Friday, November 6, 2009

Authority Having Jurisdiction-ComDust Explosive Atmospheres

I'd like to share this post that was authored by Robert Zuiderveld, General Manager at Pyroban Corp in the ComDust discussion group. It is an interesting and informative post as it provides insight regarding AHJ approval of powered industrial truck in a potentially combustible dust explosive atmosphere.OSHA PIT 1910.178 violations where third most cited violation according to the recent OSHA status report of the Dust NEP program

John called me and asked, " if getting a letter from a AHJ other than OSHA stating that the use of "S" type equipment in 1910.178 - Powered industrial trucks. 1910.178(c) Designated locations, Dust hazardous areas is OK and would satisfy OSHA regulatory requirements?"

NFPA 70 (aka NEC):
I always go back to this document since it is one of the few that get regularly updated and actually offers good answers to many questions in article 500:

Page 70-360 paragraph 500.8(A) states: Suitability of identified equipment shall be determined by one of the following:

(1) Equipment listing or labeling
(2) Evidence of equipment evaluation from a qualified testing laboratory or inspection agency concerned with product evaluation (RZ note: NOT necessarily and NRTL).
(3) Evidence acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction such as a manufacturer’s self evaluation or an owners engineering judgment.

Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.

FPN: The phrase "authority having jurisdiction," or its acronym AHJ, is used in NFPA documents in a broad manner, since jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the authority having jurisdiction may be a federal, state, local, or other regional department or individual such as a fire chief; fire marshal; chief of a fire prevention bureau, labor department, or health department: building official; electrical inspector; or others having statutory authority.

For insurance purposes, an insurance inspection department, rating bureau, or other insurance company representative may be the authority having jurisdiction. In many circumstances, the property owner or his or her designated agent assumes the role of the authority having jurisdiction; at government installations, the commanding officer or departmental official may be the authority having jurisdiction.

At the end of the day the burden of proof that equipment is unsafe rests on OSHA shoulders. You can get a letter from the Pope, but if OSHA can easily prove that your practices endanger the welfare of your employees then you are in violation. If they take you to court, and evidence is so obvious that they are right, you are out of even more money. This is the case with using any UL approved “S” type in any explosion hazardous areas. It is not a question if it is going to happen, more a question of when?

If you don’t wear a seat belt while driving a car, you will be fine until you get into an accident. If you use UL approved "S" type equipment in explosion hazardous areas you will most likely start a fire or blow yourself when an accidental release takes place.

It is possible to challenge a OSHA judgment, but you must be able to substantiate your claims and provide evidence. Historic fact is not a solid defense in the age of IT. -Robert Zuiderveld

John's Note:
Robert is referring to type S equipment, in NFPA 505, which you'll find in the top row of Table 4.2 Summary Table on Use of Powered Industrial Trucks.

In row 13, For Class II Division 2 Group G, you'll notice 11 different types of equipment that are listed, seven which require AHJ approval. But thats the problem, these haven't be certified for explosive atmosphere. Only EX is certified for explosive atmosphere by UL.

Contact Info
Robert Zuiderveld-General Manager at Pyroban Corp.
T: +1-973-748-0760
F: +1-973-842-0508

Ignition source protection gaps
UL Letter- Explosive Atmospheres Certification
NFPA 505
Powered Industrial Trucks


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