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 24, 1988

Mr. Richard F. Andree
Executive Vice President
Safety & Health Management
Consultants, Inc.
161 William Street
New York, New York 10038

Dear Mr. Andree:

This is in response to your letter of February 1, regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Specifically your question is, must an employer provide materials, pursuant to the Hazard Communication Standard, in a language other than English? Paragraph 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(9) states:

(9) The employer shall ensure that labels or other forms of warning are legible, in English, prominently displayed on the container, or readily available in the work area throughout each work shift. Employers having employees who speak other languages may add the information in their language to the material presented, as long as the information is presented in English as well.

Thus, the employer may add information on the labels in a language other than English, but there is no requirement that they do so.

If I may be of further assistance regarding this matter, feel free to contact me.


John A. Pendergrass
Assistant Secretary