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.

May 11, 1988

Mr. Frank L. Pellegrini
Suite 400 Chouteau Center
133 South Eleventh Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your letter of January 6, to Mr. Denver Holt, Area Director or our St. Louis Area Office, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) August 24, 1987, expanded rule for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

Specifically you asked "whether a contractor's association can train union hall employees and qualify for training under the hazard communication rule," or "whether each contractor must train each employee coming to them from a union hall, irrespective or the associations." As you mentioned in your letter each employer is responsible for training under the Hazard Communication Standard. The standard, however, does not require that each new employee be trained.

The HCS is a performance-oriented standard and the goal of the training provisions is to ensure that employees are trained according to those provisions. It is OSHA's position, therefore, that training can be provided by the current employer, a past employer, an employee union, or any other entity. From an enforcement standpoint OSHA field personnel will evaluate an employer's compliance with the training and information provisions of the HCS. If it is determined that an employee has not received training or is not adequately trained the current employer will be held responsible regardless of who trained that particular employee. An employer, therefore, has a responsibility when hiring a new employee, who has been previously trained by someone other than the current employer to evaluate the employee's level of knowledge against the training and information requirements of the standard.

If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs