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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 9LP-GAS SAFETY RULES
SUBCHAPTER AGENERAL REQUIREMENTS
RULE §9.54Commission-Approved Outside Instructors

(a) General.

  (1) AFS may approve and award training or continuing education credit for the management-level and employee-level applicants and certificate holders specified in this section offered by an outside instructor provided the outside instructor complies with the requirements of this section.

    (A) Authorized Category D outside instructors may offer only the applicable training and continuing education courses to Category D or K management-level applicants or certificate holders and to service and installation technician and appliance service and installation technician employee-level applicants or certificate holders.

    (B) Authorized Category E outside instructors may offer only the applicable training and continuing education courses to Category D or K management-level applicants and to DOT cylinder filler, motor/mobile fuel filler, bobtail driver, service and installation technician, and appliance service and installation technician applicants and employee-level certificate holders.

    (C) Authorized Category I outside instructors may offer only the applicable training and continuing education courses to DOT cylinder filler and motor/mobile fuel filler applicants and employee-level certificate holders.

    (D) Authorized Category M outside instructors may offer only the applicable training and continuing education courses to Category M management-level applicants and recreational vehicle technician employee-level applicants or certificate holders.

  (2) LP-gas companies may offer courses to their own personnel and to other companies' personnel provided that the LP-gas company and the outside instructor comply with the requirements of this section.

  (3) All curriculum and course materials submitted for AFS review by an outside instructor applicant shall be printed or typewritten, organized, and easily readable, and shall remain confidential within the limits of Tex. Gov't Code, Chapter 552 (Public Information Act).

  (4) Copies of the AFS curricula and materials are available from AFS at a reasonable cost.

(b) Application process. Outside instructor applicants shall submit the following to AFS:

  (1) a non-refundable $300 registration fee for each outside instructor;

  (2) a copy of the applicant's Category D, E, I, or M current certificate or, in the case of Category D only, a copy of the master or journeyman plumber/class A or B exemption card issued under §9.13 of this title (relating to General Installers and Repairman Exemption);

  (3) for each course the outside instructor applicant intends to teach:

    (A) the curriculum for and a description of the course;

    (B) the course materials and related supporting information or a statement that the instructor will use the AFS course materials;

    (C) a statement specifying whether the outside instructor seeks approval to certify any AFT described in §9.52 of this title (relating to training and continuing education);

  (4) proof that the outside instructor applicant has experience, during at least three of the four years prior to the date of filing the application, in both:

    (A) conducting LP-gas training or continuing education courses and

    (B) performing or supervising LP-gas activities; and

  (5) any other information required by this section.

(c) Curriculum standards. The curriculum for each course that an outside instructor applicant intends to teach shall include, where applicable, information that is at least the equivalent of AFS' course or courses on the same topic or topics, and shall include all applicable current LP-gas regulations for Texas. Courses not offered by AFS may be approved if the courses are equal or greater in overall quality to other approved courses.

(d) AFS review. AFS shall review the application for approval as an outside instructor and, within 14 business days of the filing of the application, shall notify the applicant in writing that the application is approved, denied, or incomplete. If an application is incomplete, AFS' notice of deficiency shall identify the necessary additional information, including any deficiencies in course materials. The outside instructor applicant shall file the necessary additional information within 30 calendar days of the date of AFS' notice of deficiency. The outside instructor applicant's failure to file the necessary additional information within the prescribed time period may result in the dismissal of the outside instructor's application and the necessity of the outside instructor applicant again paying the non-refundable $300 registration fee for each subsequent filing of an application.

(e) Additional requirements for approval. Outside instructor applicants whose applications are approved in writing by AFS shall attend AFS' Train-the-Trainer Course, the fee for which is included in the $300 registration fee. The Train-the-Trainer Course shall include classroom instruction and the subject-matter examinations for each course for which the applicant seeks approval to conduct. An outside instructor applicant shall pass the subject-matter examination for each course with a score of at least 85 percent and shall attend the subject-matter courses for which the applicant seeks approval to conduct.

(f) Notification of approval. Within 10 business days of the outside instructor applicant's completion of the requirements of this section, AFS shall notify the applicant in writing that the applicant is approved as an outside instructor and the outside instructor may then begin offering the approved courses.

(g) Term of approval. AFS approval of an outside instructor remains valid for three years unless the Commission revokes the approval pursuant to subsection (l) of this section.

(h) Renewal of approval. To continue offering AFS-approved LP-gas courses, an outside instructor shall renew his or her AFS outside instructor approval every three years by paying a nonrefundable $150 renewal fee to AFS and attending a Train-the-Trainer refresher course prior to the outside instructor's next renewal deadline.

(i) Revision of course materials.

  (1) An outside instructor who revises any course materials previously approved by AFS shall submit the revisions in writing, along with a nonrefundable $100 review fee to AFS.

  (2) If AFS revises its course materials, it shall provide a copy to all outside instructors authorized to conduct the course covered by the revised materials. Outside instructors using their own materials shall update their materials to align with the updated AFS material. Copies of the updated materials shall be submitted for review. The revised materials review fee will be waived in this instance.

  (3) An outside instructor shall not use materials in a course until the outside instructor has received written AFS approval.

  (4) AFS shall review the revised course materials and, within 14 business days, shall notify the outside instructor in writing that the revised course materials are approved or not approved.

  (5) If the revised course materials are not approved, AFS' notice shall identify the portion or portions that are not approved and/or shall describe any deficiencies in the revised course materials. The outside instructor shall file any necessary additional information within 30 calendar days of the date of AFS' notice of disapproval. The outside instructor's failure to file the necessary additional information within the prescribed time period may result in the dismissal of the outside instructor's request for approval of revised course materials and the necessity of again paying the $100 review fee for each subsequent filing of revised course materials.

(j) Continuing requirements. Outside instructors shall:

  (1) maintain their Category D, E, I, or M certificate or Category D exemption in continuous good standing. The Train-the-Trainer course shall not count as credit towards any training or continuing education requirements. Any interruption of the required Category D, E, I, or M certificate or Category D exemption may result in the Commission revoking or suspending the outside instructor's approval;

  (2) adhere to professional standards of conduct in course presentations; and

  (3) report to AFS within three business days of the conclusion of a course the names, social security numbers or RRC identification numbers, and any other information required by AFS, of the persons completing the course. The report shall be made electronically. The outside instructor shall ensure that AFS receives the report by securing written acknowledgment of its receipt by AFS.

(k) Disclaimer. Outside instructors are responsible for every aspect of the courses they teach, including the location, schedule, date, time, duration, price, content, material, demeanor and conduct of the outside instructor, and reporting of attendance information. AFS may monitor or supervise the actual course presentations by outside instructors. AFS is not obligated to gather, maintain, or distribute information about outside instructors' course offerings, other than the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of approved outside instructors and the date on which an outside instructor's approval would expire, absent renewal. AFS may refuse to issue or renew a certificate for an individual who presents for credit an unapproved course; a course taught by an unapproved outside instructor; or a course taught using unapproved, incomplete, or incorrect materials.

(l) Complaints.

  (1) Complaints regarding outside instructors shall be made to AFS in writing by email, fax, or U.S. Postal Service; shall include the printed name, address, telephone number, and, if filed by fax or U.S. Postal Service, the signature of the person complaining; shall state the outside instructor's name, the date, location, and title of the course; and shall describe the facts that show the outside instructor:

    (A) failed to meet or maintain AFS requirements for outside instructor approval;

    (B) failed to deliver a course as approved, including failure to follow the approved curriculum, to use the approved course materials, or to deliver the requisite numbers of hours of instruction; or

    (C) engaged in other conduct, including the use of language, that created an atmosphere not conducive to learning. Such conduct includes but is not limited to demeaning, derogating, or stereotyping women or men, disabled persons, members of any political, religious, racial, or ethnic group, or a particular individual, organization, or product.

  (2) Upon receipt of a complaint and at its discretion, AFS may gather any additional information necessary or appropriate to making a full and complete analysis of the complaint. AFS shall send a written copy of the analysis and any findings to the outside instructor who is the subject of the complaint. The outside instructor may file a written response within 20 calendar days from the date the findings are postmarked.

  (3) If AFS determines that an outside instructor has engaged in conduct prohibited by this section, AFS may prepare a report that states the facts on which the determination is based and the recommendation as to the action AFS intends to take. AFS may issue a written warning to the outside instructor; decline to approve or renew the outside instructor's approval; or revoke the outside instructor's approval.

  (4) AFS shall send a written copy of the report and recommendation to the outside instructor and shall include a statement that the outside instructor has a right to a hearing on the determination contained in the report.

  (5) Within 20 calendar days after the date the notice is postmarked, the outside instructor shall file a written response either accepting the determination and recommended action or requesting a hearing on the determination.

  (6) If the outside instructor accepts the determination, he or she shall notify AFS in writing of the acceptance, and AFS shall take the action indicated in the report.

  (7) If an outside instructor requests a hearing or fails to respond timely to the notice given under paragraph (5) of this subsection, the AFS director shall refer the matter to the Hearings Division.

  (8) Following the hearing, the Commission may enter an order finding that the outside instructor has violated Commission rules or that no violation has occurred; and may make any other finding based on the evidence in the record.

  (9) If the outside instructor does not comply with the order of the Commission, and if the enforcement of the Commission's order is not stayed, then the Office of General Counsel may refer the matter to the attorney general for enforcement of the Commission's order.


Source Note: The provisions of this §9.54 adopted to be effective May 28, 2001, 26 TexReg 3742; amended to be effective August 25, 2003, 28 TexReg 6831; amended to be effective September 1, 2005, 30 TexReg 4810; amended to be effective February 1, 2008, 33 TexReg 138; amended to be effective December 24, 2012, 37 TexReg 9913; amended to be effective January 6, 2020, 45 TexReg 127

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