Last week, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued proposed revisions to its explosives and blasting agents standard located at 29 C.F.R. § 1910.109 for general industry, and at 29 C.F.R. § 1926.900 for construction operations. The rule changes are primarily intended to update the explosives standard, which has been largely unchanged since its adoption in 1971. Security-based revisions to explosives handling, transportation, and storage requirements since September 11, 2001 have also contradicted many of the prior OSHA provisions. A number of the new rule changes conform OSHA requirements to those adopted more recently by the Department of Transportation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The definition of explosive agents in the standard has been expanded to match the DOT definition, and expands the list of covered substances. Labels for packages containing explosives must meet both international labeling standards as well as OSHA’s hazard communication requirements. OSHA will no longer separately mandate storage magazine requirements, because that function has been assumed by ATF. Finally, the proposed rule expands employee training requirements. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed rules through June 13, 2007. The explosives revisions will likely become final later this year. The new revisions can be found at www.osha.gov.