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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department adopts a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which establishes requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the rule requires:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The entire rule is underlined, indicating that it is a new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 09/01/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, June 13, 2016
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department proposes a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which would establish requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the proposed rule would require:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The proposed rule is underlined, indicating that it is an entirely new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Subject: 

Removal of Lubricating Oil from Ammonia Refrigerating Systems

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

According to Fire Code Section FC113.7.3, the Fire Department may require a certificate holder to complete a Department-approved continuing education program as a condition of renewal of the certificate.

 

The final rule requires refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders to have completed a continuing education course in building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping from a Department-approved continuing education program by the time of their next certificate renewal.  This will ensure that operating engineers, who typically have other important responsibilities relating to building operation and maintenance, are familiar with applicable Fire Code requirements, which have undergone a comprehensive revision in 2008 and were revised again effective March 2014.

 

Refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders who also hold a Fire Safety Director Certificate of Fitness will not be required to re-take the course because the continuing education requirement in building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping for refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders is substantially similar to the continuing education that Fire Safety Director Certificate of Fitness holders were already required to complete, as set forth in 3 RCNY §113-02.

 

The final rule also requires that building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping be included as a topic in the curriculum for refrigerating system operating engineer certificate training courses.  This amendment is substantially similar to 3 RCNY §113-05, which makes building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping a required topic in the training course curriculum for fire safety directors.

 

The final rule also adds company certificates and stationary battery storage systems as additional topics in the curriculum for building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping training courses. These topics are relevant to the duties and responsibilities of many refrigerating system operating engineers.

 

Terms used in the final rule that are defined in the Fire Code or elsewhere in the Fire Department’s rules are indicated by italics.

 

New material is underlined.  Material to be deleted is in [brackets].

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/index.shtml#p6.

Effective Date: 
Wed, 07/01/2015

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, April 24, 2015
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rules

 

 

According to Fire Code Section FC113.7.3, the Fire Department may require a certificate holder to complete a Department-approved continuing education program as a condition of renewal of the certificate.

 

The proposed rules would require refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders to have completed a continuing education course in building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping from a Department-approved continuing education program by the time of their next certificate renewal.  This will ensure that operating engineers, who typically have other important responsibilities relating to building operation and maintenance, are familiar with applicable Fire Code requirements, which have undergone a comprehensive revision in 2008 and were revised again effective March 2014.

 

Refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders who also hold a Fire Safety Director Certificate of Fitness will not be required to re-take the course because the proposed continuing education requirement in building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping for refrigerating system operating engineer certificate holders is substantially similar to the continuing education that Fire Safety Director Certificate of Fitness holders are already required to complete, as set forth in 3 RCNY §113-02.

 

The proposed rule would also require that building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping be included as a topic in the curriculum for refrigerating system operating engineer certificate training courses.  This amendment is substantially similar to 3 RCNY §113-05, which makes building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping a required topic in the training course curriculum for fire safety directors.

 

The proposed rule would also add company certificates and stationary battery storage systems as additional topics in the curriculum for building operation, maintenance and recordkeeping training courses. These topics are relevant to the duties and responsibilities of many refrigerating system operating engineers.

 

The Fire Department’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 489 and 1043 of the New York City Charter and Section 102.6.3 of the New York City Fire Code, Title 29 of New York City Administrative Code.

 

Terms used in the proposed rule that are defined in the Fire Code or elsewhere in the Fire Department’s rules are indicated by italics.

 

New material is underlined.  Material to be deleted is in [brackets].

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website, www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/firecode/index.shtml#p6.

Subject: 

Amendments of Fire Department Rules Regarding Continuing Education for Certificate Renewal

Location: 
Fire Department
9 MetroTech Center, Auditorium
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact