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. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. 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 https://www.osha.gov.

July 8, 1982

Mr. Ronald C. Pohls
Vice President, Personnel
Drug and Health Care Group
Foremost-McKesson, Inc.
One Post Street
San Francisco, California 94104

Dear Mr. Pohls:

This is in response to your June 17, 1982, inquiry concerning the application of OSHA's Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records standard (29 CFR 1910.[1020]) to your office and warehouse distribution facilities.

29 CFR 1910.[1020] applies to employers who have employees exposed to toxic substances or harmful physical agents. "Exposure" does not include situations where the employer can demonstrate that the toxic substance or harmful physical agent is not used, handled, stored, generated, or present in the workplace in any manner different from typical non-occupational situations.

You have described your firm's operations as consisting solely of the distribution of finished products ready for consumption or use by the consumer. Thus, it does not appear that 29 CFR 1910.[1020] applies to such a situation.

As you may know, however, the State of California is one of a number of States which administer their own programs of workplace safety and health standards, under the authority of Section 18(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. While the regulations promulgated under such a State program must be at least as effective as Federal OSHA Standards, they may differ in some respects. For you information, I am enclosing a list of the addresses of the agencies which administer these State programs.

I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact us again if we can be of further assistance.


Patrick R. Tyson
Director, Federal Compliance and State Programs

June 17, 1982

Mr. Patrick Tyson
Director Federal Compliance & State Programs
U. S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

RE:   Request for Interpretation - Access to Employee Exposure 
      and Medical Records - 29 CFR 1910.[1020](c)(8)

Dear Mr. Tyson:


At the suggestion of David Sloane of the National Association of Wholesalers, I am writing to request an interpretation of the application of the OSHA rules on "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records" to our operations.

This interpretation is requested solely for the Foremost-McKesson, Inc. Drug & Health Care Group, which include McKesson Drug Company, SkaggsStone, and VALU-RITE Pharmacies, Inc.

All of our operations are office and warehouse distribution facilities involved in the distribution of products that are received from various manufacturers and suppliers in a finished product form ready for consumption and/or use by the consumer. We perform no manufacturing, compounding, processing or production operations on these products. We merely receive these products, store them in our distribution centers, fill orders from our inventory and deliver them to our customers who are hospital pharmacies, retail drugstores, and mass merchandisers. In other words, the products leave our doors in the same form that they entered them.

The products that we distribute range from prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, health and beauty aids, sundries (e.g., wrist watches, costume jewelry, batteries, etc.) and general merchandise (e.g., toys, small electrical appliances, stationery, cookware, etc.). All are ready and safe for human consumption or use either by definition or approval of the FDA. Contact or exposure in the workplace would certainly be neither hazardous nor injurious to an employee's health since the Product is in the same form that it is when used in non-occupational situations.

The only exceptions to the above would be normal cleaning agents used in housekeeping operations.

In light of the nature of our operations it does not seem that the subject regulations were intended to apply to our type of situation. We would, therefore, appreciate your review of this matter.


Ronald C. Pohls
Vice President, Personnel
Drug & Health Care Group