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.

June 5, 1989

Mr. Dennis P. Johnson
Staff Industrial Hygienist
Kerr-McGee Corporation
Kerr-McGee Center
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125

Dear Mr. Johnson:

This is in response to your letter of November 28, 1988, and a follow-up to your telephone conversation with Mrs. Jennifer Courtney of my staff, in which you requested an interpretation of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, as it relates to laboratories and our requirements with respect to material safety data sheets (MSDS). Please accept my apology for the delay in this written response.

The HCS addresses laboratories in a more limited fashion than it does for other types of establishments. An employer is only required to maintain those MSDS which the supplier sends. There is no affirmative obligation for a laboratory to request or otherwise procure data sheets.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions.


Patricia K. Clark, Acting Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs