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 http://www.osha.gov.

July 17, 1985

Mr. Gary E. Mosher
American Foundrymen's Society
International Headquarters
Golf & Wolf Roads
Des Plaines, Illinois 60016

Dear Mr. Mosher:

We have reviewed your letter of June 19 addressed to Mr. Roy Gibbs of my staff, and presenting your organization's view that foundry castings should be classified as "articles" under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

On March 22 I corresponded with William Buelsen of your organization on the same subject. That document stated that a casting could not be classified as an "article" if it was reasonable for its manufacturer to anticipate customers to be exposed to constituent hazardous chemicals during use. It has never been our intent to state or imply that a casting could not be classified as an "article." A blanket classification for all castings, however, is inappropriate since some exposures can be expected.

Your letter points out that one purpose of the HCS is to ensure that employers and employees are provided with information relating to hazardous chemicals. It is your position that the users of castings will become aware of the hazards associated with castings through other sources; for example, that the hazards associated with welding on castings will be covered in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that are supplied with welding materials (rods and gases). Additionally it is your position that purchasers are aware of the hazardous chemicals in castings since castings are made to the purchaser specifications.

With regard to the new release of hazardous chemicals from welding on castings, MSDS's for welding materials will not represent all of the hazardous chemicals present in a casting for every welding task. In other words, it would not be reasonable to assume that the constituents of all welding rod/casting combinations would be the same.

Relative to your second position, OSHA agrees that castings purchasers should be aware of the components present in a casting, since the product is made to the customer's specifications. However, we cannot agree that knowledge of a casting's components alone would ensure knowledge of and communication of information on the hazardous chemicals that may exist in a casting.

Most manufacturing users of castings will rely on the manufacturer for hazard communication information on a casting since the HCS places these responsibilities on a product's manufacturer.

Nothing in the HCS prevents or limits the resources used to perform hazard determinations, complete MSDS's, and label hazardous chemicals. Castings manufacturers could enter agreements wherein their customers assist in the development of hazard communication information. This would be acceptable and would likely lead to the development of more comprehensive information.

Please feel free to contact us if further assistance is needed.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations