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.

April 10, 1988

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

Dear Dr. Andree:

This is in response to your letter of March 7, regarding the training requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.

Specifically, your question is "...if an employer has employees who do not understand verbal English (re: receive work task instructions in a language other than English), must that employer provide the required 1910.1200 verbal training information in a language that is comprehensive?"

Paragraph 29 CFR 1910.1200(h) requires employers to provide employees with information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area. If the employees that are required to receive this information and training do not comprehend verbal English, the employer must inform and train these employees in a language which is comprehensible in order to satisfy the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(h).

If we may be of further assistance regarding this matter, feel free to contact us.


John A. Pendergrass
Assistant Secretary