Marine Log

October 16, 2006

OSHA publishes new shipyard fire protection rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will publish a direct final rule in the October 17, 2006 Federal Register that incorporates more recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards into OSHA's fire protection standard for shipyards.

OSHA issued a revised fire protection final rule for shipyard employment in September 2004 that incorporated 19 NFPA standards. NFPA subsequently updated a number of these consensus standards. Because the newer standards had not been included in the 2004 proposal, the public had not been given adequate notice to allow the Agency to reference them in the final rule.

The direct final rule adds 10 updated National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards to OSHA's shipyard fire protection standard and requires employers to use the more recent versions. The updated standards also incorporate some newer technologies for fire protection equipment so employees may receive greater protection from shipyard fire hazards.

OSHA says the standards are being updated through the direct final rule approach, which saves regulatory resources over notice and comment rulemaking (when there is no opposition) by eliminating one stage in the rulemaking process. If no significant adverse comments are received, the final rule would become effective on Jan. 16, 2007.

Public comments must be sent in triplicate by Nov. 16, 2006 to the Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Room N-2625, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments on the direct final rule should reference Docket No. S-051A.