NASA Rule Broadens Requirement For Contractor Safety and Health Plans

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Bureau of National Affairs

Summary Statement

Statement on new NASA ruling that requires all contractors to have a health and safety program.
April 17, 2002

Reproduced with permission from Construction Labor Report, Vol. 48, No. 2372, p. 199 (April 17, 2002). Copyright 2002 by the bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (1-800-372-1033)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration April 9 issued a final rule that will require its contractors to design and implement safety and health programs regardless of the size of the contract (67 Fed. Reg. 17016).

Previously, NASA safety and health regulations required contractors to undertake specific safety measures only on certain high-dollar and high-risk contracts. Generally, added safety requirements were triggered when a project was valued at more than $1 million, involved construction, or included hazardous operations.

"This final rule removes the dollar threshold from the Safety and Health clause prescription since safety and health requirements should be determined by the risks rather than cost of the contract requirements," NASA said in the Federal Register notice.

NASA issued its proposed rule in December 2001, and the April 9 action essentially adopted the proposal as published, the agency said.

The required safety and health plan must include a detailed discussion of policies and procedures that each prospective contractor plans to use to ensure the safety of contract employees on NASA projects, as well as subcontractors hired by that contractor.

The final action was applauded as a "victory for safety" by the American Society of Safety Engineers, which had supported the changes.

The ASSE noted that the final rule also further limits the conditions that contractors must meet to get their contracts excluded from the more stringent safety requirements.