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.

February 20, 1986

 
MEMORANDUM FOR: LINDA R. ANKU
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
 
FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR.,
DIRECTOR
DIRECTORATE OF FIELD OPERATIONS
 
SUBJECT: Some Clarifications of 29 CFR 1910.1006 and .1008
 

This is in response to your memorandum on this subject of January 28, 1986. We understand from a reading of your memorandum and telephone conversations with your staff, that Rohm and Haas Company is conducting some processes involving bis-chloromethyl ether and methyl chloromethyl ether in what they designed to be closed systems. According to 29 CFR 1910.1006(b)(4) and .1008(b)(4), a closed system is one that prevents the release of either of the two above mentioned ethers into regulated areas, nonregulated areas, or the external environment. We can see no way to improve upon this definition.

From telephone conversations held since receiving your memorandum, we understand that there are releases of the ethers due to deteriorating seals and packings. Moreover, releases would be greatly reduced by correcting the condition. Given these facts, it must be concluded that the systems, although designed as closed systems, have developed openings and become open-vessel systems. Rohm and Haas Company is thus allegedly violating 29 CFR 1910.1006(c)(3) and .1008(c)(3) which prohibit the operation of open vessel systems.

These releases of the ethers that are occurring due to the deteriorating seals and packings are incidents that must be reported by Rohm and Haas Company in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1006(f)(2) and .1008(f)(2).