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.

January 31, 1986

 
MEMORANDUM FOR: GILBERT SAULTER
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
 
FROM: JOHN B. MILES JR.,
DIRECTOR
DIRECTORATE OF FIELD OPERATIONS
 
SUBJECT: HAZARD COMMUNICATION INSPECTIONS
 

This is in response to your letter of December 30, 1985 presenting your position on several issues that have come forward in your early inspections.

Three problems are related in your letter. The first concerns whether information on the signs of exposure data must be included on MSDS's when available. You indicate that some companies are only noting signs of overexposure. Your interpretation is correct, both must appear on the form where available.

Your second concern relates to 1910.1200 (g)(2)(vii), which requires a notation on the MDA when a chemical is listed in IARC, NTP or as an OSHA carcinogen. As you point out the standard does not require a notation unless a chemical is present on one of the referenced lists. Clearly it would simplify your compliance reviews if a notation of negative determination could be mandated, however the standard is final and clear on this point.

In the third issue you indicate that one positive study indicating that a chemical is carcinogenic requires a notation on the MSDS. This is correct. Under the Hazard Communication Standard, evidence of carcinogenicity is not limited to whether OSHA regulates the chemical as a carcinogen or whether IARC or NTP lists the chemical as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen. If one positive study indicates that a chemical is potentially carcinogenic a MSDS must state that fact. As with other health hazards, the manufacturer or importer need not state the positive finding as a conclusion they agree with, but they must report it nevertheless. Of course, data that indicates the chemical is not carcinogenic can also be included on the MSDS.

This position is consistent with statements made by the Agency in the Fed. Red. 51852, 61854 (Dec.20, 1985).

Thank you for bringing these issues to my attention.

Nov 22, 1985

 
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
 
FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR.,
DIRECTOR
DIRECTORATE OF FIELD OPERATIONS
 
SUBJECT: Revision of Instruction CPL 2-2.38 on Hazard Communication
 

This memorandum is to advise you that paragraph (d)(3) on page A-5 of OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38 is revised. The heading listed as "Nuisance dust" will be deleted from the instruction and the guidance listed under that specific heading should be disregarded.

We have recently been informed that the substances contained in the ACGIH-TLV list at Appendix D are presented only as examples of what could be sources of nuisance dust and that there is no documentation of record at the ACGIH that would define any of the substances listed in Appendix D as nuisance dusts.

Accordingly, where the substances listed in Appendix D of the ACGIH list present no hazard other that that of a simple nuisance dust, OSHA will consider the lack of labels and MSDS sheets to have no direct or immediate relationship to safety and health and characterize such violations as de minimis.