B-23206, JANUARY 30, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 731

B-23206: Jan 30, 1942

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WHICH CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF SAID PLANTS AND PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 16. WHICH IS REQUIRED TO BE WORN BY ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS. THE WEARING OF THIS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL. WHERE USED IS A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT. B. LIABILITY FOR INDUSTRIAL DISEASES AND INJURIES WHICH HAVE BEEN SHOWN BY EXPERIENCE TO ACTUALLY RESULT WHEN THIS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT IS NOT WORN. WHO ARE DIFFICULT TO REPLACE. IT IS THE INTENTION OF THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT TO KEEP TITLE TO ALL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT.

B-23206, JANUARY 30, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 731

PERSONAL FURNISHINGS - SAFETY EQUIPMENT - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY PURCHASES OF PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT FOR WAR DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES OF ORDNANCE PLANTS, WHICH CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF SAID PLANTS AND PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT, MAY BE MADE FROM APPROPRIATIONS OTHERWISE AVAILABLE FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE WORK INVOLVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, JANUARY 30, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 16, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

I REQUEST YOUR EARLY DECISION AS TO WHETHER CERTAIN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, WHICH IS REQUIRED TO BE WORN BY ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS, CAN BE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE WORK INVOLVED, AS BEING NECESSARY AND INCIDENTAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THAT WORK.

THE WEARING OF THIS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL, BUT WHERE USED IS A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT, IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE UNITED STATES AGAINST:

A. EXPLOSIONS OR FIRES DUE TO FRICTION, ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGES, SPONTANEOUS IGNITION, OR OTHER CAUSES.

B. LIABILITY FOR INDUSTRIAL DISEASES AND INJURIES WHICH HAVE BEEN SHOWN BY EXPERIENCE TO ACTUALLY RESULT WHEN THIS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT IS NOT WORN; AND THE LOSS OF TRAINED PERSONNEL FROM SUCH CAUSES, WHO ARE DIFFICULT TO REPLACE.

C. LOSSES TO MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL IN PROCESS OR COMPLETED AS A RESULT OF OCCURRENCES UNDER A OR B ABOVE.

IT IS THE INTENTION OF THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT TO KEEP TITLE TO ALL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, TO KEEP SUCH CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT IN PROPER CONDITION, AND NOT TO PERMIT TO TO BE REMOVED FROM THE PLANT WHERE IT IS USED. HOWEVER, THE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT WILL BE USED BY REGULAR EMPLOYEES, AND SOME ARTICLES, SUCH AS SAFETY SHOES, WILL BE ISSUED DAILY TO THE SAME EMPLOYEE.

THE ARTICLES WHICH THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT DESIRES TO FURNISH TO ITS EMPLOYEES, WHEN REQUIRED, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

A. SAFETY EQUIPMENT AND SPECIAL CLOTHING REQUIRED IN THE MANUFACTURE AND PROCESSING OF CERTAIN HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, SUCH AS TNT (TRINITROTOLUENE) PICRIC (TRINITROPHENOL), TETRYL (TRINITROPHENYLMETHYLNITRAMINE), LEAKING CHEMICAL AMMUNITION, ACIDS, ETC., AS REQUIRED BY REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE ORDNANCE SAFETY MANUAL, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ACCEPTED MEDICAL AND SAFETY PRACTICES, AND AS DETERMINED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER. THE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT MUST NECESSARILY BE OF SPECIAL DESIGN AND BE SUITED FOR THE SPECIFIC HAZARD AGAINST WHICH IT IS INTENDED THAT PROTECTION BE AFFORDED. FOR EXAMPLE, CLOTHING MUST HAVE NO METAL BUTTONS AND NO POCKETS, IN ORDER TO AVOID THE INTRODUCTION OF ANY EXTRANEOUS METAL INTO EXPLOSIVES OPERATING BUILDINGS. IN ADDITION SOME EXPOSURES REQUIRE THAT IT BE CHEMICALLY TREATED TO RENDER IT FIREPROOF. THE WEARING OF STREET CLOTHING BY THE OPERATORS IN THE PLANT IS NOT PERMITTED AND, IN ADDITION, A COMPLETE CHANGE OF CLOTHING IS REQUIRED BEFORE LEAVING THE PLANT, IN ORDER TO AVOID THE INTRODUCTION INTO HOMES OR OUTSIDE PLACES OF ASSEMBLY OF CLOTHING IMPREGNATED WITH EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS WHICH MIGHT FLASH INTO FLAME OR RESULT IN THE POISONING OF THE WEARER OR OF PERSONS WITH WHOM HE COMES IN CONTACT. SPECIAL CLOTHING IS REQUIRED TO BE LAUNDERED AT THE PLANT UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF PLANT AUTHORITIES.

B. SPECIAL SHOES. SAFETY SHOES ARE REQUIRED IN BUILDINGS CONTAINING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. WHERE THERE IS A FINE EXPLOSIVE DUST, AS IN A SMOKELESS POWDER BLENDER OR BLACK POWDER LOADING PLANT, AND WHERE THERE IS DANGER OF IGNITING EXPLOSIVE VAPORS BY STATIC ELECTRICITY, AS IN THE GRAINING ROOM OF A SMOKELESS POWDER FACTORY, PERSONNEL MUST NOT BE INSULATED FROM THE FLOOR, WHICH IN TURN MUST BE CONDUCTIVE, AND FOOTGEAR WITH INSULATING SOLES ARE FORBIDDEN. SHOES MUST CONTAIN NO EXPOSED METAL OR METAL WHICH MAY BECOME EXPOSED THROUGH WEAR; SO THAT METAL EYELETS OR LACE ENDS, OR NAILS IN THE SHOES, ARE FORBIDDEN. SHOES USED IN ANY MAGAZINE OR BUILDING WHERE EXPLOSIVES ARE STORED OR PROCESSED MUST BE FREE OF ALL MUD, GRIT, OR OTHER FOREIGN MATERIAL. SAFETY SHOES MUST BE WORN IN ALL ROOMS IN WHICH BLACK POWDER IS HANDLED, AND THE WEARING OF NON- CONDUCTIVE SHOES, SUCH AS RUBBER, IS PROHIBITED. SAFETY SHOES WILL BE WORN IN REPACKING ROOMS OR BUILDINGS, AND WHENEVER LOOSE HIGH EXPLOSIVES ARE HANDLED. SAFETY SHOES ARE REQUIRED IN THE MANUFACTURE AND HANDLING OF PICRIC ACID, AND IN BUILDINGS WHERE THE BULK MATERIAL IS STORED.

C. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT. 1. EXPLOSIVES AND CHEMICALS: SPECIAL SAFETY EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED BY ALL PERSONNEL WHO WORK IN MAGAZINES OR BUILDINGS ASSIGNED TO STORAGE OF SUCH CHEMICALS AS PERSISTENT VESICANTS, TOXICS, IRRITANTS, SMOKE, SPONTAEOUSLY INFLAMMABLE AMMUNITION, AND INCENDIARY AND READILY INFLAMMABLE AMMUNITION. EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WHEN THEY ENTER BUILDINGS OR TANKS IN WHICH THERE IS AN EXCESS OF ACID FUMES OR VAPORS OR WHERE ANY ONE OF THE 67 HAZARDOUS RAW MATERIALS, EXPLOSIVES, AND INFLAMMABLES LISTED IN SECTION XXII OF THE ORDNANCE MANUAL, ARE PRESENT. SUCH SPECIAL EQUIPMENT INCLUDES GOGGLES, SAFETY SHOES, SAFETY SPECTACLES, GAS MASKS, RUBBER BOOTS, GLOVES, BLANKETS, STRETCHERS, APRONS, HELMETS, ETC.

2. INDUSTRIAL HAZARDS: THE NEED FOR PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN THOSE ACTIVITIES OF THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT NOT CONNECTED WITH THE MANUFACTURE OR PROCESSING OF EXPLOSIVES IS EQUALLY GREAT. FOR EXAMPLE, WELDERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE USING THE ELECTRIC ARC, MUST BE PROTECTED AGAINST THE INJURIOUS RADIATION FROM THE ELECTRIC ARC AS WELL AS FROM THE FUMES PRODUCED DURING THE COURSE OF WELDING OPERATIONS. IN THIS INSTANCE, MASKS, APRONS, JACKETS, AND RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT ARE NEEDED. GLARE REDUCING GOGGLES ARE REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYEES WHO, THOUGH NOT ACTUALLY ENGAGED ON WELDING WORK, ARE EXPOSED TO EYE INJURY FROM THE RADIANT ENERGY GIVEN OFF BY THE ARC.

PLATING OPERATIONS FREQUENTLY INVOLVE USE OF AND EXPOSURE TO CORROSIVE AND POISONOUS CHEMICAL SOLUTIONS. THE FUMES AND VAPORS GIVEN OFF BY MANY PLATING BATHS ARE POISONOUS. CONSEQUENTLY, APRONS, BOOTS, MASKS, AND RESPIRATORY EQUIPMENT ARE NEEDED FOR THE PROTECTION OF WORKERS ENGAGED IN SUCH OPERATIONS. PAINTING, PARTICULARLY SPRAY PAINTING, WHICH IS VERY WIDELY USED, REQUIRES RESPIRATORY PROTECTION, SINCE THE SOLVENTS AND PIGMENTS USED IN MODERN QUICK DRYING PAINTS ARE TOXIC IN VARYING DEGREE. WHERE CASTINGS ARE BEING CLEANED AND "FLASH" GATES AND RISERS ARE BEING CHIPPED, BOTH EYE AND RESPIRATORY PROTECTION ARE NEEDED. EYE PROTECTION MAY TAKE THE FORM OF EITHER GOGGLES OR MASKS DEPENDING UPON THE NATURE OF THE WORK. IN MANY INSTANCES PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN WORK INVOLVING EYE HAZARDS REQUIRE CORRECTIVE SPECTACLES. WHILE THOSE NORMALLY WORN ARE, OF COURSE, FURNISHED BY THE INDIVIDUAL, THERE REMAINS THE NECESSITY IN SOME CASES FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF PRESCRIPTION GROUND GOGGLE LENSES, IN ORDER THAT ADEQUATE EYE PROTECTION MAY BE FURNISHED TO SUCH INDIVIDUALS.

THE FOREGOING EXAMPLES ARE BELIEVED TO ADEQUATELY PRESENT THE PROBLEM INVOLVED IN THE FURNISHING OF PROTECTION TO ORDNANCE EMPLOYEES EXPOSED TO THE POSSIBILITY OF INDUSTRIAL INJURY. THOSE CITED SHOULD BE REGARDED AS HAVING BEEN PICKED AT RANDOM OUT OF THE MANY TYPES OF INDUSTRIAL OCCUPATIONS REQUIRING PROTECTION OF THE WORKER TO A DEGREE DICTATED BY THE SPECIFIC HAZARD INVOLVED.

D. BATH TOWELS, SOAP, AND SPECIAL NEUTRALIZING CHEMICALS: EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN OCCUPATIONS WHERE DANGEROUS OR IRRITATING ACIDS, POWDERS, OR FUMES MAY COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE SKIN DESPITE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, ARE REQUIRED TO BATHE DAILY, AT THE PLANT, AS SOON AFTER COMPLETION OF WORK AS POSSIBLE, TO AVOID INFECTIONS OR INJURIES WHICH MIGHT INCAPACITATE THEM TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT.

E. FINALLY, IN ORDER TO PROVIDE FOR EFFECTIVE PROTECTION, THE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT INTENDED FOR THE TYPES OF SERVICE ENUMERATED ABOVE MUST BE DESIGNED AND PRODUCED TO SPECIFIED STANDARDS, WHICH SHOULD BE UNDER THE CLOSE AND CONTINUOUS CONTROL OF THE SUPERVISING SERVICE.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT IN MANY, IF NOT ALL, OF THE INSTANCES CITED ABOVE THE SPECIAL EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED, NOT ALONE FOR THE PROTECTION AND SAFETY OF THE WEARER, BUT FOR THE PROTECTION AND SAFETY OF FELLOW EMPLOYEES AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC, AS WELL AS FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AND MATERIALS.

PRIOR DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL RELATING TO THE FURNISHING OF ARTICLES OF CLOTHING IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES DO NOT SEEM TO FURNISH A DEFINITE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THIS LETTER. ORDER, THEREFORE, THAT THERE MAY BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING, IT IS THOUGHT ADVISABLE TO REQUEST A DEFINITE RULING UNDER THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED, AND TO INVITE ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING CASES: 10 COMP. DEC. 134; 12 COMP. DEC. 616; 17 COMP. DEC. 508; 18 COMP. DEC. 43; 20 COMP. DEC. 308; 24 COMP. DEC. 44; 2 COMP. GEN. 258, 382, 652; 3 COMP. GEN. 848; 4 COMP. GEN. 123; 5 COMP. GEN. 517; 11 COMP. GEN. 247.

IN EACH OF THE FOREGOING CASES THE DECISION DOES NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN BASED UPON THE NATURE OF THE ARTICLE INVOLVED, BUT UPON ITS NECESSITY FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT BY THE EMPLOYEE OF HIS PARTICULAR WORK.

AN EARLY DECISION OF THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THIS COMMUNICATION WILL BE APPRECIATED, SINCE THERE ARE NOW OVER 80,000 ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN OCCUPATIONAL WORK AT GOVERNMENT OPERATED ARSENALS AND PLANTS.

THE GENERAL RULES WITH RESPECT TO FURNISHING EQUIPMENT OF THIS CHARACTER TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ARE STATED IN THE DECISION, 3 COMP. GEN. 433, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF PERSONAL EQUIPMENT, PARTICULARLY WEARING APPAREL OR PARTS THEREOF, THE FIRST QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH A PROPOSED PURCHASE OF SUCH EQUIPMENT IS WHETHER THE OBJECT FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED WAS MADE CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AND SATISFACTORILY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, WITHOUT SUCH EQUIPMENT. IF IT BE DETERMINED THAT USE OF THE EQUIPMENT IS NECESSARY IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PURPOSES OF THE APPROPRIATION, THE NEXT QUESTION TO BE CONSIDERED IS WHETHER THE EQUIPMENT IS SUCH AS THE EMPLOYEE REASONABLY COULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH AS PART OF THE PERSONAL EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO ENABLE HIM TO PERFORM THE REGULAR DUTIES OF THE POSITION TO WHICH HE WAS APPOINTED OR FOR WHICH HIS SERVICES WERE ENGAGED. UNLESS THE ANSWER TO BOTH OF THESE QUESTIONS IS IN THE NEGATIVE, PUBLIC FUNDS CAN NOT BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE. DETERMINING THE FIRST OF THESE QUESTIONS THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT OR THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVES THE PRINCIPAL BENEFIT RESULTING FROM USE OF THE EQUIPMENT AND WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE REASONABLY COULD BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE SERVICE WITHOUT THE EQUIPMENT. CONNECTION WITH THE SECOND QUESTION THE POINTS ORDINARILY INVOLVED ARE WHETHER THE EQUIPMENT IS TO BE USED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS REGULAR DUTIES OR ONLY IN EMERGENCIES OR AT INFREQUENT INTERVALS AND WHETHER SUCH EQUIPMENT IS ASSIGNED TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR INDIVIDUAL USE OR IS INTENDED FOR AND ACTUALLY TO BE USED BY DIFFERENT EMPLOYEES.

IT IS ASSUMED FROM WHAT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED DO NOT PROVIDE SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE PERSONAL FURNISHINGS AND EQUIPMENT TO WHICH YOU REFER. HOWEVER, IT IS APPARENT FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT THE SPECIAL CLOTHING AND OTHER EQUIPMENT ARE DEEMED NECESSARY, FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE STANDPOINT, NOT ONLY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE WEARERS BUT, ALSO, FOR THE PROTECTION OF THEIR FELLOW EMPLOYEES, THE PUBLIC, AND THE PLANT IN WHICH WORN; THAT IS TO SAY, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE RESPECTIVE PLANTS AND THEIR PURCHASE IS PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT MAY BE CONSIDERED THAT THE ARTICLES IN QUESTION MEET THE REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN THE ABOVE QUOTATION AND THAT THEY MAY BE PURCHASED UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS OTHERWISE AVAILABLE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK ON WHICH SUCH ARTICLES ARE REQUIRED AND USED. B-13849, DECEMBER 17, 1940.