Lessons Learned

ACMA sent OSHA the results of both updated tests and in October 2009, OSHA agreed that NFPA 33 was adequately protective. Soon after, OSHA sent a notice to its field offices telling them to adopt NFPA regulations, satisfying fiberglass manufacturers. “OSHA explained that they don’t have resources to change the regulation. They would have to go to Congress, which is uncertain and unlikely, but that it could provide an equivalent level of relief through the NFPA interpretation,” says Schweitzer. “We sent a letter back to OSHA saying we can live with that!” says Miles.

Due to the lengthy struggle, Miles says there were always times when he thought he would give up because of lack of progress. But in the two to three meetings a year he organized in different parts of the country, new people would come and others would go. “Despite the changes, we would usually gain at least some support each year and things would slowly get more encouraging. So we just kept at it,” he says.

Miles thinks he might have reached an impasse in trying to change the OSHA standard. But, the acceptance and substitution of the NFPA standard by OSHA has been worth the long fight. “With that ammunition, composite manufacturers shouldn’t have a problem being unfairly cited for fire spray standards from now on,” he says. And after the years of scorn, skepticism and struggle, the result was worth it.