PA 09-177—sSB 1009

Public Safety and Security Committee

Transportation Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING TECHNICAL CHANGES TO TITLE 29 TO INCORPORATE THE STATE FIRE PREVENTION CODE

SUMMARY: This act makes numerous unrelated changes in various statutes affecting the fire safety and fire prevention codes, state building inspector, manufacturing establishments, explosives and fireworks, local fire marshals, and hazardous chemicals. Many are technical, conforming, and updating changes.

The act makes substantial changes in the penalties for certain fire safety violations by subjecting violators to existing penalties for violations of the Fire Prevention Code.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1 — REVIEW OF AGENCY REGULATIONS FOR CODE COMPLIANCE

The law requires the public safety commissioner to review state agency regulations and recommend amendments to eliminate any conflicts with the state building and fire safety codes. The act additionally requires the commissioner to recommend amendments to eliminate conflicts with the State Fire Prevention Code and explosive and fireworks regulations. And, as is already the case for the building and fire safety codes, an agency must initiate the process to amend or repeal conflicting regulations within 90 days after receiving the commissioner's recommendation, unless the modification would conflict with the agency's program requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

2 — APPEALS OF STATE BUILDING INSPECTOR'S DECISIONS

The act extends, from 14 to 30 days, the deadline for appealing to the Codes and Standards Committee the state building inspector's decision to deny an application for a variation or exemption from, or equivalent or alternate compliance with, the State Building Code. It thus makes the deadline the same as for appeals of the State Fire Safety Code.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

3 — REGULATION OF FIRE ZONES

The act extends the authority to regulate fire zones to the Fire Prevention Code. Under the act, the code must require the establishment of fire zones. But municipalities also retain their authority, under existing law, to require such zones by ordinance.

The act requires the Fire Prevention Code, like the Fire Safety Code, to specify the reasonable minimum requirements for fire safety in new and existing buildings.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

4 — STATE FIRE MARSHAL OVERSIGHT OF BUILDING VACATION ORDERS

Prior law required local fire marshals or local police officers to notify the state fire marshal when they issue an order to vacate a building posing a risk of injury or death and the conditions cannot be corrected in four hours or less. The act requires them either to notify or submit a copy of the order to the state fire marshal. It specifies that the four-hour deadline begins when the order is made.

The act requires the state fire marshal to review the order and, after consulting with the local official, determine whether to uphold, modify, or reverse it. The state fire marshal may order any additional conditions he or she considers appropriate to protect people from injury.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

5 — NOTIFICATION OF FIRE HAZARDS

The act requires fire marshals to notify the proper state or federal occupational health and safety agency (i. e. , the state or federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration), instead of the labor commissioner, if they determine that a manufacturing facility contains dangerous accumulations of rubbish or flammable material especially liable to cause a fire and endanger life or property.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

6 — DEFINITION OF MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENT

By law, employers who keep, use, store, or produce hazardous material in manufacturing establishments must notify the local fire marshal of its presence or elimination. The act adopts the meaning of “manufacturing establishment” designated in sectors 31 to 33 of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

NAICS is a classification system that groups establishments into sectors based on the economic activities in which they are primarily engaged. Manufacturing is classified as sectors 31, 32, and 33. The activities in these sectors are “the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of material, substances, or components into new products.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

7, 8, 12, 14, 15, & 18 — REGULATIONS AND STATE FIRE PREVENTION CODE

The act repeals provisions that allow the commissioner, in adopting required regulations that address the following, to adopt the National Fire Protection Association standards, by reference:

1. installation of oil burners and related equipment ( 7(a));

2. installation and operation of gas equipment and gas piping ( 12(a));

3. safe storage, use, and transportation, or transmission of flammable or combustible liquids and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (propane) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) ( 8 & 14); and

4. safe storage, transportation, or transmission of hazardous chemicals ( 15).

The act also eliminates a provision that allows the commissioner to be guided by national standards when adopting regulations for motor-propelled rockets. It requires that all the above regulations be incorporated in the State Fire Prevention Code.

The act eliminates municipal authority to enact ordinances and make rules and regulations equal to, additional to, or more stringent than the regulations pertaining to the installation of oil burners and equipment and the installation and operation of gas equipment and gas piping ( 12(b) & 7(b)). Under prior law, the commissioner's regulations did not apply to the installation and operation of gas equipment and piping and oil burners and related equipment in manufacturing premises and public service companies. The act subjects manufacturing premises to the regulations. It maintains the exemption for public service companies, which it refers to as electric, gas, or electric distribution companies, as the terms are defined in existing law ( 12(b) &7(b)).

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

9, 10, & 25 — INSPECTION OF FLAMMABLE LIQUID TANKS AND VEHICLES

Prior law required local fire marshals, annually, to (1) inspect tanks used to store LPG, LNG, hazardous chemicals, or other flammable or combustible liquids, and cargo tank vehicles used to transport such chemicals or liquids; (2) report any hazards found to the public safety commissioner; and (3) issue an inspection certificate to be kept in the vehicle at all times. It prohibited transporting flammable or combustible liquid in such vehicles until they had been inspected.

The act eliminates the mandatory vehicle inspections, allowing municipalities, instead, to require, by ordinance, inspection of such vehicles registered with the motor vehicles commissioner. It prohibits operation of any such vehicle without inspection, if required. The act also eliminates the mandatory (1) tank inspections and (2) hazard reports.

The act allows appeals of an ordinance or local fire marshals' actions to the Superior Court in the district where the vehicle is registered. Under prior law, appeals of the regulations or the commissioner's actions were made to the Superior Court where the plant or equipment was located. Under the law and the act, appeals may also go to the Hartford Superior Court.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

11 — PENALTIES

The act eliminates the penalties for violating regulations adopted under CGS 29-320 concerning the safe storage, use, transportation or transmission of flammable or combustible liquids by pipeline.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

13, 16 & 20-24 — DEFINITIONS

These provisions of the act make technical or conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

17 & 25 — BOND REQUIREMENT FOR EXPLOSIVES AND FIREWORKS DISPLAY

The act eliminates a requirement for anyone granted a permit for supervised fireworks display to file a $1,000 bond with the municipality.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

19 — CITATIONS PAYABLE BY MAIL

The act allows anyone issued an unsafe building citation, which carries a fine up to $250, by the state or local fire marshal to pay the fine by mail under an existing statute for paying citations, which includes an appeal process.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

7, 12, & 25 — ELIMINATED PROVISIONS

Appeals

Public Act 08-65 added a general provision governing appeals of the Fire Prevention Code (CGS 29-291d). The act makes technical changes by repealing the following appeal provisions pertaining to:

1. dry cleaning (CGS 29-327);

2. LPG and LNG regulations (CGS 29-334);

3. safe storage and transportation of hazardous chemicals (CGS 29-340);

4. oil burners and related equipment (CGS 29-317(d));

5. the installation and operation of gas equipment and piping (CGS 29-329(d)); and

6. rocketry design, construction, testing, and certification, among other things (CGS 29-369).

Waivers and Exemptions

Public Act 08-65 implemented a general provision governing the commissioner's authority to grant waivers and exemptions from the Fire Prevention Code (CGS 29-291b). The act makes technical changes by eliminating individual waiver provisions for the following:

1. installation of oil burners and related equipment (CGS 29-317(c)),

2. flammable and combustible liquids (CGS 29-321),

3. LPG and LNG (CGS 29-333),

4. hazardous chemicals (CGS 29-338),

5. installation and operation of gas equipment and piping (CGS 29-329(c)), and

6. model rocketry (CGS 29-368).

Violations and Penalties

The act repeals the individual penalty provisions for certain violations and instead subjects violators to the penalties provided under an existing statute for violations of the Fire Prevention Code (see CGS 29-291c(e)). Table 1 shows the legal effect of this change.

Table 1: Penalty Provision Included in the Fire Prevention Statutes

Eliminated Penalty Provision

Prior Penalty

Penalty Under the Act (CGA 29-291c)

Safe storage, use, and transportation of hazardous chemicals, or operation of uninspected cargo tank with hazardous chemicals (CGS 29-341)

Up to $500, up to six months in prison, or both for first offense; $1,000 to $2,000, up to six months in prison, or both for subsequent offense; but up to $10,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both if death or injury results from violation

$200 to $1,000; up to six months, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Safe storage and transportation, etc. , of LPG and LNG (CGS 29-335)

Up to $500, up to six months in prison, or both for a first offense; $500 to $1,000, up to one year in prison, or both for any subsequent offense; but up to $10,000, 10 years in prison, or both if death or injury results from violation

$200 to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Rocketry regulations (CGS 29-370)

Up to $500, up to one year in prison, or both

$200 to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Dry cleaning regulations (CGS 29-328)

Up to $200, up to 60 days in prison, or both

$200 to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Regulations for installing oil burners and related equipment (CGS 29-317(e))

Up to $100, up to six months in prison, or both

$200 to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Regulations for installing and operating gas equipment and piping (CGS 29-329(e))

Up to $100, up to six months in prison, or both

$200 to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, and violator may be fined $50 per day for each day of a continuing violation

Other Repealed Provisions

The act repeals the following provisions, as of January 1, 2011 (see BACKGROUND):

1. the ban on the sale of fuel oil burners not approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory acceptable to the state fire marshal (CGS 29-316);

2. the requirement for the commissioner to adopt regulations providing reasonable safeguards against fire and explosions in dry cleaning businesses (CGS 29-325); and

3. the requirement for local fire marshals to inspect dry cleaning establishments, which in practice, is part of fire marshals' inspection schedule (CGS 29-326).

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

BACKGROUND

State Fire Prevention Code and Repealed Provisions

PA 04-59 required the state fire marshal to adopt a Fire Prevention Code to (1) enhance the enforcement capabilities of local fire marshals and (2) prevent fire and other related emergencies. The State Fire Marshal's Office has indicated that some repealed provisions will be in the Fire Prevention Code, which it is in the process of adopting.

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