April 27, 2009
Mr. Kenny Jordan
Association of Energy Service Companies
14531 FM 529, Suite 250
Houston, Texas 77095
Dear Mr. Jordan:
Thank you for your March 22, 2009 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 a question regarding 29 CFR 1926 and its applicability to oil and gas well drilling and servicing operations.
Question: Can OSHA please confirm the Association of Energy Services Companies' (AESC) understanding that the only aspect of oil and gas well drilling and servicing operations that is covered by 29 CFR 1926 is site preparation?
Response: Yes, OSHA confirms that site preparation is the only aspect of oil and gas well drilling and servicing operations covered by 29 CFR 1926. Site preparation includes activities such as leveling the site, trenching, and excavation. All other aspects of oil and gas well drilling and servicing operations are covered by 29 CFR 1910, or in the case where serious hazards exist in the workplace that are not addressed by a specific OSHA standard, Section 5(a)(l) ("General Duty Clause") of the OSH Act.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. 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. Please 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 http://www.osha.gov. Included on the website is the Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing e-tool, whch identifies common hazards, provides possible solutions, and gives applicable OSHA regulations in an effort to help reduce incidents that could lead to injuries and/or fatalities. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs