- Standard Number:
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 24, 1991
Mr. William M. Bernhart, CIH
Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie
Attorneys At Law
Two Chatham Center, Tenth Floor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-3499
Dear Mr. Bernhart:
This is in response to your letter of March 28, requesting an interpretation of the scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Laboratory Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450. Your first question asks whether an employer can implement a comprehensive chemical hygiene plan for all laboratory operations regardless of whether they are covered by this standard and be in compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), including the secondary container labeling requirements. The answer is yes, if all requirements of the Laboratory Standard (the comprehensive chemical hygiene plan being just one of the more important requirements) are met, compliance with HCS with respect to coverage of laboratories would also be achieved.
The Laboratory Standard covers only facilities meeting the criteria of "laboratory use" and "laboratory scale" and exclude procedures that are part of a production process. Facilities such as dental laboratories or photographic laboratories are considered production facilities and are covered under the full requirements of HCS. Laboratories, such as quality control laboratories, are covered by the more limited provisions of the HCS (see 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(3)); not all provisions of the HCS are applicable to these types of operations.
In regards to container labeling in laboratories, employers are only required to ensure labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals are not removed or defaced.
Your second question asks whether OSHA would review an employer's compliance from the standpoint of the Laboratory Standard in the above situation, the answer is yes if the Laboratory Standard is the applicable standard. If the HCS is applicable to the laboratory operation (i.e., quality control laboratory), then any citation for violations would be issued under 29 CFR 1910.1200.
We hope we have adequately addressed your concerns. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
March 28, 1991
Ms. Patricia Clark
Director of Compliance Programs
USDOL - OSHA
200 Constitution N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Dear Ms. Clark:
I am writing this letter to you seeking a formal interpretation of the scope of the OSHA Laboratory Standard. Specifically, can an employer implement a comprehensive chemical hygiene plan for all lab operations regardless of whether they are covered by this standard and be in compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard, including the secondary container labeling requirements? In this situation, would OSHA review the employer's compliance from the standpoint of the Lab Standard?
Thank you for your assistance with this matter.
William M. Bernhart, CIH