part 1952 ("Approved State Plans for 
Enforcement of State Standards"). Because Traylor performs tunnel 
construction work nationwide, OSHA processed Traylor's application as 
one for a permanent, multi-state variance covering all states.
    Twenty-eight state safety and health plans have been approved by 
OSHA under Section 18 of the OSH Act.\4\ As part of the permanent 
variance process, the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs 
notified the State Plans of Traylor's variance application and grant of 
the interim order, and the states were provided the opportunity to 
comment. As previously noted, OSHA received no comments. Further, the 
Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs will notify the State 
Plans of Traylor's grant of a permanent multi-state variance.
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    \4\ Six State Plans (Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, 
New York, and the Virgin Islands) limit their occupational safety 
and health authority to state and local employers only. State Plans 
that exercise their occupational safety and health authority over 
both public- and private-sector employers are: Alaska, Arizona, 
California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, 
Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, 
South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and 
Wyoming.

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    Additionally, in consideration of Traylor's grant of this permanent 
multi-state variance, OSHA notes that four states have previously 
granted sub-aqueous tunnel construction variances and imposed different 
or additional requirements and conditions (California, Nevada, Oregon, 
and Washington). California also promulgated a different standard \5\ 
for similar sub-aqueous tunnel construction work. In these states that 
previously granted variances or promulgated a different standard, 
Traylor has to continue meeting state-specific requirements, despite 
OSHA's grant of this permanent multi-state variance. Traylor must apply 
separately to these states for a variance for tunnel construction work 
addressing the same or similar conditions specified by this permanent 
multi-state variance.
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    \5\ See California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Subchapter 7, 
Group 26, Article 154, available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/sb7g26a154.html.
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    Six State Plans (Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New 
York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) cover only public-sector workers and 
have no authority over the private-sector workers addressed in this 
variance (i.e., that authority continues to reside with Federal OSHA).

III. Description of the Conditions Specified for the Permanent Variance

    This section describes the alternative means of compliance with 29 
CFR 1926.803(e)(5), (f)(1), (g)(1)(iii), and (g)(1)(xvii) and provides 
additional detail regarding the conditions that form the basis of 
Traylor's permanent variance.

Condition A: Scope

    The scope of the permanent variance limits coverage to the work 
situations specified under this condition. Clearly defining the scope 
of the permanent variance provides Traylor, Traylor's employees, 
potential future applicants, other stakeholders, the public, and OSHA 
with necessary information regarding the work situations in which the 
permanent variance applies.
    As previously indicated in this notice, according to 29 CFR 
1905.11, an employer (or class or group of employers \6\) may request a 
permanent variance for a specific workplace or workplaces (multiple 
sites). When granted, the variance applies to the specific employer(s) 
that submitted the application. In this instance, the permanent 
variance applies to Traylor only. As a result, it is important to 
understand that Traylor's permanent variance does not apply to any 
other employers such as other joint ventures the applicant may 
undertake in the future. However, the variance rules of practice do 
contain provisions for future modification of permanent variances. 
Under the provisions of 29 CFR 1905.13, an applicant may submit an 
application to modify or amend a permanent variance to add or include 
additional employers (i.e., when future joint ventures are 
established).
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    \6\ A class or group of employers (such as members of a trade 
alliance or association) may apply jointly for a variance provided 
an authorized representative for each employer signs the application 
and the application identifies each employer's affected facilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Condition B: Application

    This condition specifies the circumstances under which the 
permanent variance is in effect, notably only for hyperbaric work 
performed during interventions. The condition places clear limits on 
the circumstances under which the applicant can expose its employees to 
hyperbaric pressure.

Condition C: List of Abbreviations

    This condition defines a number of abbreviations used in the 
permanent variance. OSHA believes that defining these abbreviations 
serves to clarify and standardize their usage, thereby enhancing the 
applicant's and its employees' understanding of the conditions 
specified by the permanent variance.

Condition D: Definitions

    This condition defines a series of terms, mostly technical terms, 
used in the permanent variance to standardize and clarify their 
meaning. Defining these terms serves to enhance the applicant's and its 
employees' understanding of the conditions specified by the permanent 
variance.

Condition E: Safety and Health Practices

    This condition requires the applicant to develop and submit to OSHA 
a project-specific HOM at least one year before using the EPBTBM for 
tunneling operations. The HOM will have to demonstrate that the EPBTBM 
planned for use in tunneling operations is designed, fabricated, 
inspected, tested, marked, and stamped in accordance with the 
requirements of ASME PVHO-1.2012 (or most recent edition of Safety 
Standards for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy) for the TBM's 
hyperbaric chambers. These requirements ensure that the applicant 
develops hyperbaric safety and health procedures suitable for each 
specific project. The HOM enables OSHA to determine that the safety and 
health instructions and measures it specifies are appropriate to the 
field conditions of the planned future tunnel (including expected 
geological conditions), conform to the conditions of the variance, and 
adequately protect the safety and health of the CAWs. It also enables 
OSHA to enforce these instructions and measures. Additionally, the 
condition includes a series of related hazard prevention and control 
requirements and methods (e.g., decompression tables, job hazard 
analysis (JHA), operation and inspection checklists, investigations, 
recording and notification to OSHA of recordable hyperbaric injuries 
and illnesses, etc.) designed to ensure the continued effective 
functioning of the hyperbaric equipment and operating system.
    Review of the project-specific HOM enables OSHA to: (1) Determine 
that the safety and health instructions and measures it specifies are 
appropriate, conform to the conditions of the variance, and adequately 
protect the safety and health of CAWs; and (2) request the applicant to 
revise or modify the HOM if it finds that the hyperbaric safety and 
health procedures are not suitable for the specific project and do not 
adequately protect the safety and health of the CAWs. The applicant may 
not begin hyperbaric interventions at pressures exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. 
until OSHA completes its review of the project-specific HOM and 
notifies the applicant that: (1) Its project-specific HOM was found to 
be acceptable; and (2) it may begin hyperbaric interventions at 
pressures exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. by complying fully with the conditions 
of the permanent variance.
    Once approved, the project-specific HOM becomes part of this 
variance, thus enabling OSHA to enforce its safety and health 
procedures and measures.

Condition F: Communication

    This condition requires the applicant to develop and implement an 
effective system of information sharing and communication. Effective 
information sharing and communication ensures that affected workers 
receive updated information regarding any safety-related hazards and 
incidents, and corrective actions taken, prior to the start of each 
shift. The condition also requires the applicant to ensure that 
reliable means of emergency communications are available and maintained 
for affected workers and support personnel during hyperbaric 
operations. Availability of such reliable means of communications 
enables affected workers and support personnel to respond quickly and 
effectively to hazardous conditions or emergencies that may develop 
during EPBTBM operations.

Condition G: Worker Qualification and Training

    This condition requires the applicant to develop and implement an 
effective qualification and training program for affected workers. The 
condition specifies the factors that an affected worker must know to 
perform safely during hyperbaric operations, including how to enter, 
work in, and exit from hyperbaric conditions under both normal and 
emergency conditions. Having well-trained and qualified workers 
performing hyperbaric intervention work ensures that they recognize, 
and respond appropriately to, hyperbaric safety and health hazards. 
These qualification and training requirements enable affected workers 
to cope effectively with emergencies, as well as the discomfort and 
physiological effects of hyperbaric exposure, thereby preventing 
injury, illness, and fatalities.
    Paragraph (2)(e) of this condition also requires the applicant to 
provide affected workers with information they can use to contact the 
appropriate healthcare professionals if it is suspected that they are 
developing hyperbaric-related health effects. This requirement provides 
for early intervention and treatment of DCI and other health effects 
resulting from hyperbaric exposure, thereby reducing the potential 
severity of these effects.

Condition H: Inspections, Tests, and Accident Prevention

    This condition requires the applicant to develop, implement, and 
operate a program of frequent and regular inspections of the EPBTBM's 
hyperbaric equipment and support systems, and associated work areas. 
This condition serves to: Enhance worker safety, to ensure safe 
operation and physical integrity of the equipment and work areas 
necessary to conduct hyperbaric operations, and to reduce the risk of 
hyperbaric-related emergencies.
    Paragraph (3) of this condition requires the applicant to document 
tests, inspections, corrective actions, and repairs involving the 
EPBTBM, and to maintain these documents at the job site for the 
duration of the job. This requirement provides the applicant with 
information needed to schedule tests and inspections, to ensure the 
continued safe operation of the equipment and systems, and to determine 
that the actions taken to correct defects in hyperbaric equipment and 
systems were appropriate, prior to returning them to service.

Condition I: Compression and Decompression

    This condition requires the applicant to consult with its 
designated medical advisor regarding special compression or 
decompression procedures appropriate for any unacclimated CAW. This 
provision ensures that the applicant consults with and involves the 
medical advisor in the evaluation, development, and implementation of 
compression or decompression protocols appropriate for any CAW 
requiring acclimation to the hyperbaric conditions encountered during 
EPBTBM operations. Accordingly, CAWs requiring acclimation have an 
opportunity to acclimate prior to exposure to these hyperbaric 
conditions. OSHA believes this condition will prevent or reduce adverse 
reactions among CAWs to the effects of compression or decompression 
associated with the intervention work they perform in the EPBTBM.

Condition J: Recordkeeping

    This condition requires the applicant to maintain records of 
specific factors associated with each hyperbaric intervention. The 
information gathered and recorded under this provision, in concert with 
the information provided under condition K (using OSHA 301 Incident 
Report form to investigate, record, and provide notice to OSHA of 
hyperbaric recordable injuries as defined by 29 CFR 1904.4, 1904.7, 
1904.8 through 1904.12), enables the applicant and OSHA to determine 
the effectiveness of the permanent variance in preventing DCI and other 
hyperbaric-related effects.\7\
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    \7\ See 29 CFR 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational 
Injuries and Illnesses (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9631); recordkeeping 
forms and instructions (http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKform300pkg-fillable-enabled.pdf*); and updates to OSHA's 
recordkeeping rule and Web page ((79 FR 56130); http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/index.html).
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Condition K: Notifications

    Under the provisions of this condition, the applicant is required, 
within specified periods, to notify OSHA of: (1) Any recordable injury, 
illness, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye, or 
fatality that occurs as a result of hyperbaric exposures during EPBTBM 
operations; (2) provide OSHA with a copy of the hyperbaric exposures 
incident investigation report (using OSHA 301 form) of these events 
within 24 hours of the incident; (3) include on the 301 form 
information on the hyperbaric conditions associated with the recordable 
injury or illness, the root-cause determination, and preventive and 
corrective actions identified and implemented; (4) provide its 
certification that it informed affected workers of the incident and the 
results of the incident investigation; (5) notify the Office of 
Technical Programs and Coordination Activities (OTPCA) and the OSHA 
Area Office closest to the tunnel project site within 15 working days 
should the applicant need to revise its HOM to accommodate changes in 
its compressed-air operations that affect its ability to comply with 
the conditions of the permanent variance; and (6) at the end of the 
project provide OTPCA and the OSHA Area Office closest to the tunnel 
project site with a report evaluating the effectiveness of the 
decompression tables.
    It should be noted that the requirement of completing and 
submitting the hyperbaric exposure-related (recordable) incident 
investigation report (OSHA 301 form) is more restrictive than the 
current recordkeeping requirement of completing the OSHA 301 form 
within 7 calendar days of the incident (1904.29(b)(3)). This modified 
and more stringent incident investigation and reporting requirement is 
restricted to intervention-related hyperbaric (recordable) incidents 
only. Providing this type of notification is essential because time is 
a critical element in OSHA's ability to: (1) Determine the continued 
effectiveness of the variance conditions in preventing hyperbaric 
incidents; (2) identify and implement appropriate hyperbaric incident-
related corrective and preventive actions; (3) determine the 
effectiveness of the variance conditions in providing the requisite 
level of safety to the applicant's workers; and (4) determine whether 
to revise or revoke said conditions. Timely notification enables OSHA 
to take whatever action may be necessary and appropriate to prevent 
further injuries and illnesses. Providing notification to employees 
also informs them of the precautions taken by the applicant to prevent 
similar incidents in the future.
    Additionally, this condition also requires the applicant to notify 
OSHA if it ceases to do business, has a new address or location for its 
main office, or transfers the operations covered by the variance to a 
successor company. The condition also specifies that OSHA must approve 
the transfer of the permanent variance to a successor company, allows 
OSHA to communicate effectively with the applicant regarding the status 
of the variance, and serves to
expedite the administration and enforcement of the variance provisions. 
Stipulating that an applicant is required to have OSHA's approval to 
transfer a variance to a successor company provides assurance that the 
successor company has knowledge of, and will comply with the conditions 
specified by the variance.

IV. Decision

    As noted earlier, on July 27, 2015, OSHA published a Federal 
Register notice announcing Traylor's application for a permanent 
variance and interim order, grant of an interim order, and request for 
comments (80 FR 44386). The comment period expired August 26, 2015, and 
OSHA received no comments.
    During the period starting with the July 27, 2015, publication of 
the preliminary Federal Register notice announcing grant of the interim 
order (80 FR 44386), until the Agency modifies or revokes the interim 
order or makes a decision on its application for a permanent variance, 
the applicant was required to comply fully with the conditions of the 
interim order as an alternative to complying with the requirements of 
29 CFR 1926.803 (hereafter, "the standard") that:
    A. Prohibit employers using compressed air under hyperbaric 
conditions from subjecting workers to pressure exceeding 50 p.s.i.g., 
except in an emergency (29 CFR 1926.803(e)(5));
    B. Require the use of decompression values specified by the 
decompression tables in Appendix A of the compressed-air standard (29 
CFR 1926.803(f)(1)); and
    C. Require the use of automated operational controls and a special 
decompression chamber (29 CFR 1926.803(g)(1)(iii) and .803(g)(1)(xvii), 
respectively). After reviewing the proposed alternatives OSHA 
determined that:
    D. Traylor developed, and proposed to implement, effective 
alternative measures to the prohibition of using compressed air under 
hyperbaric conditions exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. The alternative measures 
include use of engineering and administrative controls of the hazards 
associated with work performed in compressed-air conditions exceeding 
50 p.s.i.g. while engaged in the construction of a subaqueous tunnel 
using advanced shielded mechanical-excavation techniques in conjunction 
with an EPBTBM. Prior to conducting interventions in the EPBTBM's 
pressurized working chamber, the applicant halts tunnel excavation and 
prepares the machine and crew to conduct the interventions. 
Interventions involve inspection, maintenance, or repair of the 
mechanical-excavation components located in the working chamber.
    E. Traylor developed, and proposed to implement, safe hyperbaric 
work procedures, emergency and contingency procedures, and medical 
examinations for future tunneling projects' CAWs. The applicant will 
compile these standard operating procedures into a project-specific 
HOM. The HOM will discuss the procedures and personnel qualifications 
for performing work safely during the compression and decompression 
phases of interventions. The HOM will also specify the decompression 
tables the applicant will use. Depending on the maximum working 
pressure and exposure times during the interventions, the tables 
provide for decompression using the 1992 French Decompression Tables 
for air, nitrox, or trimix as specified by the HOM. The decompression 
tables also include delays or stops for various time intervals at 
different pressure levels during the transition to atmospheric pressure 
(i.e., staged decompression). In all cases, a physician certified in 
hyperbaric medicine will manage the medical condition of CAWs during 
decompression. In addition, a trained and experienced man-lock 
attendant, experienced in recognizing decompression sickness or 
illnesses and injuries will be present. Of key importance, a hyperbaric 
supervisor (competent person), trained in hyperbaric operations, 
procedures, and safety, will directly supervise all hyperbaric 
operations to ensure compliance with the procedures delineated in the 
project-specific HOM or by the attending physician.
    F. Traylor developed, and proposed to implement, a training program 
to instruct affected workers in the hazards associated with conducting 
hyperbaric operations.
    G. Traylor developed, and proposed to implement, an effective 
alternative to the use of automatic controllers that continuously 
decrease pressure to achieve decompression in accordance with the 
tables specified by the standard. The alternative includes using: (1) 
The 1992 French Decompression Tables for guiding staged decompression 
to achieve lower occurrences of DCI; (2) decompression protocols of 
air, nitrox, or trimix again to achieve lower occurrences of DCI; (3) a 
trained and competent attendant for implementing appropriate hyperbaric 
entry and exit procedures, and (4) a competent hyperbaric supervisor 
and attending physician certified in hyperbaric medicine, to oversee 
all hyperbaric operations.
    H. Traylor developed, and proposed to implement, an effective 
alternative to the use of the special decompression chamber required by 
the standard. EPBTBM technology permits the tunnel's work areas to be 
at atmospheric pressure, with only the face of the EPBTBM (i.e., the 
working chamber) at elevated pressure during interventions. The 
applicant limits interventions conducted in the working chamber to 
performing required inspection, maintenance, and repair of the cutting 
tools on the face of the EPBTBM. The EPBTBM's man lock and working 
chamber provide sufficient space for the maximum crew of three CAWs to 
stand up and move around, and safely accommodate decompression times up 
to 360 minutes. Therefore, OSHA determined that the EPBTBM's man lock 
and working chamber function as effectively as the special 
decompression chamber required by the standard.
    OSHA conducted a review of the scientific literature regarding 
decompression to determine whether the alternative decompression method 
(i.e., the 1992 French Decompression Tables) Traylor proposed provides 
a workplace as safe and healthful as that provided by the standard. 
Based on this review, OSHA determined that tunneling operations 
performed with these tables \8\ resulted in a lower occurrence of DCI 
than the decompression tables specified by the 
standard. 9 10 11
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    \8\ In 1992, the French Ministry of Labour replaced the 1974 
French Decompression Tables with the 1992 French Decompression 
Tables, which differ from OSHA's decompression tables in Appendix A 
by using: (1) Staged decompression as opposed to continuous (linear) 
decompression; (2) decompression tables based on air or both air and 
pure oxygen; and (3) emergency tables when unexpected exposure times 
occur (up to 30 minutes above the maximum allowed working time).
    \9\ Kindwall, EP (1997). Compressed-air tunneling and caisson 
work decompression procedures: Development, problems, and solutions. 
Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, 24(4), pp. 337-345. This article 
reported 60 treated cases of DCI among 4,168 exposures between 19 
and 31 p.s.i.g. over a 51-week contract period, for a DCI incidence 
of 1.44% for the decompression tables specified by the OSHA 
standard.
    \10\ Sealey, JL (1969). Safe exit from the hyperbaric 
environment: Medical experience with pressurized tunnel operations. 
Journal of Occupational Medicine, 11(5), pp. 273-275. This article 
reported 210 treated cases of DCI among 38,600 hyperbaric exposures 
between 13 and 34 p.s.i.g. over a 32-month period, for an incidence 
of 0.54% for the decompression tables specified by the Washington 
State safety standards for compressed-air work, which are similar to 
the tables in the OSHA standard. Moreover, the article reported 51 
treated cases of DCI for 3,000 exposures between 30 and 34 p.s.i.g., 
for an incidence of 1.7% for the Washington State tables.
    \11\ In 1985, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health (NIOSH) published a report entitled, "Criteria for Interim 
Decompression Tables for Caisson and Tunnel Workers"; this report 
reviewed studies of DCI and other hyperbaric-related injuries 
resulting from use of OSHA's tables. This report is available on 
NIOSH's Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/decompression/default.html.

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    The review conducted by OSHA focused on the use of the 1992 French 
Decompression Tables with air, nitrox, or trimix and found several 
research studies supporting the determination that such use resulted in 
a lower rate of DCI than the decompression tables specified by the 
standard. For example, H. L. Anderson studied the occurrence of DCI at 
maximum hyperbaric pressures ranging from 4 p.s.i.g. to 43 p.s.i.g. 
during construction of the Great Belt Tunnel in Denmark (1992-1996); 
\12\ this project used the 1992 French Decompression Tables to 
decompress the workers during part of the construction. Anderson 
observed 6 decompression sickness (DCS) cases out of 7,220 
decompression events, and reported that switching to the 1992 French 
Decompression tables reduced the DCI incidence to 0.08%. The DCI 
incidence in the study by H. L. Andersen is substantially less than the 
DCI incidence reported for the decompression tables specified in 
Appendix A. OSHA found no studies in which the DCI incidence reported 
for the 1992 French Decompression Tables were higher than the DCI 
incidence reported for the OSHA decompression tables, nor did OSHA find 
any studies indicating that the 1992 French Decompression Tables were 
more hazardous to employees than the OSHA decompression tables.\13\
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    \12\ Anderson HL (2002). Decompression sickness during 
construction of the Great Belt Tunnel, Denmark. Undersea and 
Hyperbaric Medicine, 29(3), pp. 172-188.
    \13\ Le P[eacute]chon JC, Barre P, Baud JP, Ollivier F 
(September 1996). Compressed-air work--French Tables 1992--
operational results. JCLP Hyperbarie Paris, Centre Medical 
Subaquatique Interentreprise, Marseille: Communication a l'EUBS, pp. 
1-5 (see Ex. OSHA-2012-0036-0005).
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    OSHA also reviewed the use of trimix in tunneling operations. In 
compressed-air atmospheres greater than 73 p.s.i.g., it becomes 
increasingly more difficult to work due to increased breathing 
resistance, increased risk of DCI, and the adverse effects of the 
increased partial pressures of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrogen narcosis 
occurs when a diver or CAW breathes a gas mixture with a nitrogen 
partial pressure greater than 2.54 ATA (i.e., 73 p.s.i.g.). Nitrogen 
narcosis compromises judgment, performance, and reaction time of divers 
and CAWs and can lead to loss of consciousness.\14\ There is concern 
that nitrogen narcosis may impair CAWs leading to possible safety 
issues.\15\ Exposure to oxygen at partial pressures greater than normal 
daily living may be toxic to the lungs and central nervous system under 
certain conditions. The higher the partial pressure of oxygen and the 
longer the exposure, the more severe the toxic effects. One way to 
reduce oxygen exposure is to alter the percentage of oxygen in the 
breathing mixture (see footnote 15). Trimix is a mixture of the inert 
gas helium, oxygen and nitrogen. Because helium is less dense than air, 
use of helium in compressed atmospheres decreases breathing resistance 
and allows for adjustment of the partial pressures of oxygen and 
nitrogen to reduce the incidence of nitrogen narcosis and oxygen 
toxicity.
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    \14\ United States Navy. (2011) U.S. Navy Diving Manual, 
Revision 6. Department of the Navy.
    \15\ Van Rees, Vellinga T, Verhoevan A, Jan Dijk F, Sterk W 
(November-December 2006) Health and efficiency in trimix versus air 
breathing in CAWs. Undersea Hyperbaric Medicine 33 (6), pp 419-427. 
This article reported that during construction of the Western 
Scheldt Tunneling Project, there were 52 exposures to trimix at 
81.2-84.1 p.s.i. with no reported cases of DCI. Three of 318 
exposures to compressed air resulted in DCI in this study.
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    Trimix has been successfully used in deep caisson work and 
tunneling projects including the construction of the Meiko West 
Bridge,\16\ the Western Scheldt Tunnel (see footnote 15), and in the 
Seattle Brightwater Tunneling Project.\17\ During the construction of 
the Western Scheldt Tunnel, there were fewer reported cases of DCIs in 
CAWs using trimix than in other CAWs using just compressed air, despite 
working at higher pressures (see footnotes 15 and 16). Additionally, 
the use of compressed air during the construction of the Western 
Scheldt Tunnel was also associated with a slower working pace and 
operational errors that the authors associated with the adverse effects 
of nitrogen at high pressure ((i.e., nitrogen narcosis) (see footnote 
15)). Trimix decompression tables are proprietary so large studies of 
workers with specific pressure exposures for specific trimix schedules 
are not available. Additional concerns include the lack of a defined 
recompression protocol in the case of DCI and some studies have found 
evidence of cardiopulmonary strain in divers using trimix but at 
pressures greater than those submitted for this variance (see footnote 
13).
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    \16\ Takishima R, Sterk W, Nashimoto T (1996) Trimix breathing 
in deep caisson work for the construction of Pier (P2) for the Meiko 
West Bridge. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society Meeting 
Abstract. During construction of the Meiko West Bridge, there were 
11 cases of DCI in 2059 trimix exposures for a reported DCI rate of 
1%.
    \17\ Hamilton R, Kay E (November 2008) Boring deep tunnels. 
Proceedings, 3rd of U.S.-Japan Panel on Aerospace-Diving Physiology 
and Technology, and Hyperbaric Medicine.
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    Review of the literature and reports from presentations to 
professional societies support that the incidence of DCI with this 
technique is lower than the incidence of DCIs reported with the use of 
OSHA tables. In addition, use of trimix reduces the risk of impairment 
from nitrogen narcosis and allows for the adjustment of oxygen partial 
pressure to reduce exposure to elevated oxygen partial pressures (see 
footnotes 15 and 17). Therefore, OSHA concludes that use of the 1992 
French Decompression Tables protects workers at least as effectively as 
the OSHA decompression tables.
    Based on a review of available evidence, the experience of State 
Plans that either granted variances (Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) 
\18\ or promulgated a different standard (California) \19\ for 
hyperbaric exposures occurring during similar subaqueous tunnel-
construction work, and the information provided in the applicant's 
variance application, OSHA is granting this multi-state permanent 
variance for future tunneling projects.
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    \18\ These state variances are available in the docket: Exs. 
OSHA-2012-0035-0006 (Nevada), OSHA-2012-0035-0007 (Oregon), and 
OSHA-2012-0035-0008 (Washington).
    \19\ See California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Subchapter 7, 
Group 26, Article 154, available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/sb7g26a154.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 
1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(d)), and based on the record discussed above, the 
Agency finds that when the employer complies with the conditions of the 
variance, the working conditions of the employer's workers are at least 
as safe and healthful as if the employer complied with the working 
conditions specified by paragraphs (e)(5), (f)(1), (g)(1)(iii), and 
(g)(1)(xvii) of 29 CFR 1926.803. Therefore, under the terms of this 
variance Traylor must: (1) Comply with the conditions listed below 
under section V of this notice ("Order") for the period between the 
date of this notice and until the Agency modifies or revokes this final 
order in accordance with 29 CFR 1905.13; (2) comply fully with all 
other applicable provisions of 29 CFR part 1926; and (3) provide a copy 
of this Federal Register notice to all employees affected by the 
conditions, including the affected employees of other employers, using 
the same means it used to inform these employees of its application for 
a permanent variance.

V. Order

    As of the effective date of this final order, OSHA is revoking the 
interim order granted to the employer on July 27, 2015 (80 FR 44386).
    OSHA issues this final order authorizing Traylor Bros., Inc. 
("Traylor" or "the applicant"), to comply with the following 
conditions instead of complying with the requirements of paragraphs 29 
CFR 1926.803(e)(5), (f)(1), (g)(1)(iii), and (g)(1)(xvii). This final 
order applies to all employees of Traylor Bros., Inc. exposed to 
hyperbaric conditions. These conditions are:

A. Scope

    The permanent variance applies only to work:
    1. That occurs in conjunction with construction of future 
subaqueous tunnels using advanced shielded mechanical-excavation 
techniques and involving operation of an EPBTBM;
    2. Performed under compressed-air and hyperbaric conditions up to 
75 p.s.i.g;
    3. In the EPBTBM's forward section (the working chamber) and 
associated hyperbaric chambers used to pressurize and decompress 
employees entering and exiting the working chamber;
    4. Except for the requirements specified by 29 CFR 1926.803(e)(5), 
(f)(1), (g)(1)(iii), and (g)(1)(xvii), Traylor must comply fully with 
all other applicable provisions of 29 CFR part 1926; and
    5. This final order will remain in effect until OSHA modifies or 
revokes it in accordance with 29 CFR 1905.13.

B. Application

    The permanent variance applies only when Traylor stops the tunnel-
boring work, pressurizes the working chamber, and the CAWs either enter 
the working chamber to perform interventions (i.e., inspect, maintain, 
or repair the mechanical-excavation components), or exit the working 
chamber after performing interventions.

C. List of Abbreviations

    Abbreviations used throughout this permanent variance include the 
following:

1. ATA--Atmosphere Absolute
2. CAW--Compressed-air worker
3. CFR--Code of Federal Regulations
4. DCI--Decompression Illness
5. DCS--Decompression Sickness (or the bends)
6. EPBTBM--Earth Pressure Balanced Tunnel Boring Machine
7. HOM--Hyperbaric Operations and Safety Manual
8. JHA--Job hazard analysis
9. OSHA--Occupational Safety and Health Administration
10. OTPCA--Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities

D. Definitions

    The following definitions apply to this permanent variance. These 
definitions supplement the definitions in each project-specific HOM.
    1. Affected employee or worker--an employee or worker who is 
affected by the conditions of this proposed permanent variance, or any 
one of his or her authorized representatives. The term "employee" has 
the meaning defined and used under the Occupational Safety and Health 
Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).
    2. Atmospheric pressure--the pressure of air at sea-level, 
generally, 14.7 p.s.i.a., 1 atmosphere absolute, or 0 p.s.i.g.
    3. Compressed-air worker--an individual who is specially trained 
and medically qualified to perform work in a pressurized environment 
while breathing air at pressures up to 75 p.s.i.g.
    4. Competent person--an individual who is capable of identifying 
existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working 
conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, 
and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to 
eliminate them.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ Adapted from 29 CFR 1926.32(f).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5. Decompression illness--an illness (also called decompression 
sickness (DCS) or the bends) caused by gas bubbles appearing in body 
compartments due to a reduction in ambient pressure. Examples of 
symptoms of decompression illness include (but are not limited to): 
Joint pain (also known as the `bends' for agonizing pain or the 
`niggles' for slight pain); areas of bone destruction (termed dysbaric 
osteonecrosis); skin disorders (such as cutis marmorata, which causes a 
pink marbling of the skin); spinal cord and brain disorders (such as 
stroke, paralysis, paresthesia, and bladder dysfunction); 
cardiopulmonary disorders, such as shortness of breath; and arterial 
gas embolism (gas bubbles in the arteries that block blood flow).\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ See Appendix 10 of "A Guide to the Work in Compressed-Air 
Regulations 1996," published by the United Kingdom Health and 
Safety Executive available from NIOSH at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/archive/pdfs/NIOSH-254/compReg1996.pdf*.

    Note:  Health effects associated with hyperbaric intervention 
but not considered symptoms of DCI can include: Barotrauma (direct 
damage to air-containing cavities in the body such as ears, sinuses 
and lungs); nitrogen narcosis (reversible alteration in 
consciousness that may occur in hyperbaric environments and is 
caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure); 
and oxygen toxicity (a central nervous system condition resulting 
from the harmful effects of breathing molecular oxygen 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
(O2) at elevated partial pressures).

    6. Earth Pressure Balanced Tunnel Boring Machine--the machinery 
used to excavate the tunnel.
    7. Hot work--any activity performed in a hazardous location that 
may introduce an ignition source into a potentially flammable 
atmosphere.\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Also see 29 CFR 1910.146(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    8. Hyperbaric--at a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure.
    9. Hyperbaric intervention--a term that describes the process of 
stopping the EPBTBM and preparing and executing work under hyperbaric 
pressure in the working chamber for the purpose of inspecting, 
replacing, or repairing cutting tools and/or the cutterhead structure.
    10. Hyperbaric Operations Manual--a detailed, project-specific 
health and safety plan developed and implemented by Traylor for working 
in compressed air during future hyperbaric tunnel projects.
    11. Job hazard analysis--an evaluation of tasks or operations to 
identify potential hazards and to determine the necessary controls.
    12. Man lock--an enclosed space capable of pressurization, and used 
for compressing or decompressing any employee or material when either 
is passing into or out of a working chamber.
    13. Nitrox--a mixture of oxygen and air and refers to mixtures 
which are more than 21% oxygen.
    14. Pressure--a force acting on a unit area. Usually expressed as 
pounds per square inch (p.s.i.).
    15. p.s.i.--pounds per square inch, a common unit of measurement of 
pressure; a pressure given in p.s.i. corresponds to absolute pressure.
    16. p.s.i.a--pounds per square inch absolute, or absolute pressure, 
is the sum of the atmospheric pressure and gauge pressure. At sea-
level, atmospheric pressure is approximately 14.7 p.s.i. Adding 14.7 to 
a pressure expressed in units of p.s.i.g. will yield the absolute 
pressure, expressed as p.s.i.a.
    17. p.s.i.g.--pounds per square inch gauge, a common unit of 
pressure; pressure expressed as p.s.i.g. corresponds to pressure 
relative to atmospheric pressure. At sea-level, atmospheric pressure is 
approximately 14.7 p.s.i. Subtracting 14.7 from a pressure expressed in 
units of p.s.i.a.
yields the gauge pressure, expressed as p.s.i.g.
    18. Qualified person--an individual who, by possession of a 
recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who, by 
extensive knowledge, training, and experience, successfully 
demonstrates an ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the 
subject matter, the work, or the project.\23\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Adapted from 29 CFR 1926.32(m).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    19. Trimix--a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and helium that is used 
in hyperbaric environments instead of air to reduce nitrogen narcosis 
and the hazards of oxygen toxicity.
    20. Working chamber--an enclosed space in the EPBTBM in which CAWs 
perform interventions, and which is accessible only through a man lock.

E. Safety and Health Practices

    1. Traylor must develop and implement a project-specific HOM, and 
submit the HOM to OSHA at least one year before using the EPBTBM on the 
project for which the HOM applies. The HOM shall provide the governing 
requirements regarding expected safety and health hazards (including 
anticipated geological conditions) and hyperbaric exposures during the 
tunnel-construction project.
    2. The HOM must demonstrate that the EPBTBM to be used on the 
project is designed, fabricated, inspected, tested, marked, and stamped 
in accordance with the requirements of ASME PVHO-1.2012 (or most recent 
edition of Safety Standards for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy) 
for the EPBTBM's hyperbaric chambers.
    3. When submitting the project-specific HOM to OSHA for approval, 
Traylor must demonstrate that it informed its employees of the HOM and 
their right to petition the Assistant Secretary for a variance by:
    a. Giving a copy of the proposed project-specific HOM to the 
authorized employee representatives;
    b. posting a statement giving a summary of the proposed project-
specific HOM and specifying where its employees may examine a copy of 
the proposed HOM (at the place(s) where the applicant normally posts 
notices to employees or, instead of a summary, posting the proposed HOM 
itself); or
    c. using other appropriate means.
    4. Traylor must not begin hyperbaric interventions at pressures 
exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. until OSHA completes its review of the project-
specific HOM and determines that the safety and health instructions and 
measures it specifies are appropriate, comply with the conditions of 
the variance, and adequately protect the safety and health of CAWs. 
Traylor must receive a written acknowledgement from OSHA stating that: 
(1) OSHA found its project-specific HOM acceptable; and (2) OSHA 
determined that it can begin hyperbaric interventions at pressures 
exceeding 50 p.s.i.g. by complying fully with the conditions of the 
permanent variance (as an alternative to complying with the 
requirements of the standard). Once approved by OSHA, the HOM becomes 
part of this variance for the purposes of the project for which it was 
developed.
    5. Traylor must implement the safety and health instructions 
included in the manufacturer's operations manuals for the EPBTBM, and 
the safety and health instructions provided by the manufacturer for the 
operation of decompression equipment.
    6. Traylor must use air or trimix as the only breathing gas in the 
working chamber.
    7. Traylor must use the 1992 French Decompression Tables for air, 
nitrox, and trimix decompression specified in the HOM, specifically, 
the extracted portions of the 1992 French Decompression tables titled, 
"French Regulation Air Standard Tables."
    8. Traylor must equip man locks used by its employees with an air, 
nitrox, or trimix-delivery system as specified by the HOM approved by 
OSHA for the project. Traylor is required to not store oxygen or other 
compressed gases used in conjunction with hyperbaric work in the 
tunnel.
    9. Workers performing hot work under hyperbaric conditions must use 
flame-retardant personal protective equipment and clothing.
    10. In hyperbaric work areas, Traylor must maintain an adequate 
fire-suppression system approved for hyperbaric work areas.
    11. Traylor must develop and implement one or more JHAs for work in 
the hyperbaric work areas, and review, periodically and as necessary 
(e.g., after making changes to a planned intervention that affects its 
operation), the contents of the JHAs with affected employees. The JHAs 
shall include all the job functions that the risk assessment \24\ 
indicates are essential to prevent injury or illness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ See ANSI/AIHA Z10-2012, American National Standard for 
Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, for reference.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    12. Traylor must develop a set of checklists to guide compressed-
air work and ensure that employees follow the procedures required by 
this permanent variance (including all procedures required by the HOM 
approved by OSHA for the project, which this variance incorporates by 
reference). The checklists shall include all steps and equipment 
functions that the risk assessment indicates are essential to prevent 
injury or illness during compressed-air work.
    13. Traylor must ensure that the safety and health provisions of 
each HOM adequately protect the workers of all contractors and 
subcontractors involved in hyperbaric operations for the project to 
which the HOM applies.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ See ANSI/ASSE A10.33-2011, American National Standard for 
Construction and Demolition Operations--Safety and Health Program 
Requirements for Multi-Employer Projects, for reference.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

F. Communication

    1. Prior to beginning a shift, Traylor must implement a system that 
informs workers exposed to hyperbaric conditions of any hazardous 
occurrences or conditions that might affect their safety, including 
hyperbaric incidents, gas releases, equipment failures, earth or rock 
slides, cave-ins, flooding, fires, or explosions.
    2. Traylor must provide a power-assisted means of communication 
among affected workers and support personnel in hyperbaric conditions 
where unassisted voice communication is inadequate.
    a. Traylor must use an independent power supply for powered 
communication systems, and these systems shall have to operate such 
that use or disruption of any one phone or signal location will not 
disrupt the operation of the system from any other location.
    b. Traylor must test communication systems at the start of each 
shift and as necessary thereafter to ensure proper operation.

G. Worker Qualifications and Training

    Traylor must:
    1. Ensure that each affected worker receives effective training on 
how to safely enter, work in, exit from, and undertake emergency 
evacuation or rescue from, hyperbaric conditions, and document this 
training.
    2. Provide effective instruction, before beginning hyperbaric 
operations, to each worker who performs work, or controls the exposure 
of others, in hyperbaric conditions, and document this instruction. The 
instruction must include:
    a. The physics and physiology of hyperbaric work;
    b. Recognition of pressure-related injuries;
    c. Information on the causes and recognition of the signs and 
symptoms
associated with decompression illness, and other hyperbaric 
intervention-related health effects (e.g., barotrauma, nitrogen 
narcosis, and oxygen toxicity).
    d. How to avoid discomfort during compression and decompression;
    e. Information the workers can use to contact the appropriate 
healthcare professionals should the workers have concerns that they may 
be experiencing adverse health effects from hyperbaric exposure; and
    f. Procedures and requirements applicable to the employee in the 
project-specific HOM.
    3. Repeat the instruction specified in paragraph (G)(2) of this 
condition periodically and as necessary (e.g., after making changes to 
its hyperbaric operations).
    4. When conducting training for its hyperbaric workers make this 
training available to OSHA personnel and notify the OTPCA at OSHA's 
National Office and OSHA's nearest affected Area Office before the 
training takes place.

H. Inspections, Tests, and Accident Prevention

    1. Traylor must initiate and maintain a program of frequent and 
regular inspections of the EPBTBM's hyperbaric equipment and support 
systems (such as temperature control, illumination, ventilation, and 
fire-prevention and fire-suppression systems), and hyperbaric work 
areas, as required under 29 CFR 1926.20(b)(2) by:
    a. Developing a set of checklists to be used by a competent person 
in conducting weekly inspections of hyperbaric equipment and work 
areas; and
    b. Ensuring that a competent person conducts daily visual checks 
and weekly inspections of the EPBTBM.
    2. If the competent person determines that the equipment 
constitutes a safety hazard, Traylor shall remove the equipment from 
service until it corrects the hazardous condition and has the 
correction approved by a qualified person.
    3. Traylor must maintain records of all tests and inspections of 
the EPBTBM, as well as associated corrective actions and repairs, at 
the job site for the duration of the job.

I. Compression and Decompression

    Traylor must consult with its attending physician concerning the 
need for special compression or decompression exposures appropriate for 
CAWs not acclimated to hyperbaric exposure.

J. Recordkeeping

    Traylor must maintain a record of any recordable injury, illness, 
in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye, or fatality (as 
defined by 29 CFR part 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational 
Injuries and Illnesses), resulting from exposure of an employee to 
hyperbaric conditions by completing the OSHA 301 Incident Report form 
and OSHA 300 Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses.

    Note: Examples of important information to include on the OSHA 
301 Incident Report form (along with the corresponding question on 
the form) must address the following: The task performed (Question 
(Q) 14); an estimate of the CAW's workload (Q 14); the composition 
of the gas mixture (e.g., air or trimix (Q 14)); the pressure worked 
at (Q 14); temperature in the work and decompression environments (Q 
14); did something unusual occur during the task or decompression (Q 
14); time of symptom onset (Q 15); duration of time between 
decompression and onset of symptoms (Q 15); nature and duration of 
symptoms (Q 16); a medical summary of the illness or injury (Q 16); 
duration of the hyperbaric intervention (Q 17); any possible 
contributing factors (Q 17); the number of prior interventions 
completed by injured or ill CAW (Q 17); the number of prior 
interventions completed by injured or ill CAW at that pressure (Q 
17); the contact information for the treating healthcare provider (Q 
17); and the date and time of last hyperbaric exposure for this CAW.

    In addition to completing the OSHA 301 Incident Report form and 
OSHA 300 Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses, Traylor must 
maintain records of:
    1. The date, times (e.g., began compression, time spent 
compressing, time performing intervention, time spent decompressing), 
and pressure for each hyperbaric intervention.
    2. The name of each individual worker exposed to hyperbaric 
pressure and the decompression protocols and results for each worker.
    3. The total number of interventions and the amount of hyperbaric 
work time at each pressure.
    4. The post-intervention physical assessment of each individual CAW 
for signs and symptoms of decompression illness, barotrauma, nitrogen 
narcosis, oxygen toxicity or other health effects associated with work 
in compressed air or mixed gasses for each hyperbaric intervention.

K. Notifications

    1. To assist OSHA in administering the conditions specified herein, 
Traylor must:
    a. Notify the OTPCA and the nearest affected Area Office of any 
recordable injury, illness, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, 
loss of an eye, or fatality (by submitting the completed OSHA 301 
Incident Report form)\26\ resulting from exposure of an employee to 
hyperbaric conditions including those that do not require recompression 
treatment (e.g., nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity, barotrauma), but 
still meet the recordable injury or illness criteria (of 29 CFR part 
1904). The notification must be made within 8 hours of the incident, or 
after becoming aware of a recordable injury or illness, and a copy of 
the incident investigation (OSHA 301) shall be provided within 24 hours 
of the incident, or after becoming aware of a recordable injury or 
illness. In addition to the information required by the OSHA 301, the 
incident-investigation report must include a root-cause determination, 
and the preventive and corrective actions identified and implemented.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ See footnote 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    b. Provide certification within 15 days of the incident that it 
informed affected workers of the incident and the results of the 
incident investigation (including the root-cause determination and 
preventive and corrective actions identified and implemented).
    c. Notify the OTPCA and the nearest affected Area Office within 15 
working days and in writing, of any change in the compressed-air 
operations that affects Traylor's ability to comply with the conditions 
specified herein.
    d. Upon completion of each hyperbaric tunnel project, evaluate the 
effectiveness of the decompression tables used throughout the project, 
and provide a written report of this evaluation to the OTPCA and the 
neared affected Area Office.

    Note: The evaluation report must contain summaries of: (1) The 
number, dates, durations, and pressures of the hyperbaric 
interventions completed; (2) decompression protocols implemented 
(including composition of gas mixtures (air, oxygen, nitrox, and 
trimix), and the results achieved; (3) the total number of 
interventions and the number of hyperbaric incidents (decompression 
illnesses and/or health effects associated with hyperbaric 
interventions as recorded on OSHA 301 and 300 forms, and relevant 
medical diagnoses and treating physicians' opinions); and (4) root-
causes, and preventive and corrective actions identified and 
implemented.

    e. To assist OSHA in administering the conditions specified herein, 
inform the OTPCA and the nearest affected Area Office as soon as 
possible after it has knowledge that it will:
    i. Cease to do business;
    ii. Change the location and address of the main office for managing 
the tunneling operations specified by the project-specific HOM; or
    iii. Transfer the operations specified herein to a successor 
company.

    f. Notify all affected employees of this permanent variance by the 
same means required to inform them of its application for a variance.
    2. OSHA must approve the transfer of the permanent variance to a 
successor company.

Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20210, authorized the preparation of this notice. 
Accordingly, the Agency is issuing this notice pursuant to Section 29 
U.S.C. 655(6)(d), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, 
Jan. 25, 2012), and 29 CFR 1905.11.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on March 7, 2016.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2016-05485 Filed 3-10-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4510-26-P


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