OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced plans to establish a negotiated rulemaking advisory committee to address fire protection in shipyard employment.
"The strong support and encouragement we have received from stakeholders within the shipyard employment industry for a consensual approach have convinced me that negotiated rulemaking is the best way to develop an effective fire protection standard," said Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Dear.
Dear praised the cooperative and collaborative give-and-take of negotiated rulemaking and said that OSHA had gained valuable experience in the process through the negotiated rulemaking advisory committee for steel erection. "Getting interested parties together in a collegial atmosphere under the guidance of a trained facilitator can be an excellent way to develop a proposal. For appropriate issues and constituencies like shipyard employment, we believe this common sense approach to developing standards and eliminating red tape that President Clinton has endorsed will prove effective," Dear said.
Nominations for membership on the advisory committee are due to OSHA by July 8. The committee will include about 15 members representing such "significantly affected" interests as shipyard owners; contractors; labor organizations representing employees who perform fire protection work; fire fighters, including both in-yard/plant and municipal; government entities, particularly the Navy and the Coast Guard; professional associations; and manufacturers and suppliers of fire protection equipment. OSHA is also seeking public comment on whether additional interests should be included.
Current OSHA fire protection standards address hazards of landside operations but not on-board risks. Key issues that OSHA expects the advisory committee to consider include the scope of the fire protection standard, training for firefighters, other regulations and consensus standards that can provide guidance for the OSHA proposal and the use of fire brigades at shipyards.
The agency also wants the committee to evaluate the need for written fire plans, changes in technology since OSHA's 1978 general industry fire protection standards were adopted, costs and/or savings created by new fire protection provisions and the need for advisory or mandatory appendices. OSHA expects to use the draft standard developed by consensus as the basis for a proposed rule to be published in the Federal Register.
The Shipyard Employment Standards Advisory Committee, formed in 1991, submitted a draft fire protection standard for the maritime industry to OSHA in 1991. OSHA believes the draft will serve as an excellent starting point even though some provisions must be recast in regulatory language and some issues remain to be addressed.
Nominations for the negotiated rulemaking advisory committee should include the applicant's name and the interest that he or she is to represent, evidence that the individual is authorized to represent the parties and a written commitment that the nominee will actively participate in good faith in developing the shipyard employment fire protection rule.
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