A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, July 07, 2007

OSHA Threat

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed new rules that would have a catastrophic effect on the transportation and storage of ammunition and handloading components. The proposed rule indiscriminately treats ammunition, powder and primers as “explosives.” Among many other provisions, the proposed rules would:

1. Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial “facilities containing explosives”. This is an obvious problem for your local gun store, as well as police departments.

2. Require evacuation of all “facilities containing explosives” during any electrical storm. This includes your local Wal-Mart if they carry ammunition, and your local Sheriff's office if they have ammunition storage.

3. Prohibit smoking within 50 feet of “facilities containing explosives.”

It’s important to remember this is only a proposed rule right now, so there’s still time for gun owners to voice concerns before OSHA issues its final rule. The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute will all be commenting on these proposed regulations, based on the severe effect these regulations (if finalized) would have on the availability of ammunition and reloading supplies to safe and responsible shooters.

The opportunity for public comment ends July 12. To file your own comment, or to learn more about the OSHA proposal, click here (pdf file) or go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and search for Docket Number OSHA-2007-0032. You can read OSHA’s proposal and learn how to submit comments electronically, or by fax or mail.

Update: OSHA has extended the comment period to 9/10/2007

OSHA Docket Office Docket No. OSHA-2007-0032 U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625 200 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20210

Re.: Docket No. OSHA-2007-0032 (Explosives—Proposed Rule)

Dear Sir:

I am writing in strong opposition to OSHA’s proposed rules on “explosives,” which go far beyond regulating true explosives. These proposed rules would impose severe restrictions on the transportation and storage of small arms ammunition, both complete cartridges and handloading components such as black and smokeless powder, primers, and percussion caps. These restrictions go far beyond existing transportation and fire protection regulations.

As a person who uses ammunition and components, I am very concerned that these regulations will have a serious effect on my ability to obtain these products. OSHA’s proposed rules would impose restrictions that very few gun stores, sporting goods stores, or ammunition dealers could comply with. (Prohibiting firearms in stores that sell ammunition, for example, is absurd—but would be required under the proposed rule.)

The proposed transportation regulations would also affect shooters’ ability to buy these components by mail or online, because shipping companies would also have great difficulty complying with the proposed rules.

There is absolutely no evidence of any new safety hazard from storage or transportation of small arms ammunition or components that would justify these new rules. I also understand that organizations with expertise in this field, such as the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Association, will be submitting detailed comments on this issue. I hope OSHA will listen to these organizations’ comments as the agency develops a final rule on this issue.


OSHA Docket Office
Docket No. OSHA–2007–0032
U.S. Department of Labor
Room N–2625 200
Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

RE: Docket No. OSHA–2007–0032
Request to Extend Public Comment Period and Request for Hearing on
“Significant Regulatory Action” as Defined in Executive Order 12866

Dear Secretary Chao:

I am writing to request an extension for public comment set to expire on July 12, 2007 for Preliminary & Initial General Observations on OSHA Explosives Proposed Rule (29 CFR Part 1910) - Published at Federal Register Vo. 72, No. 71, at P. 18792 (April 13, 2007).

After reviewing the proposed regulations it is my belief that the proposed rule is a "significant regulatory action" as defined in Executive Order 12866 (1993) Sec. 1(f)(1) in that it will clearly "adversely affect in a material way" the retail sector of the firearms and ammunition industry, productivity, competition and jobs and that the annual compliance cost for all retailers of ammunition will far exceed $100 million dollars.

Below is a bulleted list of what I am most concerned about:

• Massive Costs: The cost to comply with the proposed rule for the ammunition industry, including manufacturer, wholesale distributors and retailers, will be massive and easily exceed $100 million. For example, ammunition and smokeless propellant manufacturers would have to shut down and evacuate a factory when a thunderstorm approached. The proposal mistakenly states that this is an industry standard practice. A retailer would have to do likewise. Thus retailers, such as Wal-Mart, selling ammunition would have to close down and evacuate customers. This is simply not realistic.

• Exacerbate Ammunition Shortage to DoD and Law Enforcement: The proposed rule has major national security and homeland defense implications. There is already a shortage of ammunition for our troops and law enforcement. The Department of Defense has contracted to purchase ammunition from the commercial market because the Department's arsenal cannot meet demand. The rule will delay production and massively increase prices, making the ammunition shortage even more severe. In addition, the rule applies to the DoD arsenal, which is run by a commercial manufacturer under DoD contract.

• Unrealistic Assumptions: Portions of the proposed rule are not feasible and cannot realistically be complied with. The concept of evacuation to "a safe remote location" in case of thunderstorms or accident is untenable to manufacturers and retailers and is in disagreement with the DoD Safety Manual for Ammunition and Explosives.

• One Size Fits All Approach: The provisions in this proposal treat all explosives as if they have the same degree of hazard to employees. Retail outlets for small arms ammunition, primers and smokeless propellants, including massive facilities such as Wal-Mart, must maintain a fifty-foot barrier and specifically authorize all customers to enter only after searching them for matches or lighters (c.3.iii.A) and determining that they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol (c.1.vii). This is despite the fact that small arms ammunition is extremely safe even when subjected to open flame, heat and shock. A customer still wouldn’t be able to purchase the ammunition because under this rule they are not allowed to carry it from the counter to the exit (c.3.iii.C). Even more damaging, the many “mom and pop” firearm outlets located in strip malls would be forced to shutdown as they have neighbor stores fewer than 50-feet away.

• Shipping is Halted: Proposed restrictions on transportation exceed current DOT Regulations. Mandating wood-covered, non-spark-producing material in trailers for small arms ammunition shipments would bring the transportation of ammunition to a near halt. There are simply not enough trailers in existence today that would be able to substitute for traditional, metal covered surfaces. Small package carriers such as UPS and Fed-Ex would be prohibited from carrying ammunition and components which would shut down mail order houses such as Cabalas and Bass Pro shops and many business to business transactions. This section alone, with all it would entail (such as two drivers at all times), is capable of paralyzing our industry.

• National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Rules Exceeded: Proposed restrictions exceed NFPA regulations and would, for example, reduce commercial establishment displays of smokeless propellant from 50 to 20 lbs with no commensurate increase in safety. This will only add to dramatically increasing the cost to manufacturers and consumers.

It bears noting that scientific testing and safety records clearly illustrate that small arms ammunition is inherently an extremely safe product. I cannot recall a single instance where fire, shock, heat or lightening has resulted in injury from the accidental detonation of small-caliber ammunition. Billions of rounds of ammunition are sold each year in the U.S. and records demonstrate that current production and safety requirements are working.

I urge OSHA to grant an extension to this critical regulatory process.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how many times a lightning storm has triggered a catastrophic explosion in or around any gun store...

1:08 AM  
Blogger Vinnie said...

I am thinking that cops all get the Barney Fife treatment. You can only carry one round of ammo at a time while on the job. What if you shoot and all of the rounds in your mag go off?

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot how this would the military,who have ten of thousands of rounds in armories. Not to mention the ammo bunkers surround the base,fort,or camp. Would they have to evacuate all personal, also numbering in the tens of thousands. Or,since its the military,be exempted from the rule.

6:30 AM  
Blogger dropdownstairs said...

FYI: there is a link on webpage says post comment, CLICK and you can post directly to them

Docket Type RULE
Document ID OSHA-2007-0032-0001
How To Comment
You may submit comments and attachments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

All submissions must include the Agency name and the docket number for this rulemaking (Docket No. OSHA-2007-0032)
Title Explosives
Subject Occupational safety and health standards: Hazardous materials; explosives and blasting agents
CFR Citation 29 CFR 1910
Source OSHA
Authors Edwin G Foulke Jr
Page Count 55
Start End Page 18791 - 18845
RIN 1218-AC09
FR Volume Number 72(71)
Federal Register Number E7-06607
Comments Due 07/12/2007

8:02 AM  
Blogger Citizen H said...

The Brady bunch can't win in Congress or the courts, so they get another alphabet-soup bureaucracy to do their wet work. Typical.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These proposals are soooooo over the top, and also out dated, let me explain....

We had this sort of shit in Britain. I'm out of touch with the current state of the war on freedom, but in the past:

we had cops using health & safety at work legislation and powers to enter houses, look at and take away anything they fancied and to have any and all questions answered.

You could see the need for such regs applying to dodgy oil refineries etc, where sloppy behaviour by management could take out the town, but for a pound of black powder?

I always thought that the US distinguishing between, Burning, Deflagration and Detonation, was really sensible.

a blanket catagory of "explosive" is illiterate. What else explodes?
Corn flour, Gasoline vapour, diesel vapour (if you get the stuff to vapourize)Nitro Cellulose lacquer...

This really wants stamping on until it stops wriggling.

Smokeless powder is a flammable solid, and its packaging recognizes that, it is made to release pressure before deflagration (the fast smokeless burning it does inside a gun) can get going.

Other than a lunatic firing a 3grain load off slow burning ball powder in a 30-06, when did you last hear of smokeless detonating?

Primers detonate, yes. but their packaging ensures that if by some fluke chance 1 goes pop, none of its' friends will copy it, and the quantity of charge and booster in a primer is way too low to be reliable at setting something like TNT off.

The explosive used in Quarrying and Civil Engineering now is mostly ammonium nitrate based, and doesn't even become explosive until it is being pumped into the hole.

With old electric detonators, yes there was a reason to be careful with thunder storms as the long network of cables could be an effective arial, picking up current, and a 2lb booster charge of TNT livened up with PETN would give you more than a bloody finger if it went off in your hand...

Even with mines and quarries, Non Electric initiation is pretty un peturbed by thunder, or for that matter a fighter jet going over with it's radar...

Modern electric dets require a coded signal down the wire, so short of a full lightening strike, are also pretty un affected by stray currents.

As a closing thought, does this mean that the US millitary have to stop fighting, put their guns and ammo down and retreat to a safe distance if it starts to rain?

12:15 PM  
Blogger Matt G said...

Because we've all been having problems with spontaneously-combusting ammo, right?

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OSHA has extended the comment period 90 days, to September 10. This is probably a sign that the proposed rules are getting a lot of opposition and may have trouble passing.

Keep sending in the comments (but don't just duplicate the form letter - that greatly reduces the impact you have), and if your representative is on the Labor committee drop them a letter too.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because we've all been having problems with spontaneously-combusting ammo, right?

Why, yes, I have. Along with my recurring problem of my firearms spontaneously jumping from my safe, loading themselves, and going on shooting rampages.

7:53 PM  

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