by , on June 15, 2012

In a loss for Federal OSHA and worker safety in oil and gas drilling operations, a judge has ruled that the OSHA interpretation letter on requirements to use FR clothing on all drilling sites was not an interpretation but improper “rulemaking” without due process.

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.

Read the court document on PetroHunt vs. OSHA against requiring flame resistant clothing for work in oil and gas drilling fields.

Hugh Hoagland
About author:
Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

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