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• Standard Number: 1910.119; 1910.109(k)(2); 1910.109(k)(3)

February 4, 1998

Mr. Frank A. White, Vice President
Organization Resources Counselors, Inc.
1910 Sunderland Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. White:

The following is a response to your letter dated December 23, 1996, related to various activities involving explosives and whether the activities are covered by OSHA's Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals; Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard (PSM) (29 CFR 1910.119). We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.

In your letter you ask whether OSHA intended to apply the PSM standard to certain pre-manufacture and post-manufacture research and testing activities involving explosives and pyrotechnics, or products containing explosives. Further, you listed and asked whether specific activities related to research and product testing of explosives were covered by the PSM standard, 1910.119.

The manufacturing of explosives and pyrotechnics is covered by the PSM standard, 29 CFR 1910.119 as set forth in OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.109(k)(2) and (k)(3), respectively. OSHA considers the manufacturing of explosives to mean: mixing, blending, extruding, synthesizing, assembling, disassembling and other activities involved in the making of a chemical compound, mixture or device which is intended to explode. Unlike other highly hazardous chemicals (HHC) covered by PSM, explosive materials do not have a listed threshold quantity. If any quantity of explosives is manufactured as discussed above, then the manufacturing process is covered by the PSM standard.

Activities outside the scope of the manufacturing of explosives would not be covered by the PSM standard if those activities: occur in a separate, non-production research or test area or facility; and do not have the potential to cause or contribute to a release or interfere with mitigating the consequences of a catastrophic release from the explosive manufacturing process. OSHA does not intend that the PSM standard cover certain pre-manufacture and post-manufacture research and testing activities involving explosives, pyrotechnics or products containing explosives.

Activities OSHA considers outside the scope of the explosives manufacturing process if conducted in a separate, non-production research or test area or facility; and do not have the potential to cause or contribute to a release or interfere with mitigating the consequences of a catastrophic release from the explosive manufacturing process include:

  • product testing and analysis which is not part of any in-production sampling and testing of the explosive manufacturing process;
  • chemical and physical property analysis of explosives and propellants and pyrotechnics formulations;
  • scale-up research chemical formulations to develop production quantity formulations;
  • analysis of age tests conducted on finished products;
  • failure analysis tests conducted on pre-manufactured or finished products;
  • x-raying;
  • quality assurance testing (not including the extraction of samples from an active explosive manufacturing [production] process);
  • evaluating environmental effects, such as hot, cold, jolt, jumble, drop, vibration, high altitude, salt, and fog; and
  • assembly of engineering research and development models.

Although the above listed activities when conducted in their given conditions are not part of the manufacturing process of explosives and therefore are not covered by the PSM standard, each activity would be subject to the requirements of OSHA's 1910.109, Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard because the activities involve keeping, having or storing explosives or pyrotechnics as set forth in 1910.109(k)(1).

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Marshall of my staff at 202-219-8118 ext. 12.

Sincerely,

John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs


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