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• Standard Number: 1910.253; 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(B); 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(D); 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(I); 1926.350; 1926.350(a)(10)


May 12, 2006

Mr. William H. Guess
United Metal Works
217 Pickering St.
Portland, CT 06480

Dear Mr. Guess:

Thank you for your July 23 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had specific questions regarding regulations related to the "Regulator Umbrella," a device you designed for the use with portable compressed gas cylinders. Your paraphrased inquiries and our responses follow.

Question #1: Does the "Regulator Umbrella" meet the intent of the following OSHA standards for "in use" or "connected for use" conditions:

  1. 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(B) — handling of cylinders;
  2. 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(D) — movement of cylinders;
  3. 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(I) — separation and shielding of cylinders from ignition sources.
Response: As you may know, OSHA cannot approve, endorse, or promote any particular product. It should be noted that any evaluation of the "Regulator Umbrella" is difficult without being able to observe the product in actual use.

The first standard that you noted, 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(B), requires that, among other things, cylinders be prevented from violently striking each other. It would appear, based on the documentation you provided, that the "Regulator Umbrella," when used as shown, would prevent this from occurring.

The second standard you inquired about, 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(D), requires that unless cylinders are secured on a "special truck," then the regulators need to be removed and, where provided for, valve-protection caps put back in place before moving the cylinders. You stated in your correspondence that the "Regulator Umbrella" would be used in conjunction with a "special truck." A "special truck" is a vehicle or cart which provides for stable support of vertical standing Department of Transportation (DOT) portable gas cylinders during movement and at various work locations. When the cylinders are "in use" or "attached ready for use," there is no requirement to provide protection for the valve and regulator. Only when the cylinders are moved is protection for the valves and regulators required, and this can take the form of a "special truck," or in the absence of a "special truck," removing the regulators and replacing the valve-protection caps. Therefore, the protection that the "Regulator Umbrella" provides is not required when the cylinders are "in use" or "attached ready for use" or when the cylinders are being moved on a "special truck," nor is it adequate when moving cylinders in the absence of a "special truck," as the "umbrellas" of the "Regulator Umbrella" are not valve-protection caps, and the regulators would not be removed.

The third standard you inquired about, 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(I), requires that during welding and cutting operations, cylinders be kept far enough away from the operation that they are not reached by hot slag, sparks, or flame or are provided with fire-resistant shields. Note that the standard specifies cylinders, not just regulator-valve assemblies. The "Regulator Umbrella" provides partial shielding for the regulator-valve assembly, but not the rest of the cylinder. Therefore, your device does not meet the intent of this particular provision of the standard.

Question #2: Does the "Regulator Umbrella" meet OSHA requirements for protection of valve and regulator when in use or connected for use?

Response: As stated earlier, there is no requirement for valve and regulator protection when cylinders are "in use" or "attached ready for use." However, if the cylinders are to be moved, then 29 CFR 1910.253(b)(5)(ii)(D) requires that regulators be removed and valve-protection caps be replaced, if provided for. Therefore, as stated earlier, the protection offered by the "Regulator Umbrella" is not required by the OSHA standard. The "Regulator Umbrella" appears, however, to provide protection from falling objects which goes beyond the requirements of the standard.

Question #3: Would the use of the "Regulator Umbrella" eliminate the need to break down the cylinders and return them to storage if they were not going to be used after the 24-hour period?

Response: As you may be aware, the 24-hour period applies to the use of compressed gas cylinders for welding and cutting in the construction industry, not general industry. In general industry, the interval at which the unit is used is not the main consideration for determining storage versus use, it is the fact that the cylinders are "in use" or "attached ready for use." These issues were addressed in further detail in two recent letters of interpretation; the
May 8, 2006, letter to Kenneth Yotz, and the May 10, 2006, letter to William Trammel (both enclosed). These letters address the application of OSHA's use and storage provisions for single oxygen and acetylene assemblies, and the similarities and differences in OSHA's requirements in construction environments as opposed to general industry environments.

If, after following the direction in the two aforementioned letters, the storage requirements in either 1910.253 or 1926.350 are triggered, the "Regulator Umbrella" would still not provide for compliance with either standard. It does not provide either a 20-foot separation distance or a 5-foot high non-combustible barrier, with a one-half hour fire resistance rating as required by 29 CFR 1926.350(a)(10), which is required for cylinders in storage. Likewise, in a general industry environment, using the "Regulator Umbrella" for cylinder storage would not be acceptable either.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at
www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at 202-693-1850.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs


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