AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS

1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
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www.asse.org

October 11, 2004

The Honorable John Henshaw
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
OSHA Docket Office Docket No. S-775 A, Room N-2625,
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20210

RE: Slip Resistance of Walking Surfaces on Coated Structural Steel

Dear Assistant Secretary Henshaw: The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is pleased to comment on the recent limited reopening of the OSHA rule addressing slip resistance of walking surfaces on coated structural steel. In addition to this letter, we request that the attached professional papers (list provided) be added to the official record.

It should be noted that ASSE is the secretariat of the ANSI A1264 Committee (ASC), which is responsible for the ANSI/ASSE A1264.2-2001 that was formally approved by ANSI o n June 2, 2001. We believe the creation of the A1264.2-2001 Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces correlates directly to the limited reopening of the OSHA rule and can be summarized by the following points:

  1. The creation of the Standard met the procedures of the American National Standards Institute, through which over 30,000 individuals and organizations had the opportunity to participate.
  2. The process to create the A1264.2 Standard was open and met the tenets of due process, which resulted in a consensus of the involved parties.
  3. The creation of the ANSI/ASSE A1264.2 standard included the same stakeholders, issues and concerns.
  4. The standard set a 0.5 guideline for dry surfaces, which was backed by good science and sound technology.
  5. Through a series of public reviews and appeals, the committee was able to defend the standard, the testing methodologies in the standard, and the 0.5 dry guideline.
  6. The committee resolved the appeals, and/or prevailed in front of an independent panel, which led to recognition of a 0.5 guideline for dry surfaces.
  7. The standard has been extensively distributed on a national and international basis.
  8. The OSHA Steel Erection Standard and the ANSI/ASSE A1264.2-2001 have consistent language and requirements.

ASSE takes the position that the r eopening of the OSHA specification is unnecessary due to the extensive record resulting from the creation of the A1264.2 Standard . It should be noted that, during the past four years, the F-13 committee has been unable to move forward in incorporating any precision statements into the standards for the use of these devices due to a moratorium imparted by ASTM regarding incorporation of precision statements into the standards. There have been several workshops designed specifically to study the precision of the Variable Incidence Tribometer ( VIT), which have produced precision results surpassing the precision of any other standardized test device/method. ASTM recently lifted the moratorium, and there are renewed efforts being made to get precision statements inserted into these standards. It is also noteworthy that ASTM F1679 (concerning the operation of the VIT), has subsequently been revised to incorporate all details of operator technique used to produce exceptional precision results in ASTM F13 workshops. It is our understanding that the document will be reissued by ASTM in the future as F1679-02. The past four years have also led to a significant number of courtrooms accepting the VIT as a legitimate scientific instrument. We have attached a list of known court cases in which the VIT was introduced as a scientifically accepted device. In most of those cases challenges to the legitimacy of the VIT were made vis a vis Daubert , Khumo and other arguments. ASSE's view is that, in the nearly four years since the issuance of A1264.2, there have been no studies, data or statistics that have been produced that would indicate a lower level of slip resistance would be more appropriate. In fact, the papers submitted with this comment would indicate that there is a body of science supporting a higher level of slip resistance. We maintain that the arguments above support the ongoing inclusion by OSHA of a 0.5 slip resistance criteria of coated steel surfaces and the continued references to the recognized ASTM standards for slip resistance testing. It is also important to note the increased utilization of consensus standards in the formulation of occupational safety and health public policy through legislation and regulation. In addition to OSHA, other governmental agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Department of Defense and state regulatory bodies have been encouraged to utilize these consensus standards as they provide an efficient and effective alternative to traditional public sector rule making. Such activity has been encouraged since the enactment of The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public 104-113). Such action is also in accordance with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Standards. The use of voluntary national consensus standards in regulation has grown as a result of this initiative. This is of significance to the limited reopening rule since the tenets of public policy indicates that OSHA should review the appropriately related voluntary national consensus standards. We contend that the record leading to the creation of the A1264.2 Standard is essentially duplicated by the issues addressed in the Federal Register announcement. A careful review of the A1264.2 Standard, the ASTM Testing Standards, and the technology/science behind the 0.5 criterion should demonstrate that retention of these standards and the guideline is appropriate for OSHA.

The professional papers included with this comment that ASSE asks be included in the record of this rulemaking are the following:

  1. State of the Art in Slip-Resistance Measurement - A review of current standards and continuing developments, by Steven Di Pilla and Keith Vidal.
  2. Slip Resistance - Field Measurements Using Two Modern Slipmeters, by Brian C. Grieser, Timothy P. Rhoades and Raina J. Shah.
  3. Slips, Trips & Falls in Construction & Mining: Causes & Controls By Mark C. Radomsky, R.V. Ramani and Joseph P. Flick.
  4. The original ASSE Professional Safety Journal announcement on A1264.2 from 2002.
  5. A1264.2 Background Article by Keith Vidal.
  6. The ASSE Position Statement On Voluntary National Consensus Standards.

It should be noted that, on a number of occasions, ASSE has provided OSHA several complementary copies of the American National Standard A1264.2-2001; Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces . ASSE respectfully asks that the record reflect that OSHA has this standard and that our request for its review be noted. ASSE, however, retains its copyright to this standard. ASSE appreciates your attention to this matter, and we would like to formally request an opportunity to testify on behalf of OSHA should the opportunity arise. If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Society. Sincerely yours, Gene Barfield, CSP
President

Enclosures

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