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.

May 31, 1983

Mr. Robert F. Harbrant
Food and Beverage Trades
Department AFL-CIO
815 Sixteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. Harbrant:

This is in response to your letter of April 12, 1983, requesting an update on the OSHA compliance policy with regard to pesticides in grain elevators and mills. Please accept our apology for the delay in response.

Occupational exposure to many of the toxic substances used as fumigants or pesticides in grain elevator operations is regulated by the OSHA standard for air contaminants, 29 CFR 1910.1000, which lists permissible exposure limits (PEL's). Citations may be issued when employee exposure to a listed substance exceeds the PEL, either the 8-hour, time-weighted average value or the ceiling value (for samples up to 15 minutes).

The industrial hygiene procedures applicable to pesticides are referred to in OSHA Instruction CPL 2.14A, Grain Handling Facilities: Inspection and Citation Policy, a directive issued February 22, 1983 (copy enclosed). If hazardous exposures are determined for pesticides for which OSHA has no present standards, citations could be issued for violations of Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the general duty clause) if all other elements of a general duty violation can be established. The citation procedures for general duty violations are found in the enclosed copy of Chapter IV of OSHA's Field Operations Manual, OSHA Instruction CPL 2.45A; see paragraph A.2., pages IV-3 through IV-15.

I hope this information will be helpful to you. Should you have any further request or questions on the enclosed material, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Thorne G. Auchter
Assistant Secretary