Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1910.120|
November 8, 1991
Mr. Joseph Green
Occupational Health and Hygiene
Corporation of America
2777 Finley Road
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515
Dear Mr. Green:
This is in further response to your letter of September 25, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter requested an interpretation of the Hazardous Waste Operations Emergency Response standard (29 CFR 1910.120).
It is not the intent of the Agency to define an emergency condition in terms of an arbitrary quantity of material released due to the diversity of workplace conditions, conditions of chemical use, and types of chemicals used.
When, as a consequence of a release of a hazardous substance the following conditions, or similar conditions, may develop, such situations would normally be considered emergency situations requiring an emergency response effort:
Employers, who intend to evacuate employees from the danger zone when an emergency situation occurs and who do not expect employees to assist in handling the emergency, are exempt from developing an emergency response plan provided an emergency action plan is developed in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38(a).
The intent of the standard is to protect employees from exposure to the health and physical hazards of hazardous substances associated with hazardous waste operations and emergency response activities. Absent testing data on the mixture as a whole, the hazards of a mixture containing hazardous substances would be expected to be treated as a hazardous substance for compliance purposes.
The determination of how much of a solvent mixture spill (containing 10-100 ppm of benzene) would represent an emergency, is dependent upon many factors. It is not possible to respond to your specific question based on the information provided. However, in general, a theoretical concentration for each component part can be calculated based on the quantity of solvent spilled, the percentage by weight of volume of each component, and the size of the spill area. In the event the components of a mixture pose an additive effect, the TLV for the mixture can be calculated. Dependent upon the quantity of a solvent expected to be released and the size of the spill area, a determination could then be made as to whether or not such a concentration would result.
When the concentration of the mixture as a whole or the concentration of the component parts poses a condition previously described, an emergency situation would be anticipated requiring an emergency response.
If you have any further questions please contact us at [(202) 693-2190].
Gerard F. Scannell
September 25, 1991
Mr. Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Mr. Scannell:
The purpose of this letter is to request an interpretation of the requirements in OSHA's regulations 29 CFR 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.
With regard to the definitions in these regulations, the term "hazardous substance" is defined as follows:
"Hazardous substance" means any substance designated or listed under paragraphs (A) through (D) of this definition, exposure to which results or may result in adverse affects on the health or safety of employees:
(A) Any substance defined under section 101(14) of CERCLA;Further, the term "emergency response" is defined as follows:
"Emergency response" or "responding to emergencies" means a response effort by employees from outside the immediate release area or by other designated responders - (i.e., mutual-aid groups, local fire departments, etc.) to an occurrence which results, or is likely to result in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance. Responses to incidental releases of hazardous substances where the substance can be absorbed, neutralized, or otherwise controlled at the time of release by employees in the immediate release area, or by maintenance personnel are not considered to be emergency responses within the scope of this standard. Responses to releases of hazardous substances where there is no potential safety or health hazard (i.e., fire, explosion, or chemical exposure) are not considered to be emergency responses.We are currently working with several private sector industrial clients to assist them in implementing their "Hazardous Substance Emergency Response Plans." The following questions have been raised:
Your prompt response will be appreciated. Please feel free to contact me should you need to discuss our inquiry.
Very truly yours,
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE CORPORATION OF AMERICA
Joseph D. Green, CIH, CSP
Industrial Hygiene Division
Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|