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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

APR 5 1990

Mr. William N. Christie Environmental Scientist Corporate Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs Boeing Support Services Post Office Box 3707, MS 9A-26 Seattle, Washington 98124-2207

Dear Mr. Christie:

This is in response to your recent letters in January to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concerning the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, 29 CFR 1910.120. The answers to your questions are as follows:

1. First Responder Awareness (FRA) Level are those individuals who "are likely to witness or discover" the release of a hazardous substance and "who have been trained to initiate an emergency response sequence by notifying the proper authorities of the release." It is their duty to notify the proper authorities of the release.

In applying OSHA's standards, it is important to look to the statutory purpose which is to protect workers. The training requirements of both the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HAZCOM) and the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standards must be applied in a way which will provide meaningful and adequate training to the workers to ensure their safety. More employees are likely to be covered by the training requirements of HAZCOM than the population of First Responders under 29 CFR 1910.120. However, it is important that the population of adequately trained First Responders be large enough to provide the necessary protection in the event of an emergency.

2. The requirements for HAZCOM and the Hazardous Waste Operations standard are different. Different items must be covered to meet the training requirements of each. The extent of the overlap of the training requirements will vary depending upon the workplace situation. What is imperative is that the training be adequate, which in some instances may be achieved by consolidated training under both standards and sometimes may not. Again, the training must be tailored to meet the workplace situation.

3. The requirements of the standard, including the training of employees, must be met by the effective date of the standard, March 6, 1990. The final standard was published in March 1989, and the interim standard has been in effect since December 1989.

4. Currently, 29 CFR 1910.120 does not include a formal certification program for trainers. On January 26, 1990, OSHA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Accreditation of Training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations. OSHA did not propose accreditation requirements for Emergency Response, but invited public comment on this issue. See 55 Federal Register 2776 (January 26, 1990) for additional information on the proposal.

What is essential is that employees are properly trained. If certain Boeing staff members are able to competently train other employees, such training would be sufficient.

5. A video-only approach would be sufficient only if it can fully assure employee knowledge and skills. Providing someone to respond to employees' questions after the video presentations could meet this goal.

6. The proposal was published in Federal Register notice of January 26, 1990. The 90-day comment period ends on April 26, 1990.

We hope we have adequately addressed your concerns. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Patricia K. Clark Director Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs