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.

September 16, 1986

The Honorable Dan Glickman
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Court House Box 403 - Room 224
Wichita, Kanssas 67201

Dear Congressman Glickman:

Thank you for your letter, dated August 18 and addressed to Ms. Ruth Knight of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wherein you forwarded a communication which you had received from Mr. Tom Stanion, President of Stanion Wholesale Electric Company of Pratt, Kansas. Mr. Stanion expressed his strong opposition to the Hazard Communication Standard as it applies to wholesalers and distributors of hazardous chemicals.

Specifically, he objected to the requirement of the Standard that labels be provided for every container of hazardous chemicals leaving the employer's premises. These labels must identify the chemical, warn of its hazards, and provide the name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.

The Hazard Communication Standard does indeed establish labeling requirements for shipped containers as well as for inplant containers. Both must contain (1) the identity of hazardous chemical[s] and (2) appropriate hazard warnings. In addition, labels on shipped containers must include the name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.

In establishing this requirement the Agency intended that all employees, particularly those who do not work for the companies manufacturing the hazardous chemicals and who, consequently, may not have a training program which would bring these hazards to their attention, be made aware of the hazardous effects of the chemicals they work with. The label also provides a link to the material safety data sheet involved. Since non-covered employees (that is, employees in industries other than manufacturing) will generally not be provided with material safety data sheets, the requirement for appropriate hazard warnings on the label becomes the most useful information element for this group of workers and information element for this group of workers and informs them and their employers of the source of additional information, should they desire to have it.

If a wholesaler/distributor receives containers from a manufacturer which do not have the appropriate labels, the wholesaler/distributor is under no obligation actually to create labels. Rather, since the shipping manufacturer is in violation of the requirements, the wholesaler/distributor is required only to contact the manufacturer immediately and request that the labels be provided for these containers and that all future shipments be properly labeled. Since the wholesaler/distributor does not repackage these materials, the original label should remain affixed to the container.

I hope that this response adequately addresses Mr. Stanion's concerns. Please feel free to contact us again, if we can be of further assistance.


John A. Pendergrass
Assistant Secretary

August 18, 1986

Ruth Knight
Chief of Legislation
Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room N-3623
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Ms. Knight:

Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter I received from Mr. Tom Stanion, President of Stanion Wholesale Electric Company of Pratt, Kansas, regarding his opposition to an OSHA regulation concerning Hazard Communications Standards.

Any information you can provide me which may be of benefit to Mr. Stanion would be very much appreciated. Please direct your response, as well as any questions you may have, to the attention of Mr. Patrick Garcia of my Wichita, Kansas office who is assisting me in the is matter.

With best regard,

Member of Congress
Pratt, Kansas

July 25, 1986

Representative Dan Glickman
2435 Rayburn House O.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Glickman:

We strongly object to the latest OSHA Hazard, Communications Standards. The regulation states that, "All hazardous chemicals that leave the place of business of the wholesaler-distributor must carry the following label. This label must contain at least the following information: 1. Identify the hazardous chemical; 2. Appropriate hazardous warnings; and 3. Name and address of chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party."

Wholesaler-distributors are not packagers or even repackagers of chemical equipment. Therefore, it's impossible for us to accurately comply with the regulations as it is stated. We believe that the regulation should be amended to exclude wholesaler-distributors, unless they package bulk chemicals.

Sincerely yours,


Tom Stanion