A description of the proposed changes are as follows:

1. TITLE 8:

Compressed Air Safety Orders
Chapter 4, Subchapter 3, Article 3, Section 1205; Article 4, Section 1210, Article 6, Section 1220, and Article 7, Section 1230
Compressed Air Safety Orders

INITIAL STATEMENT OF REASONS


INFORMATIVE DIGEST OF PROPOSED ACTION/PLAIN ENGLISH OVERVIEW

These proposed revisions are made pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s requirement under Labor Code Section 142.3 to adopt standards "at least as effective as" the federal standards for which federal standards exist.

The provisions of the proposed revisions are similar and contain language verbatim to the comparable federal regulations contained in 29 CFR 1926.803 subparagraph (a), (e)(5), (g)(l)(ii), (g)(l)(v), (g)(l)(xiii), (i)(2), (i)(4), and (k)(3). The federal subparagraph (j) pertains to electricity, lighting fixtures, wiring, grounding, etc. Without incurring unnecessary duplication between existing Title 8 safety orders, Board staff has simply proposed clarifying language in Section 1230(b) indicating to the employer that he/she is to comply with applicable portions of the Electrical Safety Orders with regard to the electrical safety equipment issues addressed in the federal 29 CFR 1926.803 (j)(1-6).

These proposed verbatim revisions are comparable to the federal regulations indicated above, which are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations dated 7-1-97, pages 443-449.

Section 1205. General Provisions

Existing Section 1205 requires the employer to notify the Division of Occupational Safety and Health in writing within 7 days of undertaking compressed air work. This Section also requires the employer to have a qualified person familiar with the compressed air safety orders and other applicable orders on site at all times while employees work in a compressed air environment.

A revision is proposed in subsection (b) to delete the word "qualified" and replace it with the term "competent."

The revision may require the employer to retrain some employees currently serving on the job site as a "qualified person" to a level where the individual can recognize compression work hazards and have the authority to take action to mitigate hazards.

Section 1210. Compressing Rate

This section consists of a single subsection (a), which prohibits the air pressure from being increased to more than 3 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) within the first minute of employee compression. Subsection (a) also requires the pressure to be held at 3 psig and again at 7 psig, raising the pressure uniformly at a rate not to exceed 10 psig per minute. Furthermore, subsection (a) requires holding the pressure in the event an employee experiences discomfort, gradually reducing the pressure until employee’s signs of discomfort stops, and releasing employee from the air lock in cases where the discomfort does not stop.

A new subsection (b) is proposed which prohibits employees from being subjected to air pressure exceeding 50 psig, except in an emergency.

The proposed subsection (b) will require employers to instruct the lock attendant in accordance with the proposed language and take/implement measures administratively to ensure that the 50 psig air pressure limitation is never exceeded except under emergency situations.

Section 1220. Air Locks

This section requires employers to prohibit employees from passing from the working chamber of an air lock (lock) to atmospheric pressure until after decompression in accordance with the procedures specified in Appendix A, B or Section 1217 have been performed, except in emergency situations. Existing Section 1220 also addresses the following issues: posting of decompression time in air locks, duties/responsibilities/use of air lock attendants, use of automatic controls, use of manual controls, record keeping, use of pressure gauges, clocks, thermometers, minimum number of air locks required for specific tunnel operations, design of air locks, air lock illumination, etc.

Subsection (c) requires lock attendants to be stationed at the lock controls or the free air side during compression/decompression. The regulations also specify the lock attendant is to remain in the vicinity of the air lock when employees are in the lock.

A revision is proposed to reword subsection (c) to require the lock attendants to be under the supervision of a physician (already required per Section 1280(a)(1)), stationed at the lock controls on the free air side during compression/decompression. The proposed revision would also require the lock attendant to be at the lock control station when employees are in the lock.

The proposed revision would require the employer to implement an administrative change to current procedures involving the lock attendant, which includes having the physician required already by Section 1280 to supervise the lock attendant's activities at the air lock and having the lock attendant remain at the lock controls.

Subsection (g) requires a clock, thermometer and a continuous recording pressure gauge with

4-hour graph to be installed outside each air lock. This subsection also requires the graph to be visible to the lock attendant. In addition, a pressure gauge, clock and thermometer is to be installed in each air lock along with fittings to install additional test gauges as necessary.

A revision is proposed in subsection (g) to require a copy of the graph mentioned above to be submitted to the jobsite physician after each shift.

The proposed revision will require a simple administrative amendment to the employer’s air lock attendant work procedures to ensure a copy of the 4-hour graph is provided to the physician.

A new subsection (p) is proposed which requires employers to provide adequate ventilation in accordance with Section 5143 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

The proposed subsection (p) would require the employer to evaluate the air lock(s) ventilation and make any necessary adjustments consistent with the ventilation requirements specified in Section 5143 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

Section 1230. Temperature, Illumination, Sanitation and Ventilation

Existing Section1230 addresses working chamber temperatures, illumination in chambers using electricity and independent electric-lighting systems with independent power supply, minimum intensity of illumination for working surfaces, use of dressing rooms and drying rooms including lockers, bathing accommodations, toilets, water supply, etc. In addition, Section 1230 requires exhaust valves/pipes to be provided to ensure good working chamber ventilation, thus avoiding dead air pockets. It also requires ventilating air to be not less than 30 cubic feet per minute per person.

Revisions are proposed to add clarifying language in subsection (b), which informs the employer that all electrical installations/equipment are to comply with applicable portions of the Electrical Safety Orders.

The proposed revision clarifies to the employer that electrical installations, equipment, (e.g. lighting fixtures, wiring, etc.) are to be installed and used in accordance with the Electrical Safety Orders.

Subsection (d) contains requirements pertaining to the design of dressing rooms, drying rooms (compressed air environments) including benches, lockers, showers, hot/cold water, toilets and toilet design, when used in atmospheric pressures, which vary from normal atmospheric pressure.

A revision is proposed to add a sentence at the end of subsection (d), which would require all parts of caissons and other working compartments to be kept in a sanitary condition.

The proposed revision would require the employer to perform periodic maintenance/housekeeping checks of caissons/working compartments on a regular basis to ensure the operations are conducted in a sanitary manner. Housekeeping tasks may need to be conducted to remove trash, dirt, waste, etc.

A new subsection (g) is proposed to require air in the caisson/working compartments (working chamber) categorized as "the workplace", to be periodically analyzed (once each shift) to ensure airborne contaminants are within the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s) specified in

Section 5155 of the General Industry Safety Orders. This revision also includes a requirement that records of the air analysis be kept on file at the location where the work is being performed, and that test results must also be within 10% of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) for flammable gasses.

The proposed revision will require the employer to obtain, hire, rent, or contract out airborne monitoring services to perform the required tests or perform them independent of any outside help using onsite staff who are competent to take such measurements and maintain a condition record of the results. The employer may have to implement corrective action to improve ventilation or provide employees with personal protective equipment in order to protect the employee.

A new subsection (h) is proposed which would require forced air ventilation during decompression via chemical or mechanical air purifying devices to ensure fresh air is provided.

The proposal is necessary to ensure that employees working in compressed air environments do not become ill as a result of impure air or air which is odorous and difficult to breathe.

Documents Incorporated By Reference

None.