Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

May 17, 1988



Office of Training and Education
Directorate of Technical Support
Office of Occupational Medicine
SUBJECT: Cyanide Antidote Kits


This memo is in response to your correspondence of April 27, regarding updated information on Cyanide Antidote Kits since my August, 1986 letter.

As per my 1986 memo, Amyl Nitrite continues to require a physician's prescription and the administration of this drug in an emergency situation by the designated first aide responder is the medically accepted initial response. According to current literature, hydroxy cobalamine has had limited use as an alternative intravenous medication to the widely accepted sodium nitrite protocol.

I had my staff contact Lloyd C. Warner, PhD from Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturers of the commercially available Cyanide Emergency Kit, to determine if any new products or methods are being developed to address cyanide poisoning. Dr. Warner informed us that there were no future plans to alter the emergency kit or develop alternative antidotes.

This information should update you on Cyanide Antidote Kits.

April 27, 1988





MEMORANDUM FOR: Ralph Yodaiken, Director
Office of Occupational Medicine
THROUGH: Edward Baier, Director
Directorate of Technical Support
FROM: Harvey Harris, Director
Office of Training and Education
SUBJECT: Cyanide Antidote Kits


We have reviewed your memo of August 8, 1986, regarding the use of Cyanide Antidote Kits. We are requesting any new information since the August, 1986 memo.

Specifically, we request guidance on the ability to use amyl nitrite (now a prescription drug), training requirements to administer such a drug, any acceptable alternatives to amyl nitrite such as hydroxy cobalamine, and guidance on its use.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.