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.

November 19, 1985

The Honorable Robert W. Kastenmeier
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Kastenmeier:

This is in response to your letter of October 25 addressed to former Assistant Secretary Robert A. Rowland, requesting information regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard and your constituent, Mr. A. A. Gibeaut. Mr. Gibeaut, Vice President of the Iroquois Foundry Company, was particularly concerned about this standard's application to gray and ductile iron castings.

The Hazard Communication Standard requires employers in the manufacturing industries to provide warning information (material safety data sheets) for any hazardous substances they manufacture. The standard generally exempts "articles" (such as castings) except in the instance that such an article releases or otherwise results in an exposure to a hazardous chemical under normal conditions of use.

There are some instances in which castings might release or otherwise result in an exposure to a hazardous chemical. Two examples are welding, in which some of the hazardous exposures may come from the casting as well as from the welding rod, and grinding on unfinished castings, which may generate exposures to silica and various components of the cast metal.

The determination of whether or not hazardous exposures may occur is left to the manufacturer, who must consider whether or not exposures may result under conditions of normal use. Your constituent--possibly with the assistance of his customers--may conclude that no such hazardous exposures would result from the normal use of his products, i.e., they are only assembled with no welding, or grinding performed. He would then be able to state that a hazard determination concluded that no hazardous exposure could result from normal use of his product, and his castings are classed as articles.

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 standard prevents or limits the resources an employer may use to perform hazard determinations, complete material safety data sheets, 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

October 25, 1985

Mr. Robert A. Rowland
Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety
and Health Administration
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Rowland:

Enclosed is some correspondence I recently received from one of my constituents, Mr. A.A. Gibeaut, which I think you will find to be self-explanatory.

Would you be good enough to have someone review the issues he raises and provide me with a complete report so that I might respond to him?

If you need additional information or have questions, please feel free to contact Marily Langill of my staff at 2328 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 (telephone: (202)225-2906).

Thank you for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,


Member of Congress

October 23, 1985

Representative Robert W. Kastenmeier
House of Representatives
2232 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Kastenmeier:

You recently received a letter from Frank Hartay, President of the United Foundrymen of Wisconsin, urging you to contact John B. Miles Jr., Directorate of Field Operations at OSHA concerning the exemption of castings from its hazardous communication standard. Mr. Hartay makes four excellent and absolutely true points in his letter which I'm sure you or a member of your staff has read.

As a businessman struggling with shrinking markets and unfair foreign competition, I rank this Proposed OSHA Hazardous Communication Standard as applied to gray and ductile iron castings right up there with the great "cracked toilet seat discovery" of the early 1970's from this same regulatory body.

This already beleaguered industry is about to spend countless amounts of money telling our customers that the gray and ductile iron castings they are buying, have metal in them.

Without your attention to this matter, I'm afraid this utterly ridiculous regulation will become binding by the November 25, 1985, effective date.

Please contact Mr. Miles and insist that he re-interpret the "articles" exemption to include all foundry products just as they have done for timber and lumber.

We appreciate your help here.


A. A. Gibeaut
Vice President Manufacturing