Last Chance to Comment on OSHA Shipyards Rule

OSHA has established a deadline of Nov. 16 for stakeholders to submit comments on a direct final rule that updates the agency's fire protection standard for shipyards.

The rule, which will be published in the Oct. 17 Federal Register, incorporates more-recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards into 29 CFR 1915.4, 29 CFR 1915.505 and 29 CFR 1915.507.

If no significant adverse comments are received by Nov. 16, the final rule would become effective on Jan. 16, 2007.

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, according to OSHA.

The direct final rule adds 10 updated 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, according to the agency.

The standards are being updated through the direct final rule approach, which, according to OSHA, saves regulatory resources over notice and comment rulemaking (when there is no opposition) by eliminating one stage in the rulemaking process.

Public comments must be sent in triplicate by Nov. 16 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.

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