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Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Personal Protective Equipment for Shipyard Employment
• Section: 3
• Title: Section 3 - Summary and Explanation of Final Rule

III. Summary and Explanation of Final Rule

In this section of the preamble, OSHA explains how the final rule relates to the proposed and existing standards, and how the comments and testimony presented on each provision influenced the drafting of the final rule. This section also addresses issues raised in the July 6, 1994, reopening notice and the December 13, 1994, public meeting notice. Except where otherwise indicated, proposed provisions that did not elicit comments are being promulgated as proposed, for reasons stated in the preamble to the proposed rule (53 FR 48151-48158).

As discussed above, on April 6, 1994, OSHA issued a final rule for its rulemaking on PPE used in general industry (59 FR 16334) (part 1910, subpart I, Docket S-060). That document updated the regulation of PPE for eye and face (Sec. 1910.133), head (Sec. 1910.135) and foot protection (Sec. 1910.136), and added provisions for hazard assessment, PPE selection, disposal and training (Sec. 1910.132 (d)-(f)), and hand protection (Sec. 1910.138). The proposed rule (54 FR 33832, August 16, 1989) was consistent with the corresponding proposed rule for shipyard PPE. However, based on the rulemaking record, OSHA revised the general industry proposal to address training and the documentation of compliance with the hazard assessment and training requirements in more detail. Given the similarity of the PPE used in general industry and shipyard employment, OSHA determined that the information generated in this general industry rulemaking was relevant to the drafting of the shipyard PPE standards, as well.

Also, proposed part 1910 subpart I, PPE (Fall Protection Systems) (55 FR 13423, April 10, 1990) set criteria for the proper selection, use and maintenance of personal fall arrest systems (Secs. 1910.128, 1910.129, and 1910.131) and positioning device systems (Secs. 1910.128 and 1910.130) in general industry. The part 1910 subpart I proposal relied heavily on the approach taken by the Agency in its final rule on Powered Platforms for Exterior Building Maintenance, Sec. 1910.66 (54 FR 31456, July 28, 1989, Docket S-700A). In the Preamble to the 1910 subpart I proposal, OSHA determined that the requirements for personal fall arrest systems used by employees on powered platforms should be the same as those for personal fall arrest systems used by employees in other occupations (55 FR at 13430).

Based on the record developed for the general industry fall protection PPE rulemaking (Docket S-057), OSHA decided that it was appropriate to consider prohibiting the use of non-locking snaphooks in personal fall arrest and positioning device systems and to consider prohibiting the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems. Recently, the Agency included such prohibitions in the final rule for fall protection in construction (59 FR 40672, August 9, 1994). As stated above, the Agency has determined that OSHA's fall protection PPE standards should be consistent with each other.

Therefore, based on its policy of promoting consistent regulation of PPE across industry lines, the Agency concluded that the information generated on PPE in general industry was relevant to the use of that PPE in shipyards, as well.

Accordingly, OSHA incorporated Dockets S-057 and S-060 into the shipyard PPE rulemaking record and reopened the comment period for part 1915 subpart I to provide an opportunity for public comment on the newly incorporated materials (59 FR 34586, July 6, 1994). The Agency provided additional opportunity for public input on these materials (59 FR 64173, December 13, 1995) at an informal public meeting on January 25, 1995.

In addition, OSHA has added certain personal fall arrest criteria, Sec. 1910.159 (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(7), (c)(2), (c)(3) and (c) (7) to the final rule, because the need for such requirements has been established through the corresponding General Industry and Construction rulemaking proceedings. These requirements are discussed further, below.

OSHA has concluded that the PPE needed in shipyard employment does not differ markedly from that needed in general industry or in construction, and that the standards covering PPE should not differ markedly either. The final rule reflects this determination and incorporates OSHA's review of the existing rulemaking record, including the materials incorporated from other PPE-related dockets.

Section 1915.151 Scope, Application, and Definitions Applicable to This Subpart

Final rule paragraph (a) sets forth the scope and application of Subpart I. This subpart applies to all work in shipyard employment, regardless of geographic location. This language is consistent with that in recently published part 1915 subpart B [Sec. 1915.11(a)][59 FR 37816, July 25, 1994].

Proposed paragraph (a)(1) stated that this subpart would cover PPE provided for and used by shipyard workplaces and operations (including shipbuilding, ship repairing, and shipbreaking), but would not apply to construction operations in shipyards covered by part 1926.

Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) stated [Ex. 6-2] that the term "provided" should be changed to "made available" because the suggested language was consistent with that in existing Sec. 1915.153 and with current industry practice. However, the Agency has deleted the proposed language, "personal protective equipment to be provided for and used by employees" because it believes that requirements for the provision and use of PPE are more appropriately addressed in Sec. 1915.152, General Requirements.

The Shipbuilding Council of America (SCA) (Ex. 6-1) and NNS (Ex. 6-2) stated that part 1926 (OSHA's construction industry standards) should not apply to employees of shipyards who perform construction work since one of the objectives of the rulemaking was to bring uniformity to the workplace by providing employees and employers with one set of safety standards to govern their work. SCA suggested that part 1926 apply only to construction work performed in shipyards by outside contractors (non-shipyard employees). OSHA believes, however, that it is inappropriate to distinguish between shipyard employees and contractor employees when setting requirements for worker protection. Therefore, OSHA is not making the suggested change.

The Agency has consistently maintained that construction activities, such as the erection of building structures, are covered by the construction standards (29 CFR part 1926) and are not subject to the requirements of the shipyard standards (29 CFR part 1915). Furthermore, Sec. 1926.30, Shipbuilding and ship repairs, explicitly provides that shipyard employment is covered exclusively by the shipyard standards. Accordingly, the proposed paragraph (a)(1) language regarding the application for part 1926 in unnecessary and has been deleted.

Proposed paragraph (a)(2) provided that subpart I of part 1910 --

except Sec. 1910.134, Respiratory protection -- would not apply to shipyard employment. Since OSHA has chosen to view respirators as a separate, full rulemaking [59 FR 58884 November 15, 1994] which will apply to shipyard employment as well as general industry, the final shipyard PPE standard will continue to reference existing Sec. 1910.134 for respiratory PPE until the shipyard respirator rulemaking is complete. In all other respects, subpart I of part 1915 will be a self-contained set of PPE standards for shipyard employment. It will not be supplemented through reference to the General Industry standards.

Paragraph (b), Definitions

Paragraph (b) defines the terms used in this standard.

The proposed definitions paragraph did not include a number of terms and definitions that OSHA has used, or proposed to use, in other standards that address fall protection PPE [e.g., Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance 29 CFR 1910.66 (July 28, 1989 54 FR 31408); Fall Protection in Construction part 1926, subpart M (51 FR 42718, Aug. 9, 1994); and General Industry PPE-Fall Protection, proposed 1910.128(b), subpart I (55 FR 13423 April 10, 1990)].

The new terms and definitions included in paragraph (b) are:

anchorage, connector, deceleration distance, equivalent, free fall, free-fall distance, lanyard, lifeline, lower levels, rope grab, and self-retracting lifeline/lanyard. Newly defined terms, revised terms, and proposed terms that elicited comments are discussed below. OSHA has determined that the inclusion of these definitions is appropriate for the purpose of clarity and to provide guidance consistent with that set in corresponding standards. In addition, as discussed further below, OSHA is adding a definition for the term "qualified person."

The proposed term "capable person" will be replaced by the more familiar term "qualified person" in the final rule. SESAC also recommended using "qualified person" in the regulatory text (Tr. p. 84-85, SESAC meeting, November 20, 1991).

"Deceleration device." This term describes equipment such as a rope grab, ripstitch lanyard, specially woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyard, and automatic self-retracting lifeline/lanyard, that serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest or otherwise limit the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest. The proposed definition simply required that the device dissipate more energy than does a standard line or strap-webbing lanyard. After a careful review of the proposed definition, OSHA has revised the definition to indicate the extent to which a deceleration device must dissipate the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.

"Personal fall arrest system." This term means a system used to stop an employee's fall. The proposed definition, which was effectively identical, did not elicit comments.

"Positioning device system." This is a body belt or body harness system rigged so that an employee can work on an elevated, vertical working surface with both hands free while leaning. The proposed definition has been rewritten for clarity. OSHA did not receive any comments on the proposed definition.

The proposed definition of "strength factor" has not been carried forward into the final rule because this term is not used in the final rule.

Section 1915.152 General Requirements

Paragraph (a) of the final rule, Provision and use of equipment, requires that employers provide and ensure that employees use personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, extremities, torso, and respiratory system, including such PPE as protective clothing, protective shields and barriers, personal fall protection equipment, and life saving equipment, whenever such PPE is necessary for employee protection. Except for some editorial changes, this provision is identical to that in the proposed rule.

Paragraph (b) requires that employers assess the work activities in the shipyard to identify what hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of PPE. OSHA is aware that many shipyard employers assess workplace hazards according to the trade or occupation of affected employees. The Agency believes that it is appropriate to allow employers flexibility in organizing their assessment efforts. Therefore, OSHA has added a note to the final rule which provides that a hazard assessment conducted according to the trade or occupation of affected employees will be considered to comply with paragraph (b), if the assessment addresses any PPE-related hazards to which employees are exposed in the course of their work activities.

Where any such hazards are identified, the employer shall select the appropriate PPE for each affected employee (both in terms of type of PPE and fit), communicate selection decisions to affected employees, and document that the hazard assessment has been performed. After the assessment has been done, the standard does not expressly require the employer to review the hazard assessment on any periodic basis. However, it is the Agency's intent that hazard assessments be conducted at the intervals and on a schedule dictated by the risks in the workplace. For example, when there is a change in technology, production operations, or an occupation's task that has the potential to affect PPE-related hazards, the employer must review the appropriateness of the existing hazard assessment and the PPE being used and update the hazard assessment as necessary.

In the proposal, this paragraph required that employers select PPE for their employees based on an assessment of workplace hazards. Commenters who responded to the July 6, 1994 notice (59 FR 3486) and participants at the January 25, 1995 public hearing stated that the term "workplace" that appeared in the requirement for hazard assessment in proposed section Sec. 1915.152(b) was not appropriate. They suggested that OSHA instead use the term "trade" or "work activity."

For example, the South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers, Inc. (Ex 9-3) recommended that OSHA change "workplace to "work activity" or "trade." Tampa Shipyards Incorporated (Ex. 9-8) stated:

We would definitely agree that PPE used in general industry does not differ markedly from PPE used in the shipyards. We would point out the fact that work environment in shipyards is substantially and drastically different from general industry work environment. Most of the general industry work environment is a fixed work environment; manufacturing plant with assembly lines, consistent work processed, etc. The commercial shipyard work environment changes not only on a daily basis but sometimes on an hourly basis depending upon the size and configuration of a ship (or workplace) and the type of work to be accomplished on board that ship.

The Shipbuilders Council of America (Ex. 9-7) stated:

We believe that standards should be based on generic and uniform nature of the duties performed by specific categories of employees, rather than solely by the workplace * * * shipyard workplace that is neither fixed, nor constant, nor readily quantifiable like workplaces in all other industries.

In addition, the Shipbuilders Council of America (Tr. pp. 8-9) testified that:

The general industry standard is specifically targeted toward fixed facilities and processes, unlike commercial ship repair and ship building. Now the definition of workplace differs greatly from a manufacturing environment to a commercial ship repair facility. Workplace is used throughout the general industry PPE standard. By definition, workplace means, and I quote out of the Webster's dictionary, "a place, shop or factory where work is done."

The commercial shipyard work environment changes not only on a daily basis * * * And from personal experience I can tell you it changes on an hourly basis and on a ship-to-shop basis which varies by size and configuration.

OSHA acknowledges that shipyard employees -- unlike general industry employees -- may work in several worksites during a shift. OSHA agrees with the commenters that the term "workplace" does not identify the appropriate source of PPE-related hazards in shipyards and believes that requiring hazard assessments by trade and related work activities effectively addresses the PPE-related risks in shipyards.

The proposal also required employers to select PPE that would protect employees from the particular occupational hazards they were likely to encounter, to communicate their selection decisions to employees who would be obtaining their own PPE, and to have employees who obtain their own PPE follow the employers' selection decisions.

The proposed rule assumed that some employees would be providing some of their own PPE. For that reason, OSHA specified, in the proposal, that employers would need to provide any such employees with PPE selection information and to make sure that their affected employees obtained the right PPE. This was intended to ensure that employees are properly protected by their PPE, regardless of who purchased it.

Subsequently, the Agency determined that it was appropriate to provide additional guidance regarding when employers would be expected to pay for PPE and when employees would be expected to pay. On October 18, 1994, OSHA issued a memorandum to its field offices which stated as follows:

OSHA has interpreted its general PPE standard, as well as specific standards, to require employers to provide and to pay for personal protective equipment required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards. Where equipment is very personal in nature and is usable by workers off the job, the matter of payment may be left to labor-management negotiations. Examples of PPE that would not normally be used away from the worksite include, but are not limited to: welding glasses, wire mesh gloves, respirators, hard hats, specialty glasses and goggles (designed for laser or ultraviolet radiation protection), specialty foot protection (such as metatarsal shoes and linemen's shoes with built in gaffs), face shields and rubber gloves, blankets and cover-ups and hot sticks and other live-line tools used by power generation workers. Examples of PPE that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite include non-specialty safety glasses, safety shoes, and cold-weather outer wear of the type worn by construction workers. However, shoes or outer wear subject to contamination by carcinogens or other toxic or hazardous substances which cannot be safely worn off-site must be paid for by the employer. Failure of the employer to pay for PPE that is not personal and not used away from the job is a violation and shall be cited.

Although the equipment used in shipyard employment often differs from that mentioned in the October 18 memorandum, the same policy considerations apply in the Shipyard PPE context. Therefore, OSHA will apply the above-stated policy when determining who pays for the PPE required under Sec. 1915.152(a).

In addition, the Agency has determined, after further consideration, that all affected employees need to be informed of PPE selection decisions in order to facilitate compliance with the standard. The proposed language that distinguishes between employees who pay for their own PPE and those who do not has been deleted and the provision has been revised accordingly. Paragraph (b) has also been editorially revised for clarity.

In the proposal, paragraph (b) did not specifically address documentation of the hazard assessment. The recently revised PPE standard for General Industry (Sec. 1910.132(d)(2)), however, requires employers to verify through a written certification that a required hazard assessment has been performed. OSHA explained its decision (59 FR 16336) to require such verification as follows:

OSHA believes that some form of record is needed to provide OSHA compliance officers and affected employees with appropriate assurance that the required hazard assessment has been performed * * * It is not "necessary for employers to prepare and retain a formal written hazard assessment." Given the performance-oriented nature of this rulemaking, OSHA has determined that the generation and review of extensive documentation would be unnecessarily burdensome.

The Agency has found that a written certification is a reasonable means by which to establish accountability for compliance.

Therefore, the Agency has determined that employers can adequately verify compliance with Sec. 1910.132(d) of the final rule through a written certification which identifies the workplace evaluated; the person certifying that the evaluation has been performed, the date(s) of the hazard assessment; and which identifies the document as a certification of hazard assessment.

Taking into account the similarities between PPE used in General Industry and that used in Shipyard employment, OSHA reopened the Shipyard PPE rulemaking record (59 FR 34586, July 6, 1994) to provide public notice that the Agency was considering a requirement for shipyard employers to verify their compliance with the hazard assessment provision through a written certification. The notice of reopening solicited comments on the need for and impact of a certification requirement.

The Preamble to the final rule for Fall Protection in Construction (part 1926, subpart M) (59 FR at 40721, August 9, 1994) underscored the flexibility employers have in complying with certification requirements, stating that a "certification record can be prepared in any format an employer chooses, including reprinted forms, computer generated lists, or 3 x 5 cards."

Commenters to the shipyard PPE record (Exs. 9-3 and 9-7) stated that any requirement for the certification of hazard assessment should be focused on employee "work activity" or "trade" rather than on the "workplace." For example, the South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers (STASR)(Ex. 9-3) stated that "[t]here is a constant transition of trades moving among various shops and vessels as well as a rotation of vessels. It is not feasible for designated shipyard employees to monitor continuously a "workplace" in constant change." In addition, STASR observed that it would be advantageous to identify "a universal requirement for trade-specific PPE as opposed to {a} site-specific requirement, peculiar to one location." The SCA (Ex. 9-7) stated that shipyard work duties, unlike duties undertaken in a factory, are neither fixed, constant, nor readily quantifiable.

Three other commenters (Exs. 9-6, 9-8 and 9-9) were particularly concerned that compliance with the certification requirement under consideration would necessitate continuous or repeated hazard assessment. These commenters, along with several others (Exs. 9-1, 9-4, 9-5, 9-11 and 9-13), indicated that they have already implemented written programs to identify PPE needs, so that certifying performance of the hazard assessment would be redundant.

In addition, commenters (Exs. 9-10 and 9-14) suggested that OSHA accept any form of documentation which provides the information needed to verify compliance. In particular, General Dynamics Electric Boat Division (EBDiv.) (Ex. 9-10) stated "EBDiv. recommends that OSHA continue with its performance oriented approach and allow employers the flexibility in determining the most efficient and effective manner for documenting hazard assessments."

Based on the above-discussed comments, the notice of informal public meeting (59 FR 64173, December 13, 1994) solicited input regarding the means by which shipyard employers could adequately verify compliance with the requirement for hazard assessment. In particular, the notice stated that OSHA was "considering the extent to which current hazard assessments performed by trade or occupation provide the necessary information for selection of appropriate PPE" and provided examples of trade-based formats (for welder and for yard maintenance worker) that the Agency might consider to be acceptable.

In response, commenters (Exs. 11-2, 11-3, 11-6 and 11-8) stated that the shipyard industry already adequately documents its hazard assessment activities. NNS (Ex. 11-6) also expressed concern that the use of the term "certify" was unnecessary, stating that certification "does not contribute to improved safety and health. We suggest that certification should be replaced by a signature." In addition, NNS testified (Tr. 28-29, January 25, 1995), as follows:

We still don't understand why the word "certify" can't be left behind in favor of the word "document" or "signature" or some other type of verbiage. We think that the word "certify" carries with it some connotations that will thwart, if you will, the employee involvement efforts that we're stepping forward trying to initiate.

The SCA testified (Tr. 11-12) that:

Where hazard assessment is already in place because of existing OSHA standards * * * we recommend that these assessments be allowed to meet the requirements of the portion of this standard.

Where hazard assessment does not exist, and it would be hard for me to say where it doesn't in the shipyard industry, we'd recommend that an annual assessment be made of the affected craft, possibly of the machinery or pipe fitting departments. Once the hazard assessment is conducted for these crafts, we recommend that the company safety representative be allowed to make these assessments and sign the assessment certifying his or her review and assessment. This assessment should be no more than listing the personal protective equipment required for that particular craft in all working circumstances.

The UBC Health and Safety Fund of North America (Ex. 12-4) stated as follows: "OSHA should require written certification of hazard assessment for employers to select the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is necessary for work being performed by trades or occupations. This assessment should take into account the PPE necessary to protect employees performing specific work tasks."

OSHA has concluded that the documentation format described by commenters and meeting participants will provide adequate assurance that the required hazard assessment has been performed. The Agency agrees that a hazard assessment record which conveys the required information does not need to be called a "certification." Accordingly, the Agency will use the term "document" rather than the term "certification" to describe these minimal written record required under final rule Sec. 1915.152(b)(4). Appendix A provides several acceptable ways of meeting the requirements, including some examples of the trade-based formats.

Final rule paragraph (c) requires employers to ensure that defective or damaged PPE is not used. The proposed paragraph was essentially identical. This provision does not preclude the repair and reuse of PPE. OSHA recognizes that there are many situations where PPE can be removed from service, repaired, and then returned to service. There were no comments on the proposed paragraph, and OSHA therefore promulgates this provision as proposed, except for minor editorial changes.

Final rule paragraph (d) requires that PPE that has been worn by workers and has become unsanitary be cleaned and disinfected before it is reissued. There were no comments on the proposed provision, and this paragraph is unchanged except for minor editorial changes.

Final paragraph (e) sets the training requirements for users of PPE. OSHA has consistently maintained that employees must be properly trained in order to benefit from the use of PPE. The proposed part 1910 and part 1915 PPE training provisions were identical, requiring simply that employees "be trained in the proper use of their personal protective equipment." As discussed in the part 1910 subpart I final rule preamble (59 FR 16337-40, April 6, 1994), OSHA divided the training into four training elements: what affected employees must understand about their PPE; what PPE-related skills those employees must have; when affected employees would need retraining; and what documentation of training was needed.

OSHA concluded that these training elements should also be considered for inclusion in the shipyard standard. Therefore, the July 6, 1994, shipyard PPE notice discussed the general industry training provisions and solicited comments. In order to clarify the requirements for the shipyard industry and provide clear guidance for enforcement, the Agency has revised this provision (paragraph (e)(2)) to read: "The employer shall ensure that each affected employee demonstrates the ability to use PPE properly before being allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE." The Agency is not prescribing the means by which employers comply with this provision.

The general industry PPE standard, Sec. 1910.132(f)(4), provides that: "[t]he employer shall verify that each affected employee has received and understood the required training through a written certification that contains the name of each employee trained, the date(s) of training and that identifies the subject of the certification."

The comments received in response to the July 6 notice opposed a requirement for a written certification of compliance. For example, STASR (Ex. 9-3) commented that:

Every shipyard in the Hampton Roads area has a safety program and a safety office. Every shipyard mandates usage of safety equipment for all employees. Those who do not comply are often sent home. STASR shipyards have safety programs with many of the PPE standards already in place. The PPE training and recordkeeping requirements are, in some cases, redundant.

When an employee is hired and undergoes initial training, that employee can be given a list of equipment to wear while performing a specific task. This is far preferable to sending a monitor to evaluate a worksite on a continuous basis. The shipyard may then certify that an individual has been given the necessary training and the employee will certify understanding of the safety requirements for his or her trade.

The SCA (Ex. 9-7) commented that:

We support the general requirement for training as it does serve to enhance a safer working environment * * * we believe that training should be focused on trade specific duties of employees with the greatest emphasis being placed on orientation training at the outset. PPE serves a very useful purpose, and empirical data often establishes that causes of accident or occupational injuries are attributable to the fact that employees failed to comply with company PPE standards * * *. Additionally, documentation of all training should be in the form of training logs, which should be considered to be the equivalent of "written certification" in order to avoid the non value added redundance of record keeping.

Tampa Shipyards Incorporated (Ex. 9-8) stated that:

We are already complying with this proposed standard and we suspect many other shipyards are also complying with this standard.

Verification through written certification should not be required if an employer can produce training logs with the employee's name, the date the training took place, type of training conducted and the name of the instructor. Training logs should be interpreted under this standard as "written certification."

General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division (EBDiv) (Ex. 9-10) commented that:

EBDiv agrees with OSHA that training is an essential element of a PPE program but does not agree that "training" as specified in the standard requires certification.

EBDiv firmly believes training is a key and necessary component of safety and health programs. EBDiv provides extensive training to its employees on a variety of disciplines not mandated by OSHA in addition to training mandated by OSHA.

Based on these comments, OSHA raised the issue of the need for documentation of training in the December 13, 1994, meeting notice (59 FR 64173). AWH Corporation (Ex. 11-3) commented that training is provided when the employee is hired and at weekly "gangbox" safety meetings, and that training is periodically reinforced by including PPE as a topic at safety meetings.

NNS responded (Ex. 11-6) that "[t]he requirement to certify PPE training dictates recording specific information which can later be retrieved so as to prove training was conducted. We will provide samples of our existing system at the January 25 meeting." NNS provided copies of training documentation at the meeting (Ex. 12-2) and testified (Tr. 29-30) as follows:

We've provided a recommended definition for the word "certify"

* * *

"Certify" means to evaluate subjectively, based on appearance and available information at that time. The certifying individual in a training session, for example, would verify that the trained individual was present during the stated training; he would ensure that required information was delivered to the target audience in what he believed to be an understandable fashion, and he would watch individuals perform activities which indicate that they have understood the training, and then use his judgment at that time to determine whether further instruction was needed or not.

The SCA testified (Tr. 13-14, January 25, 1995) as follows:

We would request that training certification requirements be met in the following manner. Number one, documented new hire orientation * * *. Secondly, we request that training certification requirements be met as documented annual refresher training.

We'd recommend this documentation be in the form of training logs which many of us already keep on the computer * * * Some of our members suggest * * * giving a new employee a list of all required safety equipment that he or she should wear at the time they go through new-hire orientation, just as a reminder * * * this is already being done in many of our yards.

In response to these submissions, OSHA emphasizes that any documentation of training that provides the specified information will provide adequate assurance that the training requirements have been satisfied. Therefore, Sec. 1915.152(e)(4) of the final rule requires employers to verify that each affected employee has received the required training with documentation that includes: employee(s) name; the date(s) of training, and type of training the employee received. In the case of an employee who has already been trained (either prior to the effective date of this standard or by another employer), OSHA will accept documentation dated as of the time the current employer determines that the employee has the requisite proficiency.

As discussed above, the rulemaking record indicates that most shipyard employers are already documenting training in the form of a log, computer database, or some type of written document. Examples of acceptable documentation would be records of stand-up safety meetings and tool box meetings, or a tool room log (where an employee has checked out PPE such as safety glasses, hard hat, gloves, face shield). OSHA will accept any form of documentation that effectively communicates the required information.

Section 1915.153 Eye and Face Protection

Final rule paragraph (a) sets out requirements for eye and face PPE. Paragraph (a)(1) requires employers to ensure that employees use eye and face PPE when employees are exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acid or caustic chemicals, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. This provision is based on the requirements in existing Sec. 1915.151 (b)(1) and (c)(1). This provision is essentially unchanged from that proposed. OSHA did not receive any comments on this provision.

Final paragraph (a)(2) provides that front and side protection must be used when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (for example clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.

OSHA has determined that detachable side shields that meet the pertinent criteria (ANSI Z87.1-1989, as referenced by final rule Sec. 1915.153 (b)(1) and (b)(2)) will provide adequate protection from flying objects. Permitting detachable side shields will allow employers the flexibility to use this kind of protection when necessary, based on the working conditions at the employee's occupation or trade. The Agency has concluded that the same considerations that supported the adoption of such a requirement in other corresponding OSHA standards are relevant to shipyard employment.

Employers should be aware that some PPE could create new hazards to employees. For example, allowing employees to wear wire-frame glasses (plano or prescription safety glasses) around energized electrical parts would increase the potential for electric shock.

In the proposal, paragraph (a)(2) required that eye and face protective equipment properly fit employees. In the final rule Sec. 1915.152(b)(3) already requires that all PPE properly fit employees, and OSHA has therefore not included proposed paragraph (a)(2) in the final rule.

Paragraph (a)(3) addresses appropriate eye PPE for employees who wear prescription lenses. This provision requires that employers provide each such employee either with eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design or with PPE that can be worn over prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the lenses. The final provision, which is essentially the same as the proposed paragraph except for minor editorial changes, elicited no comments.

Proposed paragraph (a)(3) required that protectors with tinted or variable tinted lenses not be worn when an employee was required in the course of work to pass from a brightly lit area, such as outdoors, into a dimly lit area, such as a vessel section. The Agency proposed this requirement to reduce the potential for extreme changes in lighting to temporarily impair an employee's vision.

OSHA received four comments on this provision, all addressing the same point. The commenters (Exs. 6-5, 6-6, 6-9 and 6-10) opposed any prohibition on the use of tinted or variable tint lenses.

Colonna's Shipyard, for example, stated that:

The use of the terms "well lighted" and "dimly lighted" are vague. Tinted lenses, that primarily reduce glare, may not appreciably reduce the amount of light passing through the lenses. As technology improves, variable tint lenses have been shown to reduce the time it takes for the lenses to change from full shading to minimal shading. In fact, employees coming from an interior location into brilliant sunlight can be temporarily blinded by the sun's glare.

In addition, two comments received on proposed subpart B of part 1915 (Doc. S-505) (Ex. 6-15, Bay Shipbuilding Corp. (BSC) and Ex. 6-36, Peterson Builders, Inc. (PBI)), addressed this proposed provision. BSC stated that: "Protectors with tinted or variable tint lenses should not be worn when an employee passes from a well lighted area into a dimly lighted area. Tinting over #2 shade is too dark, but #2 shade or under is felt to be acceptable and safe in most areas."

PBI stated that:

We need the use of tinted lenses to protect our employees from stray ultraviolet rays from weld arc. We presently limit our employees to a 1.7 tint on safety glasses. We are also in favor of the use of the variable tint lenses. This standard is in contradiction to 1915.153A1, which requires us to protect employees from injurious light radiation. This has not been a problem for us in causing accidents.

After evaluating the information in the record for this rulemaking (Doc. S-045), OSHA has concluded that the proposed requirement was too restrictive. The Agency has determined that the employer (for example, through the services of the company's safety professional) is in the best position to determine when tinted or variable tint lenses should be used, based on an awareness of working conditions. This approach is consistent with the current ANSI standard (ANSI Z87.1-1989, paragraph 6.5.2), which is (as discussed below) being incorporated by reference in the final rule. Accordingly, proposed paragraph (a)(3) has not been retained in the final rule.

Paragraph (a)(4) is essentially unchanged from the proposed paragraph. It requires employers to ensure that affected employees use equipment with filter lenses for protection against injurious light radiation and that the lenses have a shade number that is appropriate for the work being performed. Table I-1 -- Filter Lenses for Protection Against Radiant Energy -- lists the necessary shade numbers for various operations. These provisions are consistent with other OSHA standards (existing Sec. 1915.151(c)(1) and Table I-1 in Sec. 1915.118).

In addition, a note to this provision states that, when goggle lenses and a helmet lens are worn together, the shade value of the two lenses can be summed to satisfy the shade requirements of Table I-1, Sec. 1915.153. Bath Iron Works Corporation (BIWC) (Ex. 6-7) objected to this note, stating that the validity of the additive approach to filter lens selection has not been adequately demonstrated and violates accepted industry practice. OSHA disagrees with this view, because the technical experts responsible for the applicable consensus standard, ANSI Z87.1-1989, have indicated that the additive use of lenses is protective, provided that the combined values sum to the necessary value. Therefore, the note to Table I-1 has been retained.

Paragraph (b) sets performance criteria for eye and face PPE. Paragraph (b)(1) provides that protective eye and face devices purchased after August 22, 1996 shall comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989, "American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection," which is incorporated by reference, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective. PPE which satisfies the criteria set by subsequent editions of the pertinent ANSI standard will be considered to comply with paragraph (b)(1) if the updated ANSI criteria are substantively unchanged or provide equivalent protection.

In the proposal, this paragraph, which was designated paragraph (b)(1), required that the design of eye and face protection, in general, comply with the provisions of ANSI Z87.1-1979, while providing, in the alternative, that plano (non-prescription) spectacles comply with the performance-oriented criteria set out in proposed paragraph (b)(2). Shortly after the NPRM was issued, the 1979 edition of Z87.1 was superseded by the current 1989 edition. ANSI Z87.1-1989 is effectively identical to ANSI Z87.1-1979, except that the 1989 revision deleted design restrictive language that had limited the use of new technology in eye and face PPE. OSHA believes that performance-oriented regulatory language, such as that referenced from ANSI Z87.1-1989, will provide employers with appropriate flexibility to protect their employees while taking the particular circumstances of their workplaces into account. The Agency further believes that allowing employees to rely on the 1989 edition will facilitate compliance with the final rule, but will not prevent employers from using PPE that would have been allowed under proposed paragraph (b)(1).

Final rule paragraph (b)(2) requires that eye and face PPE purchased before August 22, 1996 comply with ANSI Z87.1-1979 or be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective. OSHA has determined that it is appropriate to allow the continued use of such PPE in order to avoid imposing unreasonable burdens on employers. As noted above, the substantive provisions of the 1979 and 1989 editions are effectively identical, so employee safety would not be furthered by requiring that employers remove PPE tested under ANSI Z87.1-1979 from service. In this way existing stocks of PPE can be depleted, and any replacement PPE must satisfy the criteria referenced in ANSI Z87.1-1989.

Proposed paragraph (b)(2) would have set performance-oriented criteria for plano spectacles, addressing impact protection, optical requirements, flammability resistance and radiant energy protection. This paragraph was included in the proposal because OSHA had determined that the design provisions (such as for minimum lens thickness or frame design) of the consensus standard referenced by existing Sec. 1915.151(a)(1) (ANSI Z2.1-1959) were outdated. The removal of the design restrictive language from ANSI Z87.1 when it was revised in 1989 eliminated the need to address this problem in the final rule. Accordingly, no such provision appears in the final rule.

Section 1915.154 Respiratory Protection

Final rule Sec. 1915.154 incorporates existing Sec. 1910.134, Respiratory protection, by reference, as was proposed. The shipyard industry has been complying for years with Sec. 1910.134 with regard to its respiratory protection programs. The two comments received on proposed Sec. 1915.154 (Exs. 6-1 and 6-2) agreed with OSHA's proposal to replace Sec. 1915.152, the existing shipyard respirator standard, with Sec. 1910.134. Both comments expressed the belief that Sec. 1910.134 is more protective and certainly more current than Sec. 1915.152.

OSHA has published a proposed revision of Sec. 1910.134, Respiratory Protection, which covers general industry, construction and shipyard employment (59 FR 58884, Nov. 15, 1994). When the revised respiratory protection standard becomes a final rule, OSHA will apply that rule to shipyard employment.

Section 1915.155 Head Protection

Final rule paragraph (a) addresses the use of protective helmets. Paragraph (a)(1) requires employers to ensure that affected employees wear protective helmets when they are working in areas where there is a potential for head injury from falling objects. This requirement is essentially the same as current Sec. 1915.153(a). The national consensus standard for protective headgear, ANSI Z89.1, referenced in final rule Sec. 1915.155(b), deals only with the head injury hazards posed by falling objects and high-voltage electric shock and burn. Therefore, this section of the final rule addresses PPE that is used to protect the head from these hazards.

The proposed rule addressed the use of protective helmets where there was potential for injury to the head from falling or moving objects. The duty to protect employees from other hazards to the head, such as moving objects, may be invoked through the general requirements of final rule Sec. 1915.152(a) when such hazards are identified by the hazard assessment.

Commenting on proposed subpart B of part 1915 (Doc. S-050, Ex. 6-15 of Docket #S-050), BSC stated: "The standard should reflect what is stated in the ANSI standard for head protection." As noted above, the ANSI standard addresses falling object, not moving object, hazards and proposed paragraph (a)(1) has been revised accordingly.

Paragraph (a)(2) requires that affected employees wear protective helmets designed to reduce electric shock hazards when working in areas containing potential electrical hazards or energized conductors. This provision is essentially identical to the proposed provision and to other corresponding OSHA standards.

Final rule paragraph (b) sets the performance criteria for protective helmets. This paragraph provides that protective helmets purchased after August 22, 1996 shall comply with ANSI Z89.1-1986, "Personnel Protection -- Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers -- Requirements," which has been incorporated by reference, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally protective. PPE which satisfies the criteria set by subsequent editions of the pertinent ANSI standard will be considered to comply with paragraph (b) if the updated ANSI criteria are substantively unchanged or provide equivalent protection. The Agency believes that this performance-oriented approach will encourage innovation and the use of improved equipment. The proposed rule also referenced the 1986 edition of ANSI Z89.1.

The consensus standard (ANSI Z.2-1959) referenced by the existing rule (Sec. 1915.153(a)) has been superseded several times since the existing standards were adopted. OSHA does not expect that much, if any, head PPE which was produced to meet the 1959 requirements is still in use. Furthermore, the Agency has concluded that ANSI Z.2-1959 does not provide adequate guidance regarding the selection of appropriate head protection. Therefore, unlike final rule Sec. 1915.153, this section does not explicitly "grandfather" PPE which complies with the existing rule. Employers can continue to have their employees use head PPE which was produced to comply with a pre-1986 edition of ANSI Z89.1 if the employer establishes that the equipment either satisfies the performance criteria of ANSI Z89.1-1986 or provides equivalent protection.

The 1969 and 1986 editions of ANSI Z89.1 set essentially the same requirements, except with regard to electric insulation for Class B helmets. The Agency has concluded that Class B helmets already in use which satisfied the criteria set by the 1969 edition would also satisfy the 1986 criteria. Accordingly, final rule paragraph (b)(2) allows employers to continue to use protective helmets purchased before the effective date of the standard being published today provided that such helmets meet the criteria of ANSI Z.89.1-1969. This means that employers will not be required to replace protective helmets currently in use if they meet these criteria.

Section 1915.156 Foot Protection

Final paragraph (a) requires that affected employees wear protective footwear when they are exposed to hazards from falling and rolling objects, electrical hazards, and objects that may pierce a shoe sole. This is consistent with requirements in other corresponding OSHA standards. This language, which is effectively identical to that in the proposal, differs from existing Sec. 1915.153(d), which requires employers only to make safety shoes available and "encourage" their use. OSHA believes that requiring employers to have affected employees wear protective footwear is necessary to protect their feet from the risk of serious injury. The AWSC (Ex. 6-4) commented that it would impose a cost burden on employers if they were required to purchase safety shoes for their employees. Therefore, they recommended that OSHA not require the employer to pay for foot protection, stating as follows:

The current regulatory language concerning foot protection of employees requires the employer to encourage the use of and make available appropriate foot protection. The new language states that the employer "shall ensure that employees wear protective footwear." AWSC does not object to the practice of wearing the correct protective footwear, and supports the use of this type of personal protective equipment. However, the new language indicates a dramatic shift from current shipyard operations.

Shipyard facilities have instituted many different policies to provide protective footwear to the employee, including disallowing employees to work at the facility unless they are wearing the appropriate footwear and providing an allowance to purchase the footwear. Lists of available and appropriate suppliers are circulated to the employees as a guide.

OSHA also received a comment on this subject from PBI (Docket S-050, Ex. 6-36) that stated: "This requirement is going to be cost prohibitive. We presently recommend safety shoes and contribute to their purchase. However, this standard would practically make them mandatory throughout the shipyard. Our injury experience does not indicate a need for mandatory safety shoes."

As discussed above in reference to the provision for hazard assessment, subpart I requires employers to identify the hazards to which their employees may be exposed and have those employees equipped accordingly. Therefore, employees would be required to wear protective footwear only when such protection was appropriate. In addition, as discussed above in reference to OSHA's 1994 Memorandum on PPE, OSHA interprets the part 1915 subpart I requirements for employers to provide PPE to mean that employers pay for PPE required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards. The above discussed policy memorandum specifically indicates that employers should expect to pay for specialty foot protection. On the other hand, OSHA policy also provides that payment for PPE which is personal in nature and usable away from the workplace (such as safety shoes) is left to labor-management negotiations.

Final rule paragraph (b) sets the performance criteria for protective footwear. Paragraph (b)(1) provides that protective footwear purchased after August 22, 1996 shall comply with ANSI Z41-1991, "American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear," or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally protective.

In addition, paragraph (b)(2) allows protective footwear purchased before August 22, 1996 to continue to comply with ANSI Z41-1983, Personal Protection-Protective Footwear, or footwear that the employer can demonstrate to be equally protective. PPE which satisfies the criteria set by subsequent editions of the pertinent ANSI standard will be considered to comply with paragraph (b) if the updated ANSI criteria are substantively unchanged or provide equivalent protection. The Agency believes that this performance-oriented approach will encourage innovation and the use of improved equipment. Proposed paragraph (b) referenced the 1983 edition of ANSI Z41 for all protective footwear.

The 1991 edition of ANSI Z41, which has superseded the 1983 edition, imposes essentially the same requirements as the 1983 edition, except that the 1991 edition provides more specific performance requirements for resistance to compressive forces and standardizes the puncture resistance testing methods. OSHA believes that referencing ANSI Z41-1991 for shoes purchased after August 22, 1996 provides appropriate and up-to-date criteria for employers and employees seeking to buy protective footwear.

OSHA has determined that it is appropriate to provide explicitly for the continued use of foot PPE purchased prior to the effective date of the final rule, as long as it complies with the pertinent provisions of the ANSI standard (ANSI Z41-1983) referenced by the proposed rule. In this way, the Agency avoids imposing unreasonable burdens on employers.

Section 1915.157 Hand and Body Protection

Final rule Sec. 1915.157 addresses hand and body PPE. Paragraph (a) requires employers to ensure that affected employees use appropriate PPE when their hands or other parts of their bodies are exposed to hazards that could lead to injuries. The final rule identifies skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns, harmful temperature extremes, and sharp objects as examples of hazards that would require the use of PPE. The proposed provision was essentially identical to that in the final rule, except that it identified the hazards requiring protection in more general terms.

Final rule paragraph (b) requires employers to ensure that no employee wears clothing impregnated or covered in part with flammable or combustible materials (such as grease or oil) while engaged in hot work operations or working near an ignition source. This requirement is necessary to protect workers in hot work operations from fire hazards.

The proposed rule stated that employees shall not wear greasy clothing when performing hot work operations. Existing Sec. 1915.153(e) provides that employees shall not be permitted to wear "excessively greasy" clothing while performing hot work operations.

The AWSC recommended (Ex. 6-4) that the word "excessively" be retained in the regulatory text of the final rule.

Shipyard work by definition is not a clean activity. Employees' clothing will be dirty. However, the clothing may not be "greasy" or even excessively greasy. Deletion of the descriptive term "excessively" will create rather than diminish compliance problems. We do not advocate that employees wear excessively greasy clothes when performing hot work operations, but without a proper explanation by OSHA as to the rationale for deleting the term, we advocate retention of the word "excessively" in the proposed language.

In addition, BSC commented (Ex. 6-15 in Docket S-050) that the language of the proposed paragraph was unclear. BSC suggested that OSHA revise the proposed language to require that employees "not wear clothing impregnated with flammable or combustible materials when performing hot work operations."

OSHA believes that retention of the term "excessively," as suggested by the AWSC, could potentially complicate compliance because the Agency has not established a measurable, objective standard for determining what is excessive. Moreover, the risk of flammability exists when clothing is impregnated, or covered, even impart, with a flammable or combustible substance. Therefore, the Agency has concluded that it is appropriate to prohibit employees from wearing clothing impregnated or covered with a flammable or combustible substance during hot work operations. The Agency agrees with the BSC that the standard needs to address all flammable and combustible materials, not just grease, and that adding the term "impregnated" (in the sense of permeated, imbued, or saturated) will more clearly express OSHA's intent. The provision has been revised accordingly.

Final rule paragraph (c) requires that the employer have employees wear protective electrical insulating gloves and sleeves, or other rubber protective equipment that provides equivalent protection when the employees are exposed to electrical shock hazards while working on electrical equipment. The proposed rule was effectively identical, except that it did not provide for the use of "other electrical protective equipment." The Agency has determined that the addition of this performance-oriented revision will encourage innovation and facilitate compliance.

Section 1915.158 Lifesaving Equipment

This section sets requirements for lifesaving equipment used in shipyard employment. Some of the language in the final rule has been editorially revised to reflect the language used in the U.S. Coast Guard's standard for approved lifesaving equipment (46 CFR part 160). OSHA's existing Sec. 1915.154(a) specifies that the above-cited U.S. Coast Guard requirements for this equipment shall be followed. The OSHA final rule provides clarification of acceptable personal flotation devices and uses terminology that is consistent with current Coast Guard requirements. Also, for Type IV PFDs, the U.S. Coast Guard regulations use the term "ring life buoys" rather than the term "life rings" as proposed by OSHA. Therefore, OSHA has replaced "life rings" with "ring life buoy" wherever the term appeared in the proposal. The proposed language did not elicit any comments.

Final rule paragraph (a)(1) requires that personal flotation devices (PFDs) worn by employees be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Type I PFD, Type II PFD, Type III PFD, or Type V PFD, unless the employer provides employee worn equipment that is as effective as the types listed (e.g., a Coast Guard approved immersion suit). Any PFD which is U.S. Coast Guard approved and marked as a Type I PFD, Type II PFD or Type III PFD is acceptable to OSHA for use by employees. A Type V PFD, including Type V Hybrid PFDs, is acceptable to OSHA for use by employees if it is U.S. Coast Guard approved and marked for use as a work vest, for commercial use, or for use on vessels. The language of the proposed paragraph, which was based on existing Sec. 1915.154(a), has been editorially revised and clarified in the final rule.

Final rule paragraph (a)(2), addressing the inspection of PFD's, was proposed by the Agency for deletion with the intent of covering defective PFD equipment under revised general requirements Sec. 1915.152(c), "Defective and damaged equipment." After further consideration the Agency has concluded that a PFD is critical lifesaving equipment which requires specific inspection prior to each use for dry rot, chemical damage, or other defects (such as tears, punctures, missing or non-functioning components) which affect their strength and buoyancy. Therefore, the language of existing Sec. 1915.154(b) is being retained in the final rule.

Paragraph (b) establishes requirements for ring life buoys and ladders. Paragraph (b)(1) requires that at least three 30-inch (0.78 m) U.S. Coast Guard approved ring life buoys with lines attached be kept in readily visible and accessible places when working on a floating vessel of 200 or more feet (61 meters). Ring life buoys must be located one forward, one aft, and one at the access to the gangway. Locating ring life buoys at these positions ensures that one will be readily available if a worker falls overboard at any point along the ship's length. This paragraph, which is based on existing Sec. 1915.154(c)(1), is essentially identical to the proposed paragraph.

Paragraph (b)(2) requires floating vessels under 200 feet (61 m) in length to have at least one 30-inch (0.78 m) U.S. Coast Guard approved ring life buoy with line attached located at the gangway. The proposed paragraph, based on existing Sec. 1915.154(c)(1), was essentially the same.

Paragraph (b)(3) requires that at least one 30-inch (0.78 m) U. S. Coast Guard approved ring life buoy with a line attached be located on each staging float alongside the floating vessels from which work is being performed. The proposed paragraph, which was based on existing Sec. 1915.154(c)(2), is effectively identical to the final rule's provision.

Paragraph (b)(4) requires at least 90 feet (27 m) of line to be attached to each ring life buoy. The proposed requirement, which was based on existing Sec. 1915.154(c)(3), was effectively identical to the final rule.

Paragraph (b)(5) requires that at least one portable or permanently installed ladder be in the vicinity of each floating vessel on which work is being performed. The provision further requires that the ladder(s) be of sufficient length to assist employees to reach safety in the event that they fall into the water. The proposed paragraph, which was based on existing Sec. 1915.154(c)(4), was effectively identical to the final rule.

Section 1915.159 Personal Fall Arrest Systems

This section sets performance criteria and other requirements for the use of personal fall arrest systems.

The Agency has determined that the fall hazards encountered by shipyard employees correspond to those faced by employees in other industries, and that it is therefore appropriate for OSHA to consider the information generated in general industry fall protection PPE rulemakings when drafting the final rule for shipyard PPE. The fall protection PPE criteria in proposed Sec. 1915.159 were very similar to those in the corresponding proposed general industry standard (proposed Secs. 1910.128 and 1910.129).

The record for the general industry fall protection PPE rulemaking (Docket S-057) indicated that the Agency should consider revising the proposed rule to prohibit the use of non-locking snaphooks and to disallow the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems. This record, in turn, is directly relevant as the Agency considers corresponding changes in proposed Sec. 1915.159.

To provide the public with notice and an opportunity to comment on the need for such revisions to the shipyard PPE proposed rule, the Agency solicited input through the July 6, 1994 notice of reopening (59 FR 34586) and the December 13, 1994 meeting notice (59 FR 64173). The response to those notices is discussed below.

OSHA obtained evidence (Docket S-057) in the General Industry rulemaking that employees who fall while wearing body belts are not protected as well as they would be if the fall occurred while the employee was wearing a body harness, and that the use of body belts has resulted in injuries to falling employees. A large number of rulemaking participants (Exs. 9-9, 9-10, 11-7, Tr. p. 23, Tr. pp. 59-61) supported prohibiting the use of body belts in fall protection systems. For example, Atlantic Marine (Ex. 9-9) endorsed the use of body harnesses as a safer method for employees, stating: "While the cost of body harnesses is usually twice the amount of the body belts, the added safety factor to the employee is well worth the money, and in the long run, will save the company money in case of an accident."

General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division, (Ex. 9-10) stated that it utilizes body harnesses for all of its fall protection needs.

Bath Iron Works Corporation/Local S6 (BIWC/Local S6) (Ex. 11-7) commented that they use only body harnesses in fall arrest systems and use either body harnesses or body belts in positioning device systems. BIW/Local S6 stated that it "fully supports the implementation of the proposed changes to [part 1915] subpart I."

The SCA testified (Tr. 23) that its members support the use of body harnesses in personal fall arrest systems, stating "many of our yards already use them. We find them to be very effective, and everybody seems to certainly feel a lot safer with them."

In addition, the Engineering and Safety Service (E&S) testified (Tr. 59-61) that "body belts have no useful purpose in a personal fall arrest system. E&S believes that an effective personal fall arrest system must incorporate a full body harness to protect the worker from injury and to provide an opportunity for rescue."

However, NNS (Ex. 9-11) responded as follows:

We reviewed all falls occurring at NNS since January 1, 1991. None of those occurring involved an injury which could have been prevented or mitigated by using a harness over a belt. NNS mostly uses belts with double acting clips. To replace all of our body belts with harnesses would cost in excess of $570,000. Clearly, this is another unwarranted cost adversely affecting our global competitiveness without enhancing the safety of our employees.

The December 13, 1994 notice (59 FR 64173) solicited input regarding the extent to which a phased in ban on the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems would be appropriate for shipyard employment.

In their comments to this notice, NNS stated as follows:

We now understand that OSHA will agree to a phased replacement of body belts to offset the initial cost of purchasing large quantities of body harnesses. We will provide life cycle and replacement information at the January 25 meeting which should help OSHA to determine what the phased replacement period should be.

NNS subsequently testified (Tr. 34-35):

We see body harnesses coming, and we need a significant period of phase-in time for this to have a minimal financial impact on our operations. We've got 4,000 some-odd body belts either on issue or available for issue. Replacing all of those at once would cost use some $570,000 * * * [W]e'd like a reasonable period of time to phase the harnesses in, and that reasonable period of time, based on our inventory and our estimated useful life of a body belt, is seven years.

Based on the information in Docket S-057 and the shipyard industry input discussed above, OSHA has decided to bar the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems. OSHA believes, however, that it is appropriate to allow a phase-out period, ending December 31, 1997, rather than to establish an immediate prohibition, so that shipyard employers can continue to use their body belts while they switch over to body harnesses. OSHA urges employers to phase out the use of body belts in personal fall arrest systems as soon as possible so that employees may be spared exposure to the increased risk of injuries from body belt use. It is important to note that body belts may continue to be used in positioning device systems even after they have been banned in fall arrest systems. OSHA has included paragraphs (b)(6)(i), (c)(1)(i), (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(8) in the final rule to provide criteria for any body belts that are used in personal fall arrest systems during the phase-out period.

In addition, OSHA has determined that it is appropriate, given the dangers related to "roll-out," to phase-out the use of non-locking connectors. The phase-out period will avoid imposing undue hardship on employers who currently use non-locking snaphooks. As discussed in the July 6, 1994 notice of reopening, the Agency has concluded that the same considerations which supported the adoption of such a requirement in other corresponding OSHA PPE standards apply to personal fall arrest system components used in shipyard employment. OSHA has concluded that compliance with final rule paragraphs (a)(5) and (a)(6) will effectively minimize any problems related to the use of non-locking snaphooks during the phase-out period.

The input received in response to the July 6, 1994 reopening notice (59 FR 345860) and the December 13, 1994 meeting notice (59 FR 64173) indicated shipyard industry support for a ban on the use of non-locking snaphooks. For example, General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division (Ex. 9-10) stated that it "utilizes locking snaphooks and therefore takes no issue with the proposed * * * language."

NNS (Tr. 52) and the UBC Health and Safety Fund of North America (UBC) (Tr. 86) testified that OSHA should require the use of locking snaphooks. In particular, the UBC stated that "OSHA should prohibit the use of non-locking snap hooks because of the recognized danger of roll-out and the resulting possibility of employee falls." Accordingly, Sec. 1915.159 of the final rule bans the use of non-locking snaphooks in fall arrest systems, effective January 1, 1998.

Final rule paragraph (a) sets criteria for connectors and anchorages used in personal fall arrest systems. Except where otherwise indicated, any final rule provisions which were not proposed have been added to the standard because the Agency has concluded that the same considerations which supported the adoption of such requirements in other corresponding PPE standards apply to personal fall arrest systems and components used in shipyard employment.

Paragraph (a)(1), proposed as paragraph (a)(7), requires that connectors be made of drop forged, pressed, or formed steel or materials equivalent in strength. The connectors used in personal fall arrest systems must be made of steel or equivalent materials to withstand failure under fall conditions. As discussed above in relation to the definitions (Sec. 1915.151(b)), OSHA has replaced the proposed term "hardware" with the term "connector." Otherwise, the proposed and final rule language are identical.

Final rule paragraph (a)(2), proposed as paragraph (a)(8), requires that connectors have a corrosion-resistant finish and that all surfaces and edges be smooth to prevent damage to the interfacing parts of the system. The only difference between the final rule's provision and the proposed provision is the use of the term "connector" instead of "hardware."

Final rule paragraph (a)(3), proposed as paragraph (a)(14), requires that D-rings and snaphooks used in these systems be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). No comments were received on this paragraph.

Final rule paragraph (a)(4), which is also a new provision, requires that D-rings and snaphooks be 100 percent proof tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 Kn) without cracking, breaking, or being permanently deformed. The provision is included to ensure the strength of all D-rings and snaphooks.

Paragraph (a)(5), which was not proposed, provides that snaphooks shall either be sized so as to prevent unintentional disengagement of the snaphook or shall be of a locking type which is designed and used to prevent disengagement of the snaphook. This provision has been added to prevent "rollout" conditions in a personal fall arrest system during the phase-out period for non-locking snaphooks.

Final rule paragraph (a)(6) requires that snaphooks, unless of a locking type designed and used to prevent disengagement from the following connections, must not be attached:

(i) Directly to webbing, rope, or wire rope;
(ii) To each other;

(iii) To a D-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached;

(iv) To a horizontal lifeline, or (v) To any other object that is shaped incompatibly or dimensioned in relation to the snaphook such that the connected object could depress the snaphook keeper a sufficient amount for release.

Proposed paragraphs (a)(15), (a)(16), and (a)(17), which set similar requirements, have been clarified and consolidated in final rule paragraph (a)(6).

Final rule paragraph (a)(7), which is a new provision, requires that devices used for connection to the horizontal lifeline on suspended scaffolds, or to similar work platforms with horizontal lifelines that may become vertical lifelines, be capable of locking in any direction on the lifeline. Because a suspended scaffold or platform could lose its support at either end, the connection device must be able to lock on the lifeline regardless of which end goes down.

Final rule paragraph (a)(8), requires that anchorages used for the attachment of personal fall arrest equipment be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms. Final rule paragraph (a)(9) requires that anchorages either be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 Kn) per employee attached or be designed, installed, and used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two, and is used under the direction and supervision of a qualified person. Both provisions are based on proposed paragraph (a)(10).

Proposed paragraph (a)(10) required that personal fall arrest systems be secured to an anchorage capable of supporting at least twice the potential impact load of an employee's fall. E&S testified (Tr. 63-64) that it was "concerned about the safety factor requirements for an anchorage in the proposed standard * * * [E&S] does not believe the average worker is capable of determining the safe limits of an anchorage." In the course of subsequent questioning (Tr. 70-71), E&S agreed that anchorages installed as part of a completely designed personal fall arrest system, and used under the supervision of a qualified person, would provide adequate support for employees. This approach, taken in the corresponding construction and general industry rulemakings, has been adopted in the shipyard PPE final rule. The final rule provisions, while reformatted for the sake of clarity, are essentially the same as the proposed provision.

Final rule paragraph (b) sets criteria for lifelines, lanyards, and personal fall arrest systems. Paragraph (b)(1) requires that each employee be provided with a separate lifeline when vertical lifelines are used. Proposed paragraph (a)(9), which elicited no comments, was essentially identical to this provision of the final rule.

Final rule paragraph (b)(2) requires vertical lifelines (droplines) and lanyards to have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 Kn). This provision of the final rule consolidates the strength requirements contained in proposed paragraphs (a)(11) and (a)(13). The elements of proposed paragraph (a)(11), which addressed self-retracting lifelines, have been redesignated final rule paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4), as discussed below. The "exception" to the 5000-pound strength requirements contained in proposed paragraph (a)(13) appears in the final rule as a separate provision, paragraph (b)(3), to more clearly express the Agency's intent. OSHA received no comments on the proposed paragraphs relating to lifelines, lanyards, and personal fall arrest systems. The Agency has determined that reformatting the proposed requirements will facilitate compliance efforts for employers whose employees use vertical lifelines or lanyards.

Final rule paragraph (b)(3) requires that self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less be capable of sustaining a minimum static tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 Kn) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position. Final rule paragraph (b)(4) requires that self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distances to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less (for example: ripstitch lanyards, tearing, and deforming lanyards) be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 Kn) applied to the device (with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position if such a condition can occur in use). As discussed above, final rule paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4), which are based on proposed paragraph (a)(11), have been included in the final rule as separate paragraphs for clarity.

Final rule paragraph (b)(5) (revised from proposed paragraph (a)(12)) requires that horizontal lifelines to be used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system be designed and installed under the supervision of a qualified person and have a safety factor of at least two. The proposed provision required that horizontal lifelines have sufficient strength to support a fall impact force of at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 Kn). As discussed above, the Agency has concluded that the same considerations which supported the adoption of such a requirement in the other corresponding OSHA standards apply to personal fall arrest system components used in shipyard employment. OSHA has revised the final rule accordingly.

Final rule paragraph (b)(6) sets the systems performance criteria for personal fall arrest systems. These are new requirements, so OSHA is making this provision effective November 20, 1996 in order to allow employers a reasonable amount of time to attain compliance. The note to final rule paragraph (b)(6) indicates that Non-mandatory Appendix B provides examples of criteria and protocols for designing and testing personal fall arrest systems that OSHA would consider to comply with the standard.

Proposed paragraph (a)(4) was similar to final rule paragraph (b)(6), except that the proposed rule set 1,800 pounds (rather than 900 pounds) as the maximum arresting force limit for systems that used body belts and required that a system have a strength factor of two (based on a design weight of 250 pounds per employee). Also, as discussed below, the proposed requirement that free fall be limited to six feet has been redesignated as a separate provision, final rule paragraph (b)(7), for the sake of clarity. The note to proposed paragraph (a)(4)(iv) is essentially identical to that which appears in the final rule, except for editorial revisions. As discussed above, in reference to the July 6, 1994 notice (59 FR 34586), the Agency has concluded that the same considerations which supported the adoption of such requirements in the other corresponding OSHA standards apply to personal fall arrest system components used in shipyard employment. OSHA has revised the proposed rule accordingly.

Final rule paragraph (b)(7), based on proposed paragraph (a)(4)(i), requires that personal fall arrest systems be rigged to prevent an employee from free falling more than 6 feet (1.8 m) or contacting any lower level.

Final rule paragraph (c) sets criteria for the selection, use and care of personal fall arrest systems and system components. Paragraph (c)(1) (proposed as paragraph (a)(5)) of the final rule requires that the attachment point of a body belt be located in the center of the wearer's back. The attachment point of a body harness must be in the center of the wearer's back near shoulder level or above the wearer's head. The proposed rule provided that the connection point must be either above the wearer's head or above the waist in the back. Comments in the other rulemaking records supported allowing an attachment point at the chest position for limited free fall distances. The final rule, as regards body harnesses, has been revised accordingly.

Paragraph (c)(2) of the final rule, which is a new provision, requires that ropes and straps (webbing) used in lanyards, lifelines, and strength components of body belts and body harnesses be made from synthetic fibers or wire rope. OSHA has determined, given the difficulty of evaluating the deterioration of natural fiber rope, that natural fiber rope is not reliable for use in a personal safety system.

Final rule paragraph (c)(3), also a new provision, requires ropes, belts, harnesses and lanyards to be compatible with all hardware used. The use of incompatible equipment may cause a fall, or, during arrest of a fall, allow arresting forces which cause injury.

Paragraph (c)(4), proposed as paragraph (a)(3), requires that lifelines and lanyards be protected against cuts, abrasions, burns from hot work operations, and deterioration by acids, solvents, and other chemicals. The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Final rule paragraph (c)(5), proposed as paragraph (a)(18), requires that personal fall arrest systems be visually inspected prior to each use for mildew, wear, damage, and any other deterioration. This inspection need not involve testing or impact loading of the system. If there is a reasonable basis to believe that the strength or integrity of the fall arrest system has been weakened, the employer shall remove defective or damaged equipment from service. No comments were received on the proposed provision, which was identical to the provision in the final rule except for minor editorial changes.

Paragraph (c)(6), which was proposed as paragraph (a)(2), requires that personal fall arrest systems and components that have been subjected to impact loading be removed immediately from service and not be used again for employee protection until inspected and judged suitable for use by a qualified person. The proposed provision, which was effectively identical, elicited no comments and has been promulgated in the final rule with minor editorial changes.

Paragraph (c)(7) of the final rule, a new provision, requires that the employer provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or ensure that employees who have fallen can rescue themselves. This provision also appears in the proposed general industry rule and in the final rule for construction. OSHA anticipates that employers will evaluate the potential consequences of falls in personal fall arrest systems in their work environments and choose an appropriate means of rescue. OSHA recognizes that the rescue requirements for employees wearing body harnesses and body belts will differ. For example, the Agency anticipates that self-rescue will be more difficult for employees using body belts and that the acceptable rescue time for such employees will be shorter, because falls in body belts typically result in the employee hanging in a jack-knifed position. When it is not possible to evaluate the self-rescue capacity of employees in advance, prudent employers should assume that employees will need rescue assistance and, accordingly, be prepared to offer it. Paragraph (c)(8), proposed as paragraph (a)(6), requires that body belts be at least 1.625 inches (4.1-cm) wide. OSHA has determined that this minimum width will be acceptable for any body belts that are used in personal fall arrest systems during the phase-out period. No comments were received on this provision.

Paragraph (c)(9), proposed as paragraph (a)(1), requires that personal fall arrest equipment be used exclusively for employee protection. For example, this equipment may not be used to hoist materials. This revision is intended to prevent the deterioration potentially caused by improper uses and types of loads. The proposed provision, which was identical, elicited no comments.

Final rule paragraph (d), Training, proposed as paragraph (a)(19), requires that employees be trained to understand the application limits of the equipment and the proper hook-up, anchoring, and tie-off techniques, before using any personal fall arrest equipment. Affected employees must also be trained so that they can demonstrate the proper methods of use, inspection, and storage of the equipment. OSHA believes that employees must know how their fall arrest equipment works in order to get the appropriate protection from it. No comments were received on the proposed provision, which was effectively identical to the final rule.

Section 1915.160 Positioning Device Systems

Positioning device systems prevent falls by holding affected employees in place while they perform work on vertical surfaces at elevations. The provisions of proposed Sec. 1915.159(b) have been moved to final rule Sec. 1915.160, so there is a clear distinction between the requirements for personal fall arrest systems and those for positioning device systems.

Final rule paragraph (a) sets criteria for connectors and anchorages used in positioning device systems. For the same reasons as provided in the introductory discussion of final rule Sec. 1915.159, the introductory text of final rule Sec. 1915.160 provides that the use of non-locking snaphooks will not be acceptable in positioning device systems after December 31, 1997. OSHA has included paragraph (a)(4) in the final rule to address any non-locking snaphooks that may remain in use during the phase-out period.

Paragraph (a)(1), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)1), requires that all hardware have a corrosion-resistant finish and that all surfaces and edges be smooth to prevent damage to the attached belt or connecting assembly. Corrosion resistance is essential to retain the integrity of the hardware, while smooth edges and surfaces prevent cuts, tears, or other damage to system components. The proposed provision was identical, except that the proposed term "hardware" has been replaced by the term "connector." As discussed above, OSHA has determined that it is appropriate to focus attention on the critical load-bearing hardware by adopting the term "connector."

Final rule paragraph (a)(2), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(2), provides that connecting assemblies, such as snaphooks or D-rings, have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 Kn). The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Final rule paragraph (a)(3), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(3), requires that anchorages for positioning device systems be capable of supporting twice the potential impact load of an employee's fall. The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Final rule paragraph (a)(4), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(6)(i), provides that snaphooks, unless of a locking type designed and used to prevent disengagement, shall not be connected to each other. The proposed rule simply prohibited the connecting of snaphooks to each other. As discussed above, in reference to the introductory text of final rule Sec. 1915.160, the use of non-locking snaphooks is prohibited after December 31, 1997.

Final rule paragraph (b) sets performance criteria for positioning device systems. Paragraph (b)(1), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(4), requires that restraint (tether) lines have a minimum breaking strength of 3,000 pounds (13.3-Kn). This breaking strength is necessary to ensure that the line will hold under fall arrest conditions. The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Paragraph (b)(2), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(5), provides the system performance criteria for the different types of positioning device systems. These are new performance requirements that are not in OSHA's current shipyard standards. In order to allow employers a reasonable amount of time to ensure that their equipment meets these requirements, OSHA is making this provision effective November 20, 1996.

Final rule paragraph (b)(2)(i) provides that window cleaner's positioning systems must be capable of withstanding a drop test involving a 6 foot (1.83 m) drop of a 250 pound (113 kg) weight. These systems must withstand a more rigorous drop test than other positioning device systems because of their potential for greater free fall distances.

Final rule paragraph (b)(2)(ii) requires that all positioning device systems, other than window cleaners' positioning systems, be capable of withstanding a drop test of 4 feet (1.2 m) with a 250 pound (113 kg) weight. Positioning device systems which comply with the provisions of Section 2 of Appendix B will be deemed by OSHA to meet the requirements of this paragraph. The proposed provision, which elicited no comments, was identical.

Final rule paragraph (c) sets criteria for the use and care of positioning device systems. Final rule paragraph (c)(1), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(7), requires the inspection of positioning device systems before each workshift for mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration. This provision further requires that defective components identified in such inspections be removed from service. The proposed language was nearly identical, except that it provided for removal of defective equipment "if their functions or strength may have been adversely affected." OSHA has determined that the deletion of that language will make the rule easier to understand, because employers will simply remove components from service that are identified as defective without having to make a specific determination about strength or function.

Final rule paragraph (c)(2), proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(6)(ii), requires that positioning device systems or components subjected to impact loading be removed immediately from service and not be used again for employee protection, unless inspected and determined by a qualified person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse. This requirement is necessary to ensure that systems used for employee protection still meet the performance criteria for such systems before they are reused for this purpose. The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Final rule paragraph (d), Training, proposed as Sec. 1915.159(b)(6)(iii), provides that employees must be trained in the application limits, proper hook-up, anchoring, and tie-off techniques, methods of use, inspection, and storage of positioning device systems before they may use those systems. This provision emphasizes the importance of employee training in the safe use of positioning device systems; for these systems to provide employee protection, two elements are essential. The systems must be designed and used in accordance with stated performance criteria, and the employee(s) using the system must be adequately trained in the safe use of the system. The proposed provision, which did not elicit comments, was identical.

Incorporation by Reference

Another action in this document is the consolidation, within part 1915, of OSHA's Incorporation by Reference (IBR) statements of approval, which indicate clearance by the Office of the Federal Register, into a single section, Sec. 1915.5. Existing section 1915.5 is being updated and revised to accomplish this consolidation. This approach is consistent with that taken by other Federal agencies. As amended, Sec. 1915.5 contains the national consensus standard organizations' addresses and the IBR approval language. This approach saves text by cross-referencing from the regulatory text where an IBR is set out to the IBR section. Without such a section, the addresses of the standards organizations, the OSHA Docket Office address, and the IBR approval statement would need to be repeated with each incorporation by reference throughout the shipyard standards. A consolidated IBR Section will also be easier to update.

Appendices

OSHA is including two non-mandatory appendices to final part 1915 subpart I.

Appendix A

Appendix A provides suggested guidelines for complying with the requirements for hazard assessment for the selection of personal protection equipment.

In developing the final rule for this rulemaking, OSHA has determined that Appendix B of the corresponding General Industry standard (part 1910, subpart I) contains some useful information that would be helpful to shipyard employers. Therefore, OSHA has decided to add a detailed Appendix A to the shipyard PPE standard to provide some examples of guidelines which an employer may follow in complying with OSHA's performance-oriented final rule. Those guidelines include examples of hazard assessments performed by work activity.

Appendix B

Appendix B contains testing methods and other information to assist employers in complying with the performance-oriented criteria for personal fall arrest systems and positioning device systems contained in this standard. Many revisions have been made to this appendix based on the comments received during the powered platform rulemaking (Docket No. S-700A). These changes are intended to clarify and simplify the information presented. A complete discussion of the comments and reasons for the changes are included in the Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance final rule (54 FR 31452).

Amendments to Other Subparts of the Shipyard Standards

This final rule also revises cross references in subparts C and H of the shipyard standards, so that those provisions reference subpart I. The existing references would no longer identify the correct paragraphs in subpart I because of the reformatting of Subpart I. These revisions are editorial in nature and do not substantively change the current requirements in other subparts.

[61 FR 26321, May 24, 1996]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents

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