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Title 10Chapter IIIPart 851 → Subpart D


Title 10: Energy
PART 851—WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAM


Subpart D—Variances


Contents
§851.30   Consideration of variances.
§851.31   Variance process.
§851.32   Action on variance requests.
§851.33   Terms and conditions.
§851.34   Requests for conferences.

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§851.30   Consideration of variances.

(a) Variances shall be granted by the Under Secretary after considering the recommendation of the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security. The authority to grant a variance cannot be delegated.

(b) The application must satisfy the requirements for applications specified in §851.31.

[71 FR 6931, Feb. 9, 2006, as amended at 71 FR 68733, Nov. 28, 2006; 80 FR 5009, Jan. 30, 2015]

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§851.31   Variance process.

(a) Application. Contractors desiring a variance from a safety and health standard, or portion thereof, may submit a written application containing the information in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section to the appropriate CSO.

(1) The CSO may forward the application to the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security.

(2) If the CSO does not forward the application to the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security, the CSO must return the application to the contractor with a written statement explaining why the application was not forwarded.

(3) Upon receipt of an application from a CSO, the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security must review the application for a variance and make a written recommendation to:

(i) Approve the application;

(ii) Approve the application with conditions; or

(iii) Deny the application.

(b) Defective applications. If an application submitted pursuant to §851.31(a) is determined by the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security to be incomplete, the Associate Under Secretary may:

(1) Return the application to the contractor with a written explanation of what information is needed to permit consideration of the application; or

(2) Request the contractor to provide necessary information.

(c) Content. All variance applications submitted pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must include:

(1) The name and address of the contractor;

(2) The address of the DOE site or sites involved;

(3) A specification of the standard, or portion thereof, from which the contractor seeks a variance;

(4) A description of the steps that the contractor has taken to inform the affected workers of the application, which must include giving a copy thereof to their authorized representative, posting a statement, giving a summary of the application and specifying where a copy may be examined at the place or places where notices to workers are normally posted; and

(5) A description of how affected workers have been informed of their right to petition the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security or designee for a conference; and

(6) Any requests for a conference, as provided in §851.34.

(d) Types of variances. Contractors may apply for the following types of variances:

(1) Temporary variance. Applications for a temporary variance pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must be submitted at least 30 days before the effective date of a new safety and health standard and, in addition to the content required by paragraph (c) of this section, must include:

(i) A statement by the contractor explaining the contractor is unable to comply with the standard or portion thereof by its effective date and a detailed statement of the factual basis and representations of qualified persons that support the contractor's statement;

(ii) A statement of the steps the contractor has taken and plans to take, with specific dates if appropriate, to protect workers against the hazard covered by the standard;

(iii) A statement of when the contractor expects to be able to comply with the standard and of what steps the contractor has taken and plans to take, with specific dates if appropriate, to come into compliance with the standard;

(iv) A statement of the facts the contractor would show to establish that:

(A) The contractor is unable to comply with the standard by its effective date because of unavailability of professional or technical personnel or materials and equipment needed to come into compliance with the standard or because necessary construction or alteration of facilities cannot be completed by the effective date;

(B) The contractor is taking all available steps to safeguard the workers against the hazards covered by the standard; and

(C) The contractor has an effective program for coming into compliance with the standard as quickly as practicable.

(2) Permanent variance. An application submitted for a permanent variance pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must, in addition to the content required in paragraph (c) of this section, include:

(i) A description of the conditions, practices, means, methods, operations, or processes used or proposed to be used by the contractor; and

(ii) A statement showing how the conditions, practices, means, methods, operations, or processes used or proposed to be used would provide workers a place of employment which is as safe and healthful as would result from compliance with the standard from which a variance is sought.

(3) National defense variance. (i) An application submitted for a national defense variance pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must, in addition to the content required in paragraph (c) of this section, include:

(A) A statement by the contractor showing that the variance sought is necessary to avoid serious impairment of national defense; and

(B) A statement showing how the conditions, practices, means, methods, operations, or processes used or proposed to be used would provide workers a safe and healthful place of employment in a manner that, to the extent practical taking into account the national defense mission, is consistent with the standard from which a variance is sought.

(ii) A national defense variance may be granted for a maximum of six months, unless there is a showing that a longer period is essential to carrying out a national defense mission.

[71 FR 6931, Feb. 9, 2006; 71 FR 36661, June 28, 2006, as amended at 71 FR 68733, Nov. 28, 2006; 80 FR 5009, Jan. 30, 2015]

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§851.32   Action on variance requests.

(a) Procedures for an approval recommendation. (1) If the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security recommends approval of a variance application, the Associate Under Secretary must forward to the Under Secretary the variance application and the approval recommendation including a discussion of the basis for the recommendation and any terms and conditions proposed for inclusion as part of the approval.

(2) If the Under Secretary approves a variance, the Under Secretary must notify the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security who must notify the Office of Enforcement and the CSO who must promptly notify the contractor.

(3) The notification must include a reference to the safety and health standard or portion thereof that is the subject of the application, a detailed description of the variance, the basis for the approval and any terms and conditions of the approval.

(4) If the Under Secretary denies a variance, the Under Secretary must notify the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security who must notify the appropriate CSO who must notify the contractor.

(5) The notification must include the grounds for denial.

(b) Approval criteria. A variance may be granted if the variance:

(1) Is consistent with section 3173 of the NDAA;

(2) Does not present an undue risk to worker safety and health;

(3) Is warranted under the circumstances;

(4) Satisfies the requirements of §851.31 of this part for the type of variance requested.

(c) Procedures for a denial recommendation. (1) If the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security recommends denial of a variance application, the Associate Under Secretary must notify the CSO of the denial recommendation and the grounds for the denial recommendation.

(2) Upon receipt of a denial recommendation, the CSO may:

(i) Notify the contractor that the variance application is denied on the grounds cited by the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security; or

(ii) Forward to the Under Secretary the variance application, the denial recommendation, the grounds for the denial recommendation, and any information that supports an action different than that recommended by the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security.

(3) If the CSO forwards the application to the Under Secretary, the procedures in paragraphs (a)(2), (3), (4) and (5) of this section apply.

(4) A denial of an application pursuant to this section shall be without prejudice to submitting of another application

(d) Grounds for denial of a variance. A variance may be denied if:

(1) Enforcement of the violation would be handled as a de minimis violation (defined as a deviation from the requirement of a standard that has no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and no enforcement action will be taken);

(2) When a variance is not necessary for the conditions, practice, means, methods, operations, or processes used or proposed to be used by contractor;

(3) Contractor does not demonstrate that the approval criteria are met.

[71 FR 6931, Feb. 9, 2006, as amended at 71 FR 68733, Nov. 28, 2006; 80 FR 5009, Jan. 30, 2015]

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§851.33   Terms and conditions.

A variance may contain appropriate terms and conditions including, but not limited to, provisions that:

(a) Limit its duration;

(b) Require alternative action;

(c) Require partial compliance; and

(d) Establish a schedule for full or partial compliance.

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§851.34   Requests for conferences.

(a) Within the time allotted by a notice of the filling of an application, any affected contractor or worker may file with the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security a request for a conference on the application for a variance.

(b) A request for a conference filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must include:

(1) A concise statement explaining how the contractor or worker would be affected by the variance applied for, including relevant facts;

(2) A specification of any statement or representation in the application which is denied, and a concise summary of the evidence that would be adduced in support of each denial; and

(3) Any other views or arguments on any issue of fact or law presented.

(c) The Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security, or designee, must respond to a request within fifteen days and, if the request is granted, indicate the time and place of the conference and the DOE participants in the conference.

[71 FR 6931, Feb. 9, 2006, as amended at 71 FR 68733, Nov. 28, 2006; 80 FR 5009, Jan. 30, 2015]

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