The ruling agreed with PetroHunt’s attorney’s which argued that the letter of interpretation did not adequately allow for engineering controls to prevent flash fire and arbitrarily required PPE without justification. OSHA had used a fire incident on PetroHunt’s site in ND to cite the company using the letter of interpretation, but the company argued that OSHA had not proved the fire was a “flash fire” and that the letter of interpretation was improper in the first place.
This could be a setback for worker safety in oil and gas fields. OSHA has not decided whether to appeal. This could drive rulemaking to require flash fire rated clothing for certain industries which could prevent most serious injuries from arc flash and flash fire.