|This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.
January 25, 2010
Mr. Joel Hogue
Environmental Services & Consulting, Inc.
116 West Mohawk Drive
Powell, OH 43065
Dear Mr. Hogue:
Thank you for your April 23, 2009 letter to the Cleveland Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter has been referred to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs.
We understand that you are an environmental consultant and trainer of emergency responders, and that your company also performs mercury spill response, clean-up, and consultation services. Your letter asked several questions about OSHA requirements for mercury response and clean-up personnel in a number of different site-specific scenarios. As you did not request guidance with respect to any particular OSHA standard or standards, it would have been difficult for us to answer your questions without making numerous assumptions. A number of OSHA regulations are potentially applicable to your scenarios, including:
- 29 CFR Part 1910.120, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
- 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), §1910.132, General Requirements; §1910.134, Respiratory Protection; and §1910.138, Hand Protection
- 29 CFR Part 1910.1000, Air Contaminants (Table Z-2)1
- 29 CFR Part 1910.1200, Hazard Communication (HAZCOM)
A member of my staff contacted you by phone to clarify how OSHA could assist you in getting the information you were looking for. It is my understanding that during the course of that conversation you concluded that the information you were looking for was probably contained in the following OSHA instructions:
- CPL 02-02-006, Inorganic Mercury and its Compounds, October 30, 1978
- CPL 02-02-051, Inspection Guidelines for Post-Emergency Response Operations Under CFR 1910.120, November 5, 1990
- CPL 02-02-073, Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q): Emergency Response to Hazardous Substance Releases, August 27, 2007 (see especially, Appendix A)
I am attaching copies of these documents for your use and information. If you still have questions after reviewing these materials, please feel free to contact the OSHA Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.
We thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
1 Table Z-2 of 29 CFR 1910.1000 incorrectly lists the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for inorganic mercury as a ceiling value of 1 mg/10m3 (0.1 mg/m3). OSHA enforces the mercury PEL as an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA). See Memo from John Miles to Regional Administrators dated September 3, 1996. [ back to text ]