مصادر عالمية / OSHA

STP Nuclear Operating Company; Application for Permanent Variance and Interim Order; Grant of Interim Order; Request for Comments

 [Federal Register Volume 85, Number 170 (Tuesday, September 1, 2020)] [Notices] [Pages 54424-54432] From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] [FR Doc No: 2020-19268]   -----------------------------------------------------------------------  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR  Occupational Safety and Health Administration  [Docket No. OSHA-2020-0001]   STP Nuclear Operating Company; Application for Permanent Variance  and Interim Order; Grant of Interim Order; Request for Comments  AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.  ACTION: Notice.  -----------------------------------------------------------------------  SUMMARY: In this notice, OSHA announces the application of STP Nuclear  Operating Company (STP Nuclear) for a permanent variance and interim  order from the provision of OSHA standards that regulate the ensuring  of isolation of permit-required confined spaces and presents the  agency's preliminary finding to grant the permanent variance. OSHA also  announces the grant of an interim order in this notice. OSHA invites  the public to submit comments on the variance application to assist the  agency in determining whether to grant the applicant a permanent  variance based on the conditions specified in this notice of the  application.  DATES: Submit comments, information, documents in response to this  notice, and requests for a hearing on or before October 1, 2020. The  interim order described in this notice became effective on September 1,  2020, and shall remain in effect until it is modified or revoked,  whichever occurs first.  ADDRESSES: Submit comments by any of the following methods:     Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments  electronically at: http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal  eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for submitting  comments.     Facsimile: If your comments, including attachments, are not longer  than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693- 1648.     Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger, or courier service:  When using this method, you must submit a copy of your comments and  attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2020-0001,  Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of  Labor, Room N-3653, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.  Please note: While OSHA's Docket Office is continuing to accept and  process submissions by regular mail, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the  Docket Office    is closed to the public and not able to receive submissions to the  docket by hand, express mail, messenger and courier service.     Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and OSHA  docket number (OSHA-2020-0001). All comments, including any personal  information you provide, are placed in the public docket without  change, and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the agency cautions commenters about  submitting statements they do not want made available to the public, or  submitting comments that contain personal information (either about  themselves or others) such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and  medical data.     Docket: To read or download comments or other material in the  docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at  the above address. All documents in the docket (including this Federal  Register notice) are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index;  however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly  available to read or download through the website. All submissions,  including copyrighted material, are available for inspection at the  OSHA Docket Office. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in  locating docket submissions.     Extension of comment period: Submit requests for an extension of  the comment period on or before September 16, 2020 to the Office of  Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, Directorate of  Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and  Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution  Avenue NW, Room N-3653, Washington, DC 20210, or by fax to (202) 693- 1644.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this notice is  available from the following sources:     Press inquiries: Contact Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office  of Communications, U.S. Department of Labor, telephone: (202) 693-1999;  email: meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.     General and technical information: Contact Mr. Kevin Robinson,  Director, Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities,  Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational  Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, phone:  (202) 693-2110 or email: robinson.kevin@dol.gov.  I. Notice of Application      On February 18, 2019, STP Nuclear Operating Company (``STP  Nuclear'' or ``the applicant'') 12090 FM 521, Wadsworth, Texas 77483,  submitted under Section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act  of 1970 (``OSH Act''; 29 U.S.C. 655) and 29 CFR 1905.11 (``Variances  and other relief under section 6(d)'') an application for a permanent  variance from the provision of the OSHA standard that regulates  ensuring isolation of permit-required confined spaces, as well as a  request for an interim order pending OSHA's decision on the application  for variance (OSHA-2020-0001-0001) at its Wadsworth, Texas facility.  Specifically, STP Nuclear seeks a variance from the provision of the  standard that requires ``isolation of permit space,'' meaning the  process by which a permit-required space is removed from service and  completely protected against the release of energy and material into  the space (29 CFR 1910.146(b)) and (29 CFR 1910.146(d)(3)(iii)). STP  Nuclear also requests an interim order pending OSHA's decision on the  application for a variance.     According to the application, STP Nuclear operates two Pressurized  Water Reactor nuclear power plants at its Wadsworth, Texas location.  STP Nuclear's description of its operation indicates that these nuclear  power plants use steam to drive turbine generators, which is cooled by  circulating water through a condenser to convert the steam back into  water. STP Nuclear uses a Circulating Water System (CWS) that cools the  steam by pumping water from the Main Cooling Reservoir (MCR), through  the condenser and back to the reservoir. The MCR is 7,000 acres and  includes an intake structure where pumps that provide cooling to the  units are located. These pumps include the circulating water (CW)  pumps, of which there are a total of eight (four per unit). The flow  from each CW pump discharges through a motor operated valve into a 96  foot diameter pipe which passes over the reservoir embankment at 59  feet elevation. The four pump discharge pipes combine into two 138 inch  underground pipes that feed a manifold in the Turbine Generator  Building (TGB). The circulating water flows through condenser tubes  inside what STP Nuclear refers to as the ``water box.'' The manifold  supplies water to each of the six main condenser water boxes with an 84  inch motor-operated valve at the inlet and outlet of each water box.  The water exiting the water boxes enters a discharge manifold which  then splits into two underground 138 inch pipes returning the water to  the MCR passing over the reservoir embankment at 58 feet elevation. The  applicant asserts that the design of the CWS is such that it cannot be  completely removed from service for water box cleaning or tube repair,  and that maintenance activities occur when one of the two Power Plants  are removed from service for refueling, which happens once every  eighteen months.     The condenser water box is a permit-required confined space that  under STP Nuclear's procedures requires a confined-space permit and  security alerts prior to entry. Employees can enter the water boxes to  clean condenser tubes and to repair or plug leaking tubes only after  being cleared by the STP Nuclear Entry Supervisor in accordance with  STP Nuclear's confined space procedure. STP Nuclear performs  maintenance on condenser water boxes prior to the summer months to  ensure maximum efficiency, and therefore, maximum generation during the  peak electric generating period in Texas. This maintenance activity  (tube cleaning) minimizes fouling and blocking of the condenser tubes.  Employees entering the water box to perform maintenance and repair  activities could be exposed to the hazard of engulfment by water that  could flow into the water box if condenser isolation valves were to  rotate or otherwise fail during the maintenance or repair activity.     STP Nuclear asserts that without frequent maintenance, the  condenser tubes could leak and introduce contaminants, such as sodium,  into plant systems that can erode barriers that prevent release of  radioactive materials. Further, STP Nuclear asserts that if the water  box cannot be timely isolated to repair tubes, it may have to shut down  the nuclear power plant, which will cause interruption to the power  supply. STP Nuclear previously believed that procedures already in  place--lockout/tagout of the isolation valve, continuous monitoring for  leakage past the valve and standby attendant--were adequate to protect  employees.     On March 22, 2018, OSHA received a complaint alleging that STP  Nuclear failed to ensure isolation of the condenser water box as  required by OSHA's permit-required confined space standard. In response  to this complaint, STP Nuclear submitted a letter, dated March 28,  2018, to OSHA's Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office (OSHA-2020-0001- 0002), asserting its belief that they are in full compliance with 29  CFR 1910.146 and describing their current practices to comply with the    standard. On April 20, 2018, the Corpus Christi, Texas OSHA Area Office  provided a response to STP Nuclear's explanation stating that it was  feasible to install two 5,000 pound blank flanges to isolate the system  and directed STP Nuclear to take corrective action (OSHA-2020-0001- 0003).     In STP Nuclear's February 18, 2019, variance application, the  applicant asserts that isolating the water box using blank flanges  creates a greater hazard and significant risk for injury. Further, the  applicant believes that installing blank flanges has the potential to  compromise the structural integrity of the system. To ensure isolation  of the condenser water box prior to maintenance activities, STP Nuclear  proposes in its variance application an alternative safety measure-- drilling four holes into the 99.75 inch diameter upper valve flange,  and fabrication of 20 three-fourth inch diameter mechanical stops (stop  pins), which will be installed to block movement of the butterfly valve  disc to ensure isolation of the water boxes during maintenance work.     OSHA initiated a preliminary technical review of STP Nuclear's  variance application and developed a set of follow-up questions on June  9, 2019 (OSHA-2020-0001-0003), regarding the assertions of equivalent  worker protection included in the application. On June 27, 2019, STP  Nuclear provided written answers to the follow-up questions, (OSHA- 2020-0001-0004) as well as supplemental materials to support the  variance application including: A Hazard and Operability Study report  and recommendations (hazard analysis using a ``HAZOP'' methodology); a  copy of all detailed procedures used when employees are entering or  inside the water box; and a copy of emergency procedures and equipment  used while employees are working inside the water box.     In reviewing the application, OSHA evaluated the use of two blank  flanges, a 99.5 inch diameter, 2.5 inch thick steel blank weighing  5,563 pounds each to isolate the condenser water boxes during  maintenance activities. The applicant asserted in the variance  application that installing a blank flange to isolate a condenser water  box creates a greater hazard and significant risk for injury to both  personnel and the physical building. STP Nuclear asserts that  installing a blank flange requires removal of the water box inlet and  outlet expansion joints and installation of two steel blanks.  Installing the blank flanges as described above entails a high degree  of risk, as it would require moving these heavy objects from the  building entrance to the water box, using rigged chain falls to trapeze  the blanks to the water box, as well as construction of a support  structure for the water box, in order to support the additional weight  of the 5,563 pound blanks and ensure the water box and/or inlet pipe  does not misalign from removal of the expansion joint. Further, OSHA  carefully reviewed the administrative and engineering controls outlined  in the variance application and supplemental materials as part of its  proposed alternative work practices identified in the variance  application.     Following this review and discussions with STP Nuclear, OSHA  determined that STP Nuclear proposed an alternative that will provide a  workplace as safe and healthful as that required by the permit-required  confined space standard. OSHA is granting STP Nuclear an interim order  that permits it to continue operations while OSHA continues to consider  the application for a permanent variance.  II. The Variance Application      Pursuant to the requirements of OSHA's variance regulations, the  applicant certifies that it provided employee representatives of  affected workers with a copy of the variance application. The applicant  also certifies that it notified the workers of the variance application  by posting, at prominent locations where it normally posts workplace  notices, a summary of the application and information specifying where  the workers can examine a copy of the application. In addition, the  applicant informed the workers and their representatives of their  rights to petition the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational  Safety and Health for a hearing on the variance application.  A. Background      STP Nuclear's variance application and the responses to OSHA's  follow-up questions provided the following: Detailed descriptions of  the condenser water box maintenance process; the proposed work  alternative to isolate the condenser water box using stop pins while  performing maintenance activities; and procedures developed to manage  the permit-required confined space. Additionally, STP Nuclear provided  a HAZOP'' study as technical evidence supporting STP Nuclear's  assertion of equivalency of worker protection.     As an alternative to installation of blank flanges, STP Nuclear  proposes a comprehensive engineered system and appropriate  administrative controls to satisfy the isolation requirement. The  engineered system uses mechanical stops (stop pins) to block the  movement of the butterfly valve disk in combination with administrative  procedures to isolate the condenser water box in order to perform  maintenance activities. The stop pins function as the isolation device,  in that utilizing the stop pins prevents the engagement of the  condenser water box, thus interrupting the flow of water to the  condenser water boxes to allow maintenance activities. STP Nuclear  asserts that using stop pins to isolate butterfly valve disks in  condenser water boxes match the requirements of 29 CFR  1910.146(d)(3)(iii).     Further, STP Nuclear asserts that its mechanical stop system has  been evaluated via a HAZOP study, which is a process that seeks to  identify potential operating hazards and risks in systems/processes.  The HAZOP study included a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)  that was developed and documented. The FMEA is an assessment of the 84  inch butterfly valves in the closed position, with stop pins installed,  to physically isolate the condenser water box while the remainder of  the CWS remains in operation. The HAZOP study seeks to identify the  potential hazardous scenarios, as they relate to personnel entry into  the isolated water box, to determine potential areas of concern,  especially regarding a possible engulfment hazard. Issued June 20, 2019  (OSHA-2020-0001-0004), the HAZOP study included eight recommendations  for additional engineering and administrative controls, all of which  have been adopted by STP Nuclear. These recommendations are described  in Proposed Condition D of this notice.     STP Nuclear contends that the administrative and engineering  controls comprising the alternative safety measures included in the  variance application provide the workers with a place of employment  that is at least as safe and healthful as they would obtain under the  provisions of OSHA's permit-required confined space standard.  B. Variance From 29 CFR 1910.146(b) and 29 CFR 1910.146(d)(3)(iii)      As an alternative means of compliance with the isolation  requirements of 1910.146(b) and 1910.146(d)(3)(iii), STP Nuclear is  proposing to use a comprehensive system of engineering and  administrative control procedures. The engineering controls include (1)  a modification of the condenser isolation valves to drill four holes  into the 99.75 inch diameter upper valve flange, to    allow the installation of mechanical stops (``stop pins'') which block  rotation of the isolation valve disks, (2) utilizing a physical lock on  the 6 inch cross-tie valves, and (3) utilization of automated drains  that provide a secondary means of evacuating water leakage from the  isolated water box connected piping. STP Nuclear has also established  administrative controls to support the use of the stop pin system,  including: (1) Continuous monitoring for leakage past the isolation  valve, (2) utilizing a dedicated water box drain pump operator while  personnel are inside the isolated water box, (3) utilizing a standby  attendant to aid in the evacuation of an employee working in the  condenser water box in the event of an emergency, and (4) a dedicated  emergency evacuation procedure.     Further, the applicant asserts that: (1) Full isolation of the  water boxes would create a greater hazard to its employees, and (2) the  continuous water system makes shutdown of the water supply impossible.  Shutting down the circulating water system could potentially cause the  nuclear power plant to leak radiation, which is a significant public  health hazard.  C. Technical Review      OSHA conducted a review of STP Nuclear's application and the  supporting technical documentation. After completing the review of the  application and supporting documentation, OSHA concludes that STP  Nuclear:     1. Has a permit-required confined space entry program;     2. Performed a hazard analysis using the Hazard and Operability  Study (``HAZOP'') methodology to assess the risks of entering condenser  water boxes to perform maintenance on condenser tubes;     3. Implemented controls recommended in HAZOP study (outlined in  Proposed Condition D of this notice);     4. Established procedures for condenser water box online isolation  and restoration;     5. Has developed the Condenser Water Box Online Isolation and  Restoration procedure to remove condenser water boxes from service for  maintenance;     6. Has modified or will modify the isolation valve seats in  condenser water boxes by installing specified mechanical stops (``stop  pins''). These stop pins are inserted downstream of the inlet disc and  upstream of the outlet disc following condenser water box isolation and  drain down;     7. Implemented detailed administrative procedures designed to  ensure that all employees working on or near condenser water boxes,  which include having a watch stander present at all times, as well as  emergency evacuation procedures in the event that water begins flowing  into isolated condenser water boxes;     8. Procured and provided appropriate equipment and supplies;     9. Made the alternative isolation control policies and procedures  available to employees;     10. Trained authorized and affected employees on the application of  the proposed alternative work practice and associated isolation control  policies and procedures;     11. Developed additional administrative controls and procedures to  minimize the potential for authorized and affected employees to work  around isolated condenser water boxes;     12. Conducted a comparison of the blank flange versus use of stop  pins, which mechanically limits disc travel providing additional  personnel safety against engulfment.     13. Has effective emergency rescue procedures to quickly and  effectively evacuate workers within the condenser water box, including  a rescue team present on site during maintenance activities; and     14. Conducted a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, which was an  assessment of the 84 inch butterfly valves in the closed position.  III. Description of the Conditions Specified by the Interim Order and  the Application for a Permanent Variance      This section describes the alternative means of compliance with 29  CFR 1910.146(b) and 29 CFR 1910.146(d)(3)(iii). These conditions form  the basis of the interim order and STP Nuclear's application for a  permanent variance.  Proposed Condition A: Scope      The scope of the interim order/proposed permanent variance would  limit coverage to the work conditions specified under this proposed  condition. Defining the scope of the proposed permanent variance  provides STP Nuclear, STP Nuclear's employees, potential future  applicants, other stakeholders, the public, and OSHA with necessary  information regarding the work situations in which the proposed  permanent variance would cover. To the extent that STP Nuclear does not  comply with the conditions in this variance, it would, alternatively,  be required to comply with OSHA standards.     Pursuant to 29 CFR 1905.11, an employer (or class or group of  employers) may request a permanent variance for a specific workplace or  workplaces. If OSHA approves a permanent variance, it would apply only  to the specific employer(s) that submitted the application and only to  the specific workplace or workplaces designated as part of the project.  In this instance, if OSHA were to grant a permanent variance, it only  would apply to the applicant, STP Nuclear at the Wadsworth, Texas  nuclear plant. The Interim Order and Proposed Variance would not apply  to any other employers or STP Nuclear locations outside of its  Wadsworth, Texas facility.  Proposed Condition B: List of Abbreviations      This proposed condition defines the terms used in the interim order  and proposed variance to clarify and standardize their meaning.  Abbreviations used throughout this proposed permanent variance include  the following:  1. CFR--Code of Federal Regulations 2. CWS--Circulating Water System 3. ECO--Equipment Clearance Order 4. FMEA--Failure Modes and Effects Analysis 5. HAZOP--Hazard and Operability Study 6. MCR--Main Cooling Reservoir 7. OSHA--Occupational Safety and Health Administration 8. OTPCA--Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities 9. RRP--Rope Rescue Program 10. TGB--Turbine Generator Building  Proposed Condition C: List of Definitions      The proposed condition defines a series of terms, mostly technical  terms, used in the proposed permanent variance to standardize and  clarify their meaning. Defining these terms serves to enhance the  applicant's and the employees' understanding of the conditions  specified by the proposed permanent variance.\1\ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------      \1\ In these conditions, the present tense form of the verb  (e.g., ``must'') pertains to the interim order, while the future  conditional form of the verb (e.g., ``would'') pertains to the  application for a permanent variance (designated as ``permanent  variance''). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------  Proposed Condition D: Safety Practices and Procedures      This proposed condition requires that STP Nuclear (1) adhere to the  Condenser Water Box Online Isolation and Restoration Procedure provided  to OSHA with the Variance application and (2) implement the hazard  prevention and control requirements provided with the Variance  application    to ensure the continued effective functioning of the alternate work  practice (use of stop pins) to isolate condenser water boxes before  performing maintenance activities. Further, STP Nuclear must implement  the following additional administrative controls identified in the  HAZOP study:     1. Close the cycle inlet and butterfly valves with a local  handswitch.     2. Remove power from the inlet and isolation valve and hang Danger  Tags on the local handswitch and the breaker.     3. Drain the condenser water box to another condenser water box  using the permanent installed condenser drain down pumps.     4. Check for leakages past the isolation valve seat. In the event  that a leak is found, STP Nuclear will use a handwheel to manually  achieve proper disk seating and ensure that a Danger Tag is hung on the  handwheel.     5. Establish and implement a procedure to ensure that no other  maintenance will be performed on the condenser water box, unless  permit-required confined space measures are used.     6. Modify each of the 12 condenser water box isolation valves to  drill four holes into the 99.75 inch diameter upper valve range, which  will be plugged when the condenser water box is in service and  fabricate 20 three-fourth inch diameter stop pins, which will be  installed to block movement of the butterfly valve disk and hang Danger  Tags on the pins.     7. Confirm that lineup changes (i.e. pump switching, valve position  changes) within the CWS are prohibited while personnel are within the  water box.     8. Limit the number of personnel occupying the isolated water box  to no more than 3 in the inlet or outlet and no more than 4 persons in  total during condenser water box maintenance activities.     9. Utilize technology-based level measurement instruments with  local audible alarms to alert the personnel working in the isolated  water box of a rising water level in the CWS piping beneath the water  box. This instrument would serve as a secondary means of monitoring the  water level in addition to the manual level monitoring via Tygon  tubing.     10. Utilize hydraulic calculations to analyze the potential leak  paths into an isolated water box and quantify the inflow rates and  durations to fill the water box. This will identify how much time  personnel have to evacuate the water box in the event of a water leak  into the isolated water box.     11. Utilize a physical lock on the 6 inch cross-tie valve (or  replace the valve with a design that allows physical locking) to  prevent any unauthorized operation of the valve during the condenser  water box maintenance activity.     12. Monitor the water levels in the supply side water box (and  return water box) regardless of when personnel are present. Continuous  monitoring for water leakage on the supply and return water boxes of an  isolated segment of the system as water leakage from either side could  present a hazard to personnel even if they are not in the water box  where the leakage is occurring.     13. Require the presence of a dedicated water box drain pump  operator while personnel are occupying the isolated water box.     14. Utilize the water box low-point drains (6 inches for Unit 1 and  8 inches for Unit 2) to provide secondary means of evacuating water  leakage from the isolated water box connected CWS piping.     15. Install a level indicator that will alarm to alert the employee  in the water box to evacuate because of rising water levels and auto  start the two drain pumps. This should be in addition to the portable  system being used in monitoring the levels.     16. In addition to the watch stander attendant required under 29  CFR 1910.146, the rescue team members must be present at the water box  throughout duration of the maintenance activities.  Proposed Condition E: Communication      This proposed condition requires the applicant to implement an  effective system of information sharing and communication to provide  workers performing maintenance activities within condenser water boxes  of any hazards that may affect their safety. Effective information  sharing and communication are intended to ensure that affected workers  receive updated information regarding any safety-related hazards and  incidents, and corrective actions taken, prior to the start of each  shift. The proposed condition also requires the applicant to ensure  reliable means of emergency communications are available and maintained  for affected workers and support personnel during maintenance  activities within the condenser water box. Availability of such  reliable means of communications would enable affected workers and  support personnel to respond quickly and effectively to hazardous  conditions or emergencies that may develop during water box maintenance  operations.  Proposed Condition F: Worker Qualification and Training      This proposed condition requires the applicant to implement an  effective permit-required isolation qualification and training program  for authorized employees who perform maintenance activities within  condenser water boxes. Additionally, proposed Condition F also requires  the applicant to train each affected employee on the purpose and use of  the permit-required confined space procedures. Further, OSHA is  imposing conditions beyond those submitted by STP Nuclear in the  Variance application.     The proposed condition specifies the factors that an affected  worker must know to perform safely during maintenance operations within  the condenser water box, including how to enter, work in, and exit from  a condenser water box under both normal and emergency conditions.  Having well-trained and qualified workers performing condenser water  box maintenance activities is intended to ensure that they can  recognize and respond appropriately to electrical safety and health  hazards. These qualification and training requirements enable affected  workers to handle emergencies effectively, thereby preventing worker  injury, illness, and fatalities. Additionally, proposed Condition F  requires the applicant to train each affected employee in the purpose  and use of the alternative permit-required confined space isolation  procedures identified in the permanent variance application.  Proposed Condition G: Inspections, Tests, and Accident Prevention      This proposed condition requires the applicant to implement an  effective program for completing inspections, tests, program  evaluations and accident prevention for performing maintenance and  cleaning activities within the condenser water box and associated work  areas. This condition would help to ensure the safe operation and  physical integrity of the condenser water boxes and the work areas  necessary to safely conduct maintenance operations.     This condition also requires the applicant to conduct tests,  inspections, corrective actions and repairs involving the use of the  alternative isolation process used to perform maintenance activities on  condenser water boxes identified in the variance application. Further,  this requirement provides the applicant with information needed to  schedule tests and inspections to ensure the continued safe operation  of the    equipment and systems and to determine that the actions taken to  correct defects are appropriate. These tests, inspections, corrective  actions, and repairs should be conducted in concert with the Condenser  Water Box Online Isolate and Restoration Procedure submitted to OSHA by  STP Nuclear with the Variance application.  Proposed Condition H: Additional Recordkeeping Requirement      Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements in 29 CFR part 1904  Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, STP  Nuclear must maintain a record of any recordable injury, illness, or  fatality (as defined by 29 CFR part 1904) resulting from the task of  cleaning and performing maintenance activities within the condenser  water box by completing OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident  Report and OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.  In addition, STP Nuclear must maintain records of all maintenance  activities performed at condenser water boxes at the STP Nuclear site,  as well as associated hazardous condition corrective actions and  repairs.  Proposed Condition I: Notifications      Under the proposed condition, the applicant is required, within  specified periods of time, to: (1) Notify OSHA of any recordable  injury, illness, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of an  eye, or fatality that occurs as a result of cleaning or maintenance  activities around the condenser water box; (2) provide OSHA a copy of  the incident investigation report (using OSHA Form 301, Injury and  Illness Incident Report) of these events within 24 hours of the  incident; (3) include on OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident  Report information on the conditions associated with the recordable  injury or illness, the root-cause determination, and preventive and  corrective actions identified and implemented; (4) provide the  certification that affected workers were informed of the incident and  the results of the incident investigation; (5) notify OSHA's Office of  Technical Programs and Coordination Activities (OTPCA) and the Corpus  Christi, Texas Area Office at least 15 working days in advance, should  the applicant need to revise the permit-required confined space  isolation procedures related to condenser water box cleaning or  maintenance affecting STP Nuclear's ability to comply with the  conditions of the proposed permanent variance; and (6) provide OTPCA  and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office, by January 31 of each  calendar year, with a report covering the previous calendar year,  evaluating the effectiveness of the alternate permit-required confined  space isolation procedures set forth in the conditions of the permanent  variance.     Additionally, this proposed condition requires the applicant to  notify OSHA if it ceases to do business, has a new address or location  for the main office, or transfers the operations covered by the  proposed permanent variance to a successor company. In addition, the  condition specifies that the transfer of the permanent variance to a  successor company must be approved by OSHA. These requirements allow  OSHA to communicate effectively with the applicant regarding the status  of the proposed permanent variance, and expedite the agency's  administration and enforcement of the permanent variance. Stipulating  that an applicant is required to have OSHA's approval to transfer a  variance to a successor company provides assurance that the successor  company has knowledge of, and will comply with, the conditions  specified by proposed permanent variance, thereby ensuring the safety  of workers involved in performing the operations covered by the  proposed permanent variance.  IV. Grant of Interim Order, Proposal for Permanent Variance, and  Request for Comment      OSHA hereby announces the preliminary decision to grant an interim  order allowing STP Nuclear to perform maintenance operations in  condenser water boxes, subject to the conditions that follow in this  document. This interim order will remain in effect until the agency  modifies or revokes the interim order or makes a decision on STP  Nuclear's application for a permanent variance. Beginning with the  publication of this notice until the agency modifies or revokes the  interim order or makes a decision on the application for a permanent  variance, the applicant is required to comply fully with the conditions  of the interim order as an alternative to complying with the isolation  requirements of permit space contained in 29 CFR 1910.146 (the  standard). The standard defines ``isolation of permit space'' in 29 CFR  1910.146(b) as: The process by which a permit-space is removed from  service and isolated, and completely protected against the release of  energy and material into the space by such means as: . . . blocking or  disconnecting all mechanical linkages. Further, 29 CFR  1910.146(d)(3)(iii) requires isolation of the permit-required confined  space.     In order to avail itself of the interim order, STP Nuclear must:  (1) Comply with the conditions listed in the interim order for the  period starting with the grant of the interim order until the agency  modifies or revokes the interim order or makes a decision on the  application for a permanent variance; (2) comply fully with all other  applicable provisions of 29 CFR part 1910.146; and (3) provide a copy  of this Federal Register notice to all employees affected by the  proposed conditions, using the same means it used to inform these  employees of the application for a permanent variance.     OSHA is also proposing that the same requirements would apply to a  permanent variance if OSHA ultimately issues one for this employer.  OSHA requests comment on those conditions as well as OSHA's preliminary  determination that the specified alternatives and conditions would  provide a workplace as safe and healthful as those required by the  standard from which a variance is sought. After reviewing comments,  OSHA will publish in the Federal Register the agency's final decision  approving or rejecting the request for a permanent variance.  V. Specific Conditions of the Interim Order and the Application for a  Permanent Variance      The following conditions apply to the interim order OSHA is  granting to STP Nuclear. These conditions specify the alternative means  of compliance with the definition of ``isolation of permit space'' in  29 CFR 1910.146(b) and 29 CFR 1910.146(d)(3)(iii) that STP Nuclear is  proposing for its permanent variance. To simplify the presentation of  the conditions, OSHA generally refers only to the conditions of the  proposed permanent variance, but the same conditions apply to the  interim order except where otherwise noted.\2\ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------      \2\ In these conditions, OSHA is using the future conditional  form of the verb (e.g., ``would''), which pertains to the  application for a Permanent variance (designated as ``Permanent  variance'') but the conditions are mandatory for purposes of the  Interim Order. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------      The conditions would apply to all STP Nuclear employees located at  the Wadsworth, Texas location during the maintenance and cleaning of  condenser water boxes. These conditions are outlined in this Section.  A. Scope      The interim order applies, and the permanent variance would apply,  only to the task of performing maintenance activities within condenser  water boxes at STP Nuclear. The interim order and    proposed variance would not apply to construction work (i.e. work for  construction, alteration and/or repair, including painting and  decorating) performed within condenser boxes at STP Nuclear. The  interim order and proposed variance apply only to work:     1. That occurs at STP Nuclear, 12090 FM 521, Wadsworth, Texas  77483; and     2. Performed in compliance with all applicable provisions of 29 CFR  1910.146. Additionally,     3. No other maintenance work, including electrical maintenance may  be performed using the conditions of this interim order.     4. Except for the requirements specified by 29 CFR 1910.146(b) and  29 CFR 1910.146(d)(3)(iii), STP Nuclear must comply fully with all  other applicable provisions of 29 CFR 1910.146 during maintenance  activities of condenser water boxes.     5. The interim order will remain in effect until OSHA modifies or  revokes it; or OSHA publishes a Federal Register notice granting the  permanent variance in accordance with 29 CFR 1905.13, whichever occurs  first.  B. List of Abbreviations      Abbreviations used throughout this proposed Permanent variance  would include the following:  1. CFR--Code of Federal Regulations 2. CWS--Circulating Water System 3. ECO--Equipment Clearance Box 4. FMEA--Failure Modes and Effects Analysis 5. HAZOP--Hazard and Operability Study 6. MCR--Main Cooling Reservoir 7. OSHA--Occupational Safety and Health Administration 8. OTPCA--Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities 9. RRP--Rope Rescue Program 10. TGB--Turbine Generator Building  C. Definitions      The following definitions would apply to this proposed permanent  variance. These definitions would supplement the definitions in STP  Nuclear's application for permanent variance.     1. Affected employee or worker--an employee or worker who is  affected by the conditions of this proposed permanent variance, or any  one of his or her authorized representatives. The term ``employee'' has  the meaning defined and used under the Occupational Safety and Health  Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).     2. Competent person--an individual who is capable of identifying  existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working  conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees,  and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to  eliminate them.     3. Engulfment--the surrounding and effective capture of a person by  a liquid or finely divided (flowable) solid substance that can be  aspirated to cause death by filling or plugging the respiratory system  or that can exert enough force on the body to cause death by  strangulation, constriction, or crushing.     4. Hazard and Operability Study--an evaluation of tasks or  operations to identify potential hazards and to determine the necessary  controls.     5. Isolation--the process by which a permit space is removed from  service and completely protected against the release of energy and  material into the space by such means as: Blanking or blinding;  misaligning or removing sections of lines, pipes, or ducts; a double  block and bleed system; lockout or tagout of all sources of energy; or  blocking or disconnecting all mechanical linkages.     6. Permit-required confined space--a confined space that has one or  more of the following characteristics: (1) Contains or has a potential  to contain a hazardous atmosphere; (2) Contains a material that has the  potential for engulfing an entrant; (3) Has an internal configuration  such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly  converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a  smaller cross-section; or (4) Contains any other recognized serious  safety or health hazard.     7. Qualified person--an individual who, by possession of a  recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who, by  extensive knowledge, training, and experience, successfully  demonstrates an ability to solve or resolve problems relating to  maintenance of condenser water boxes.  D. Safety Practices and Procedures      1. STP Nuclear shall adhere to the Condenser Water Box Online  Isolation and Restoration Procedure provided to OSHA with the Variance  application while performing cleaning or maintenance activities within  condenser water boxes, in accordance with STP Nuclear's permit-required  confined space program.     2. STP Nuclear shall implement the hazard prevention and control  requirements identified in the Variance application (use of stop pins)  to isolate condenser water boxes before performing maintenance  activities within condenser water boxes.     3. STP Nuclear shall close the cycle inlet and butterfly valves  with a local handswitch.     4. STP Nuclear shall remove power from the inlet and isolation  valve and hang Danger Tags on the local handswitch and the breaker.     5. STP Nuclear shall drain the condenser water box to another  condenser water box using the permanently installed condenser drain  down pumps.     6. STP Nuclear shall check for leakages past the isolation valve  seat. In the event that a leak is found, STP Nuclear will use a  handwheel to manually achieve proper disk seating and ensure that a  Danger Tag is hung on the handwheel.     7. STP Nuclear shall establish and implement a procedure to ensure  that no other maintenance will be performed on the condenser water box,  unless permit-required confined space measures are used.     8. STP Nuclear shall modify each of the 12 condenser water box  isolation valves to drill four holes into the 99.75 inch diameter upper  valve range, which will be plugged when the condenser water box is in  service and fabricate 20 three-fourth inch diameter stop pins, which  will be installed to block movement of the butterfly valve disk and  hang Danger Tags on the pins.     9. STP Nuclear shall confirm that lineup changes (i.e. pump  switching, valve position changes) within the CWS are prohibited while  personnel are within the water box.     10. STP Nuclear shall limit the number of personnel occupying the  isolated water box to no more than 3 people in the inlet or outlet and  no more than 4 people in total during condenser water box maintenance  activities.     11. STP shall utilize technology-based level measurement  instruments with local audible alarms to alert the personnel working in  the isolated water box of a rising water level in the CWS piping  beneath the water box. The instrument would serve as a secondary means  of monitoring the water level in addition to the manual level  monitoring via Tygon tubing.     12. STP Nuclear shall utilize hydraulic calculations to analyze the  potential leak paths into an isolated water box and quantify the inflow  rates and durations to fill the water box. This will identify how much  time personnel have to evacuate the water box in the event of a water  leak into the isolated water box.     13. STP Nuclear will utilize a physical lock on the 6 inch cross- tie valve (or replace the valve with a design that allows physical  locking) to prevent any unauthorized operation of the valve during the  condenser water box maintenance activity.        14. STP Nuclear shall monitor the water levels in the supply side  water box (and return water box) regardless of when personnel are  present. Continuous monitoring for water leakage on the supply and  return water box of an isolated segment of the system as water leakage  from either side could present a hazard to personnel even if they are  no in the water box where the leakage is occurring.     15. STP Nuclear shall require the presence of a dedicated water box  drain pump operator while personnel are occupying the isolated water  box.     16. STP Nuclear shall utilize the water box low-point drains (6  inch for Unit 1 and 8 inch for Unit 2) to provide secondary means of  evacuating water leakage from the isolated water box connected CWS  piping.     17. STP Nuclear shall install a level indicator that will alert the  employee in the water box to evacuate because of rising water levels  and auto start the two drain pumps. This should be in addition to the  portable system being used in monitoring the levels.     18. STP Nuclear shall ensure that rescue team members be present at  the condenser water box throughout the duration of the maintenance  activities.  E. Communication      STP Nuclear must:     1. Implement a system that informs workers performing maintenance  activities within condenser water boxes of any hazardous occurrences or  conditions that might affect their safety.     2. Provide a means of communication among affected workers and  support personnel in energy isolation where unassisted voice  communication is inadequate.     (a) Use an independent power supply for powered communication  systems, and these systems would have to operate such that use or  disruption of any one phone or signal location will not disrupt the  operation of the system from any other location.     (b) Test communication systems at the start of each shift and as  necessary thereafter to ensure proper operation.  F. Worker Qualifications and Training      STP Nuclear will implement an effective permit-required confined  space isolation qualification and training program for authorized  employees involved in performing maintenance activities within  condenser water boxes. STP Nuclear must:     1. Utilize the permit-required confined space isolation training  program submitted to OSHA as part of this Variance application, and  train each authorized employee on the isolation process for condenser  water boxes, and the procedures required under it;     2. Develop a training program and train each affected employee in  the purpose and use of the alternative permit-required confined space  isolation procedures used for maintenance of condenser water boxes  under this interim order and document this instruction;     3. Ensure that workers performing maintenance activities within  condenser water boxes know how to enter, work in, and exit from a  condenser water box under both normal and emergency conditions;     4. Ensure that each authorized and affected employee have effective  and documented training in the contents and conditions covered by this  proposed variance and interim order; and     5. Ensure that only trained and authorized employees perform  permit-required confined space isolation procedures for the task of  performing maintenance of condenser water boxes at the STP Nuclear  site.  G. Inspections, Tests, and Accident Prevention      STP Nuclear will have to implement the detailed program for  completing inspections, tests, program evaluations, and incident  prevention for the isolation of condenser water boxes for maintenance  purposes in accordance with its permit-required confined space  procedure submitted to OSHA as part of their Variance application. STP  Nuclear must:     1. Ensure that a competent person (authorized employee) conducts  daily visual checks and monthly inspections and functionality tests of  condenser water boxes and permit-required confined space isolation  procedures that ensure the procedure and conditions of this proposed  variance and interim order are being followed.     2. Ensure that a competent person conducts daily inspections of the  work areas associated with the maintenance of the condenser water  boxes.     3. Develop a set of checklists to be used by a competent person in  conducting daily inspections of the condenser water boxes and permit- required confined space procedures used while performing maintenance  activities at condenser water boxes at the STP Nuclear facility.     4. STP Nuclear will remove from service any equipment that  constitutes a safety hazard until STP Nuclear corrects the hazardous  condition and has a qualified person approve the correction.     5. STP will maintain records of all maintenance activities of the  condenser water box, as well as associated corrective actions and  repairs, at the job site for the duration of the variance. Where  available, the maintenance, servicing, and installation of replacement  parts must strictly follow the manufacturer's specifications,  instructions, and limitations.  H. Additional Recordkeeping Requirement      STP Nuclear must maintain a record of any recordable injury,  illness, or fatality (as defined by 29 CFR 1904) resulting from the  task of cleaning and performing maintenance activities within the  condenser water box by completing OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness  Incident Report and OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and  Illnesses. In addition, STP Nuclear must maintain records of all  maintenance activities performed at condenser water boxes at the STP  Nuclear site, as well as associated hazardous condition corrective  actions and repairs.  I. Notifications      To assist OSHA in administering the conditions specified herein,  STP Nuclear must:     1. Notify OSHA's Office of Technical Programs and Coordination  Activities (OTPCA) and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office of any  recordable injury, illness, in-patient hospitalization, amputation,  loss of an eye or fatality (by submitting the completed OSHA Form 301,  Injury and Illness Incident Report) resulting from implementing the  alternative isolation procedures of the proposed variance conditions  while completing the tasks of cleaning and/or maintenance of the  condenser water box, but still meet the recordable injury or illness  criteria of 29 CFR 1904. The notification would have to be made within  8 hours of the incident or 8 hours after becoming aware of a recordable  injury, illness, or fatality; a copy of the incident investigation  (OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report) must be submitted  to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident or 24 hours after becoming  aware of a recordable injury, illness, or fatality.     2. Provide OTPCA and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office a copy  of the incident investigation report (using OSHA Form 301, Injury and  Illness Incident Report) of these events within 24 hours of the  incident;     3. Include on the OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report  information on the conditions associated with the recordable injury or  illness, the root-cause determination, and the preventive and  corrective actions identified and implemented.        4. Provide certification to OTPCA and the Corpus Christi, Texas  Area Office within 15 working days of any incident of which STP Nuclear  informed affected workers of the incident and the results of the  incident investigation (including the root-cause determination and  preventive and corrective actions identified and implemented).     5. Notify OSHA's Office of Technical Programs and Coordination  Activities (OTPCA) and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office at least  15 working days in advance, should the applicant need to revise the  permit-required confined space isolation procedures related to  condenser water box cleaning or maintenance affecting its ability to  comply with the conditions of the proposed permanent variance.     6. Provide OTPCA and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office, by  January 31 of each calendar year, with a report covering the previous  calendar year, identifying the maintenance activities performed on the  condenser water boxes and evaluating the effectiveness of the alternate  permit-required confined space isolation procedures set forth in the  conditions of the permanent variance.     7. Inform OTPCA and the Corpus Christi, Texas Area Office as soon  as possible, but no later than 7 days, after it has knowledge that it  will:     (i) Cease doing business; or     (ii) Transfer the operations specified herein to a successor  company.     6. Notify all affected employees of this proposed permanent  variance by the same means required to inform them of the application  for a variance.     OSHA will publish a copy of this notice in the Federal Register.  Authority and Signature      Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for  Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC 20210, authorized the  preparation of this notice. Accordingly, the agency is issuing this  notice pursuant to Section 29 U.S.C. 655(6)(d), Secretary of Labor's  Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012), and 29 CFR 1905.11.      Signed at Washington, DC, on August 27, 2020. Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety  and Health. [FR Doc. 2020-19268 Filed 8-31-20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P   

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