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Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.120(a)(2)(iii)
• Status: Archived

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

December 21, 1990

The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senator
Putnam Park 100 Great Meadow Road
Weathersfield, Connecticut 06109


Dear Senator Dodd:

This is an update to our response to your letter of October 19, on behalf of Mr. David Gioiello and Ms. Denese A. Deeds of the Industrial Health and Safety Consultants, Inc., regarding the application of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (29 CFR 1910.120) to general industry. Please accept our apology for the delay in this reply.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes that the scope and application of this standard as outlined below carries out the intent of Congress and is consistent with good occupational safety and health policy.


Operations Sections of 29 CFR 1910.120

Clean-up of hazardous substances. (b)-(o)

Licensed or interim status (p) hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal (TSD) facilities.

Emergency response situations (q) involving hazardous substances that occur at locations other than hazardous waste sites and TSD facilities.

As you can see, only section (q) of the standard applies to general industrial workplaces that have a potential for emergencies resulting from hazardous substance. Furthermore, this standard provides employers the option of using employees to respond to emergencies and meet the requirements in (q) or evacuate their employees from the hazardous area when an emergency occurs and provide an emergency action plan in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38(a).

The intent of the exception listed under 29 CFR 1910.120(a)(2)(iii) is to explain that the application of paragraph (p) of the standard is limited to TSD operations required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have a permit or interim status. Employers who have areas of a facility used primarily for treatment, storage, or disposal but are not required to have a TSD permit or interim status have the option of complying with only sections (p)(8) or (q) of the standard for any emergency response operations at those areas. Since it does not always make sense to maintain two emergency response teams - one for the permitted area and the other for the rest of the facility (although such a practice is not precluded) - one can use a response team trained under (q) to respond throughout the whole facility.

We regret if you received confusing direction on these issues. We cannot, however, consider violations de minimis unless there is no immediate relationship to employee safety or health.

We hope this information will be of help to you and your constituents. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call on us.

Sincerely,



Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary


cc: Washington, D.C. office



November 16, 1990

The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senator
Putnam Park 100 Great Meadow Road
Wethersfield, Connecticut 06109


Dear Senator Dodd:

This is an interim response to your letter of October 19, on behalf of Mr. David Gioiello and Ms. Denese A. Deeds of the Industrial Health and Safety Consultants, Inc., regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (29 CFR 1910.120).

In order to address your constituents' concerns fully, we are in the process of gathering information. We expect to provide you with a full response shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,



Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary


cc: Washington, D.C. office



October 19, 1990

Ms. Ruth Knight
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Occupational Safety
and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Room N3641
Washington, DC 20210


Dear Ms. Knight:

Attached are copies of the correspondence that I have received from Mr. David M. Gioiello and Ms. Denese A. Deeds regarding OSHA's interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.120, dealing with hazardous waste operations. I trust you will find the attached to be self-explanatory.

I would appreciate your reviewing the comments and concerns expressed by Mr. Gioiello and Ms. Deeds. A report of your findings will be most welcome at my Wethersfield Office.

With kind regards, I am

Sincerely,



CHRISTOPHER J. DODD
United States Senator


CJD:mb

Attachments



Industrial Health & Safety Consultants, Inc.
915 Bridgeport Avenue
Shelton, CT 06484
(203)929-1131


October 4, 1990

Senator Christopher Dodd
100 Great Meadow Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109


Dear Senator Dodd,

Attached you will find a copy of a letter we sent to Mr. Gerald Scannell regarding OSHA's interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.120, dealing with hazardous waste operations. When this regulation was initially proposed and mandated by Congress, the intent was to protect workers at hazardous waste sites and to have only minimal impact on industry. The regulation was expanded to include industrial operations and employees who might be required to clean up a spill of hazardous materials within their workplace.

OSHA has now expanded the requirements to include training far in excess of what would be necessary to properly and adequately protect industrial workers by mandating the same level of training as would be required at a facility treating and disposing of hazardous waste. We believe this provides an unnecessary burden on the manufacturing segment and has forced many companies to abandon their first response position to hazardous waste spills. Rather than train their employees to contain a spill they have elected to walk away from a spill and simply call an outside firm to come in and stop the leak or spill of hazardous materials and/or clean up the material after such a spill. This is not in the best interest of either the government or our environment. This action is, however, in full compliance with OSHA's current requirements.

We have highlighted the confusing sections of the law and ask your assistance in having OSHA review the field directive to be more consistent and responsible to the mandate the agency was given by Congress.

Sincerely yours,



David M. Gioiello, Jr., CIH, CSP
Senior Consultant


Denese A. Deeds, CIH
Senior Consultant


Industrial Health & Safety Consultants, Inc.
915 Bridgeport Avenue
Shelton, CT 06484
(203)929-1131


October 4, 1990

Mr. Gerald F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary of Labor OSHA
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20210


Dear Mr. Scannell,

It has recently come to our attention that there appears to be a serious discrepancy in the interpretation of the OSHA Standard on Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (1910.120) in regard to the coverage of industries that are regulated as generators and small quantities of hazardous waste.

In the original Final Standard published in the March 6, 1989 Federal Register there was an exemption in a (2)(iii) that discussed large and small quantity generators with regard to their being covered under p(8) of the standard. While this exemption was located in a confusing section, it seemed apparent to us that there was an intent to limit the coverage of this standard for the normal industrial workplace. The RCRA classifications of these workplaces were described and we could think of no other meaning for this exemption other than to basically require only "RCRA type" spill training for these workers.

Because some of our clients were also confused by this exemption and by the entire standard, we called OSHA in Washington on March 8, 1990 and spoke to Maryann Garrahan to request clarification. At that time she stated there was a great deal of confusion about that exemption and that shortly there would be a clarification published in the Federal Register.

On April 13, 1990 the correction to the rule was published. This preamble to the correction clearly states "Certain employers ("excepted employers") are not required to have a permit or interim status because they are conditionally exempt small quantity generators under 40 CFR 261.5 or are generators who qualify under 262.34 for exemptions from regulation under 40 CFR parts 264, 265 and 270." In the final preamble and standard, OSHA has summarily referred to these employers as small quantity generators and as large quantity generators of hazardous waste who store for less than 90 days. These excepted employers are not covered by paragraphs (p)(1) through (p)(7) of this section. Excepted employers only need comply with paragraph (p)(8).

The preamble to the correction goes on to explain that excepted employers who are required by EPA or the state to engage in emergency response are covered by (p)(8) and those that are not so required are generally exempt entirely.

In the actual correction to the standard there is a new paragraph (C) in (a)(2)(iii) which serves to confuse rather than clarify what was stated in the preamble. This states that emergency response in areas used for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste only is covered by (p)(8) but in other areas emergency response is covered by (q). Since technically speaking as soon as a "hazardous substance" is spilled it becomes a hazardous waste it could be interpreted that all emergency response in a RCRA facility would occur in an area used for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. Therefore all emergency response should fall under paragraph (p)(8).

Recently, a company in the Connecticut area was cited by the Area office for failure to meet the requirement of paragraph (q) though they are a large quantity generator and have a program that complies with the requirements of paragraph (p)(8) of this standard. This company's SPCC calls for employees only to dike to control a spill, to evacuate from the danger area, and to call for a professional Haz Mat team to clean-up the spill.

When we called Mike Moore in the Washington OSHA office to discuss this he stated that it is OSHA's policy to require employees who are generators of hazardous waste to comply with the requirements of (q). He refused to explain why there was this apparent discrepancy in interpretation and said that "they" did not write the April 13 correction and did not agree with it.

We are offended that employers have been placed in the position of having to guess what OSHA wants to be in compliance with this standard. If the intent of the exemption in the standard was not to limit the coverage for industrial facilities where the hazards are very well known and storage and use well controlled, then what does this mumbo-jumbo mean. In following the history of this standard it is clear that this was never meant to impose unnecessary and expensive requirements on general industry.

Following OSHA's current interpretation of the requirements for generators and small quantity generators leads to some very inconsistent and ridiculous situations. For example:
The employee working for an emergency response company who never knows what kind of hazard that he/she may encounter when they arrive at a site will have the same level of training as the industrial employee responding to known materials.

The industrial facility employee where the kinds of waste and raw materials are the same day after day will require the same level of training as the TSD employee where the waste streams are constantly changing.
If after reviewing this situation you do not agree with our feeling that this current interpretation is incorrect, we would greatly appreciate a thorough explanation, not only to us but to industry. In addition, we believe that since OSHA has now misled industry in how this standard applies to them several times that violations that result from this situation be classified as diminimus and no fines assessed. OSHA should also take immediate steps to correct this misinformation by widely publicizing this new interpretation.

Thank you for your review of this matter and we look forward to your response.

Respectfully,



Denese A. Deeds, CIH
Senior Consultant


David M. Gioiello, Jr., CIH, CSP
Senior Consultant


cc: Sen. Joseph Lieberman Sen. Christopher Dodd



Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents

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