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• Standard Number: 1910.134

June 11, 1990

M. E. McAllister, Ph.D.
Manager - Environmental, Safety
& Regulatory Compliance
TOTAL Minatome Corporation
Post Office Box 4326
Houston, Texas 77210-4326

Dear Dr. McAllister:

Thank you for your letter of April 2, regarding an interpretation of respirator rules as applied to open hatch gauging of sour crude oil storage tanks. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

As you indicated in your letter, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reexamined its position on the number of standby persons required when open hatch gauging of sour crude oil storage tanks is performed in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) when self-contained breathing apparatus is used for protection. OSHA has concluded that for each gauging operation one standby person with suitable rescue equipment is adequate.

I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter for you.

Sincerely,

Patricia K. Clark Director
Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs





April 2, 1990

Ms. Patricia K. Clark, Director
Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs
U. S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: Request for Interpretation of 29 C.F.R. 1910.134 As applied to Open Health Gauging of Sour Crude Oil Storage Tanks

Dear Ms. Clark:

In an April 5, 1989 correspondence from former director of the Directorate of Compliance Programs, Thomas J. Shepich, it was stated:

"When self-contained breathing apparatus is used in the open hatch gauging of sour crude oil tanks, [29 CFR 1910.134 (g)(3)(i-vi)] applies whenever known or potential concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) at the hatch can reach or exceed levels which are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). Under these circumstances, two or more standby persons must be present and equipped with the appropriate rescue equipment."

It was brought to my attention that your office has rescinded the position on the number of standby persons required. The gauging operations would require one standby person with the appropriate rescue equipment.

I am sure you can appreciate the financial impact to a corporation if Mr. Shepich's interpretation is the requirement.

It is TOTAL Minatome Corporations intent to conduct our operations in a manner consistent with OSHA requirements and to provide for the safety of our employees.

TOTAL Minatome Corporation respectfully requests a formal interpretation of the existing respirator rule as applied to open hatch gauging of sour crude oil storage tanks.

If there are any questions or if further information is required, please call.

Your expedient assistance would be appreciated.

Very truly yours,

Dr. M.E. McAllister, Ph.D.
Manager - Environmental,
Safety & Regulatory Compliance


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