New OSHA Rulemaking-Black & Smokeless Powder, Primers, Ammo
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OSHA has proposed rules that may adversely affect the transportation of black and smokeless powder, primers and small arms ammunition, and may affect prices and availability. Below are some sections of the proposed rule (55 PDF pages) that I felt had a direct impact on shooters.
Comments in italics
are mine. Bolding
is also mine.
Explosive. This term would be defined to mean any device, or liquid
or solid chemical compound or mixture, the primary or common purpose of
which is to function by explosion. The term ``explosive'' would be
defined to include all material included as a Class 1 explosive by DOT
in accordance with 49 CFR chapter I. The term would include, but would
not be limited to, dynamite, black powder
, pellet powders
blasting agents, initiating explosives, blasting caps, safety fuse,
fuse lighters, fuse igniters, squibs, cordeau detonant fuse,
instantaneous fuse, igniter cord, igniters, pyrotechnics, special
industrial explosive materials, small arms ammunition, small arms
ammunition primers, smokeless propellant
, cartridges for propellant-
actuated power devices, and cartridges for industrial guns.
Paragraph (c)(1)(ii) would require the employer to ensure that only
persons trained in accordance with paragraph (j) of this section handle
or use explosives. Loading and unloading of explosives are examples of
handling, and blasting of slag pockets is an example of the use of
explosives. This is a new requirement that reinforces the importance of
training for all employees engaged in the handling and use of
Paragraph (c)(1)(vii) would require the employer to ensure that no
person is allowed to enter facilities containing explosives, or to
transport, handle, or use explosives while under the influence of
intoxicating liquors, narcotics, or other drugs that may cause the
person to act in an unsafe manner in the workplace. Due to safety
considerations, OSHA is proposing that such persons be completely
restricted from access to a facility where explosives are manufactured
or stored as well as restricting them from the handling and
transportation of explosives.
This would appear to require some sort of drug testing to be in compliance.
Paragraph (c)(1)(ix) would require the employer to ensure that no
flammable cleaning solvents are present in facilities containing
explosives except where authorized by the employer and where their
presence does not endanger the safety of employees. This is a new
requirement and is based on a recommendation in the Petition (Ex. 2-1).
Due to their potential to create a fire and thus cause an explosion, it
is generally not safe to have flammable cleaning solvents in facilities
Paragraph (c)(2)(i) would require the employer to ensure that the
primary electrical supply to any part of the facility (e.g., building,
loading dock, etc.) containing explosives can be disconnected at a safe
remote location away from that part of the facility. A safe remote
location from a part of the facility containing explosives is a
location far enough away to ensure that, if all the explosives in that
part of the facility detonated, a person at the remote location would
not be injured by the explosion. In determining what a safe remote
location is, the employer will need to consider factors such as the
type and amount of explosives present.
This is a new requirement
Would this even be possible in a small gunshop?
Proposed paragraph (c)(2)(ii) deals with safety hazards caused by
electrical storms. During the approach and progress of an electrical
storm, paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A) would require the employer to ensure
that all explosive manufacturing and blasting operations are suspended,
and paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(B) would require the employer to ensure that
employees located in or near facilities containing explosives, or in
blast sites, are withdrawn immediately to a safe remote location. A
safe remote location in this case would be a location far enough away
from all the explosives in the facility or blast site so that a person
would not be injured if there were an explosion. These proposed
requirements are based on therequirements in existing paragraph (e)(1)(vii)(a) which requires
employers to remove employees from the blasting area during the
approach and progress of an electrical storm. However, proposed
paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A) has been expanded to require the suspension of
explosive manufacturing operations and proposed paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(B)
also requires the immediate withdrawal of employees located near
explosives. This reduces the time the employees are exposed to a
potential hazard. The expansion of the existing requirement is in
recognition that an electrical storm may be hazardous to employees at
facilities and blast sites containing explosives and that employees
need to be kept a safe distance away from a potential explosion. This
is standard practice in the industry and is consistent with a
recommendation in the Petition (Ex. 2-1).
Static electricity as a potential source of ignition is probably
the single greatest concern for facilities and blast sites containing
explosives. The Petition (Ex. 2-1) recommends new requirements for
static electricity protection that would require any new static
electricity protection system to comply with NFPA 77, Static
Electricity (Ex. 2-7). However, it recommended limiting the application
of the requirements only to systems installed after the effective date
of the new standard and would not require an existing manufacturing
facility to install a new system or modify an existing system to meet
the requirements of NFPA 77. IME informed OSHA that certain explosives
are not static-sensitive and do not require protection. IME further
argues that, since explosives manufacturing is subject to the
requirements of OSHA's PSM standard at Sec. 1910.119, areas in an
explosives manufacturing facility where static electricity protection
systems may be needed should already have been identified through the
process hazard analysis requirements of the PSM standard, and adequate
safeguards should have been instituted in accordance with the PSM
OSHA believes that static electricity protection systems can be
important safety features for facilities containing explosives. The
Agency considered proposing a requirement in paragraph (c) that would
require the employer to ensure that all facilities containing
explosives have appropriate and effective static electricity protection
systems, with suggested methods of compliance found in NFPA 77. The
Agency decided not to propose such language because it lacked
sufficient data and information on the types and effectiveness of
static electricity protection systems. OSHA is seeking additional
information on these issues through public comments.
The hazards of flame, matches, and spark producing devices are
dealt with in proposed paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(A) by requiring the
employer to ensure that no open flames, matches, or spark producing
devices are located within 50 feet of explosives or facilities
containing explosives. As mentioned earlier, ``facilities containing
explosives'' refers to any building on a site where explosives are
manufactured, handled or stored.
Issue #4: OSHA seeks specific comments on the impact proposed
paragraph (c)(3)(iii) would have on the storage and retail sale of
small arms ammunition, small arms primers, and smokeless propellants.
Do open flames, matches, or spark producing devices create a hazard
when located within 50 feet of small arms ammunition, small arms
primers, or smokeless propellants, or facilities containing these
products? Can employers involved in the storage or retail sale of small
arms ammunition, small arms primers, or smokeless propellants prevent
all open flames, matches, or spark producing devices from coming within
50 feet of these products or facilities containing these products? If
not, why not? Should proposed paragraph (c)(3)(iii) use a protective
distance other than 50 feet and, if so, what distance should it be and
why? Should OSHA exclude small arms ammunition, small arms primers, and
smokeless propellants from the requirements of proposed paragraph
Proposed paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C) would require the employer to
ensure that no person carries firearms, ammunition, or similar articles
in facilities containing explosives
No armed employees in gunshops? No legally-armed customers? How about cops?
Issue #9: Should OSHA require lightning protection systems for any
facility that contains ammonium nitrate or explosives? What would these
Proposed paragraph (e)(1) addresses general provisions associated
with the transportation of explosives. Proposed paragraph (e)(1)(i)
would require the employer to ensure that no employee smokes, carries
matches or any other flame-producing device, or carries any firearms or
cartridges (except firearms and cartridges required to be carried by
guards) while in, or within 25 feet (7.63m) of, a vehicle containing
Paragraph (e)(1)(iii) would require the employer to ensure that
explosives are not transferred from one vehicle to another without
informing local fire and police departments. This will help to ensure
that the transfer is performed in a safe manner. In addition, a
competent person must supervise the transfer of explosives. This is
applicable to all transfer work whether it is done within private
facilities or on public highways.
UPS, Fed-ex & DHL will just love this.
Proposed paragraph (h)(2) would require the employer to ensure that
small arms ammunition is separated from flammable liquids, flammable
solids, and oxidizing materials by a fire barrier wall with at least a
1-hour fire resistance rating or by a distance of at least 25 feet.
Small gunshops better get bigger.
Paragraph (h)(3)(i)(B) would require the employer to ensure that no
more than 20 pounds of smokeless propellants, in containers not to
exceed 1 pound, are displayed in a commercial establishment.
Paragraph (h)(4)(i)(B) would require the employer to ensure that
small arms ammunition primers be separated from flammable liquids,
flammable solids, and oxidizing materials by a fire barrier wall with
at least a 1-hour fire resistance rating or by a distance of at least
Paragraph (h)(4)(i)(C) would require the employer to ensure that no
more than 10,000 small arms primers be displayed in a commercial
Issue #21: Proposed paragraphs (h)(3)(i)(B) and (h)(4)(i)(C) place
restrictions on the quantity of smokeless propellants and small arms
primers, respectively, that can be displayed in commercial
establishments. Should OSHA further clarify the quantity limitations
for smokeless propellants and small arms primers to allow multiple
displays in commercial establishments? If so, what quantities should be
allowed and should the quantities be based on the size of the
commercial establishment? Should there be a minimum distance between
displays to ensure employee safety? Should the same limitations placed
on commercial establishments also apply to gun shows?
Paragraph (j) Training. Proposed paragraph (j) is new and contains
proposed training requirements for employees in the explosives
This proposes training and re-training commensurate with each employee's duties and the requisite record-keeping.
From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
Proposed OSHA Regulation Threatens
Firearm and Ammunition Industry
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency charged with assuring the safety and health of America's workers, is proposing a regulatory rule affecting the manufacturing, transportation and storage of small arms ammunition, primers and smokeless propellants.
As written, the proposed rule would force the closure of nearly all ammunition manufacturers and force the cost of small arms ammunition to skyrocket beyond what the market could bearâ€"essentially collapsing our industry. This is not an exaggeration. The cost to comply with the proposed rule for the ammunition industry, including manufacturer, wholesale distributors and retailers, will be massive and easily exceed $100 million. For example, ammunition and smokeless propellant manufacturers would have to shut down and evacuate a factory when a thunderstorm approached and customers would not be allowed within 50 feet of any ammunition (displayed or otherwise stored) without first being searched for matches or lighters.
NSSF and SAAMI have already had a preliminary meeting with OSHA officials to begin the process of explaining to them the major problems this proposed rule presents for all levels of the firearms and ammunition industry. Furthermore, NSSF and SAAMI are each seeking a 60 day extension of the public comment period (currently scheduled to expire July 12).
NSSF is urging all retailers to contact OSHA directly and request a 60-day extension of the public comment period. Retailers should inform OSHA that the proposed rule constitutes a "significant regulatory action" as defined in Executive Order 12866 (1993) Section 3(f)(1) in that it will clearly "adversely affect in a material way" the retail sector of the firearms and ammunition industry, productivity, competition and jobs and that the annual compliance cost for all retailers of ammunition will far exceed $100 million dollars.
Click here for a template letter. If you choose to draft your own letter, the reference line must read as follows:
RE: Docket No. OSHAâ€"2007â€"0032
Request to Extend Public Comment Period and Request for Hearing on
"Significant Regulatory Action" as Defined in Executive Order 12866
Please fax the letter to: 202-693-1648 (include the docket number and Department of Labor/OSHA on the cover sheet and in the reference section of your letter).
Please e-mail the letter by visiting: http://www.regulations.gov
and following the submission instructions.