OSHA Seeks to Update National Consensus Standards for Acetylene

A revision to OSHA's Acetylene Standard replaces references to outdated consensus standards with updated references reflecting current industry practices in the acetylene industry.

The revised standard requires that employers ensure that in-plant transfer, handling, storage, and use of acetylene cylinders comply with Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet G-1-2003, Acetylene. Piping systems, as well as facilities and equipment, used to generate acetylene or to fill acetylene cylinders are required to comply with National Fire Protection Standard NFPA 51A, Standard for Acetylene Charging Plants.

"This final rule improves OSHA's acetylene standards in providing safe workplaces for workers by incorporating current technology and safe industry work practices," said Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "The rule will better enable employers to fulfill their responsibility of protecting the safety and health of their workers."

If the agency receives significant adverse comments within 30 days of publication, the accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will allow the agency to continue the rulemaking as a "Notice and Comment" rulemaking. If no significant adverse comments are received, the Direct Final Rule will take effect Nov. 9, 2009. The revision, recommended by both the Compressed Gas Association and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, is another step in updating outdated references in OSHA's standards.

The agency will accept public comments on the Direct Final Rule and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking until Sept. 10, 2009. Comments may be submitted electronically by logging onto www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, then follow the online instructions. If comments do not exceed 10 pages, they may be faxed to 202-693-1648. If submitting comments by mail, hand delivery, or courier service, send three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2008-0034, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20210.

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