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Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Personal Protective Equipment for Shipyard Employment
• Section: 1
• Title: Section 1 - Background

I. Background

In May 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), under authority granted by section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655), adopted Federal standards issued under section 41 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 941), as standards applicable to ship repairing (29 CFR part 1915), shipbuilding (29 CFR part 1916), and shipbreaking (29 CFR part 1917) operations. OSHA also adopted other Federal standards and national consensus standards as general industry standards (29 CFR part 1910) and construction industry standards (29 CFR part 1926), which apply to shipyard hazards and working conditions not specifically covered by standards in parts 1915, 1916, or 1917.

On April 20, 1982 (47 FR 16984), the ship repairing, shipbuilding, and shipbreaking standards were consolidated into 29 CFR part 1915 "Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Shipyard Employment." The purpose of the consolidation was to eliminate duplicative provisions. The consolidation did not alter substantive requirements of these standards, nor did it affect the applicability of the general industry and construction standards in 29 CFR parts 1910 and 1926, respectively, to hazards or conditions in shipyard employment not addressed in the consolidated part 1915.

Later in 1982, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) and the American Waterways Shipyard Conference (AWSC) requested that OSHA identify the specific provisions of the general industry standards that apply to shipyards and then consolidate them into the existing part 1915 provisions, making one set of shipyard employment standards. OSHA agreed that such consolidation was appropriate, and decided to begin work on a subpart-by-subpart basis.

As part of that effort, OSHA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register for subpart I of part 1915 (Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), November 29, 1988, 53 FR 48092). In particular, the proposed rule updated the pertinent references to national consensus standards, incorporated Sec. 1910.134 (respiratory protection) by reference to replace the less comprehensive provisions in Sec. 1915.152, and added requirements for hazard assessment, training, fall protection systems, and positioning device systems. OSHA received 10 comments in response to the NPRM. Those comments are discussed in the Summary and Explanation section of this document, below.

A short time after the November 1988 publication of the proposed rule on PPE, the Shipyard Employment Standards Advisory Committee (SESAC) was established. SESAC was chartered to provide OSHA with guidance in revising, consolidating, and modernizing the varying sets of regulations that were being applied in the shipyard industry to produce a truly vertical standard for all shipyard employment. The intended result of this activity was the development of a single set of occupational safety and health standards for shipyard employment that would cover vessels, vessel sections and related activities. The newly developed shipyard employment standards would apply to all shipyard employment. SESAC provided OSHA with comments on PPE-related issues, and their comments are discussed in the Summary and Explanation below.

Following publication of the proposed 1915 shipyard PPE standard, OSHA initiated two rulemakings to address General Industry Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards. The first of these PPE rulemakings (NPRM at 54 FR 33832, August 16, 1989) covered all PPE (such as eye, face, hand, and foot) other than respiratory protection, electrical protective equipment, personal protective systems, and positioning device systems. The Agency published the final rule for this rulemaking on April 6, 1994 (59 FR 16334). The Agency also initiated a second general industry rulemaking to add requirements for personal fall arrest systems and positioning systems to the general industry PPE standards (Docket S-057; NPRM at 55 FR 12323, April 10, 1990). This rulemaking had not yet been concluded.

The Agency determined that the information in the above-noted rulemaking records was relevant to the issues raised in the Shipyard PPE proposal. Accordingly, on July 6, 1994, OSHA reopened the Shipyard PPE rulemaking record (59 FR 34586) to incorporate the General Industry PPE dockets and to allow the public an opportunity to comment. The Agency indicated that it was considering more detailed guidance regarding: Adequate training requirements; verification of the proposed hazard assessment and training requirements through written certification; and prohibition of the use of body belts and non-locking snaphooks. OSHA subsequently revised its requirements for fall protection in construction (final rule at 59 FR 40672, August 9, 1994). The final rule, containing requirements for personal fall protection equipment similar to those in the shipyard PPE proposal, prohibited the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) (Sec. 1926.502(d) introductory text) and the use of non-locking snaphooks in PFAS (Sec. 1926.502(d)(5)) and in positioning systems (Sec. 1926.502(e)(7)). Those prohibitions take effect on January 1, 1998.

The shipyard PPE reopening comment period ended August 22, 1994. OSHA received 13 comments, including one hearing request. Those comments are discussed in the Summary and Explanation section below.

In lieu of a hearing, OSHA agreed to hold an informal public meeting (59 FR 64173, December 13, 1994) to allow comments and testimony on the issues raised in the reopening. At the public meeting on January 25, 1995, there were five oral presentations and five written submissions, which are discussed in the Summary and Explanation section. The rulemaking record closed on February 28, 1995.

[61 FR 26321, May 24, 1996]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents

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