- 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 http://www.osha.gov.
September 1, 1992
Ms. Deborah M. Atwood
American Meat Institute
P.O. Box 3556
Washington, D.C. 20007
Dear Ms. Atwood:
When you met with a member of my staff, Raymond Donnelly, Director, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance, at the May 27, American Meat Institute Safety Director's meeting in Cincinnati, he agreed to provide written answers to several questions concerning OSHA's standards, especially 29 CFR 1910.120, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, 29 CFR 1910.1030, Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens and 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals.
Outlined below are the questions and answers related to 1910.120, .1030, and .119.
Question 1: How much training is required for employees
working on refrigeration systems (which may contain ammonia), with particular emphasis on Section Q of the 1910.120 regulation?
Reply: In the case of refrigeration system which use anhydrous ammonia as a cooling agent, the emergency response provisions (1910.120(q) apply if there is a potential for a release of ammonia which could result in an emergency situation. All employees who would be expected to participate in an emergency response must be trained in accordance with subparagraph (q)(6)(i) through (v), which present detailed descriptions of various levels of employee involvement in emergency response activities and the knowledge and training required for each level.
If there is no potential for an emergency situation, then 1910.120(q) would not apply. Minor releases which do not require immediate attention and which could be safely controlled or stabilized by employees working in the immediate release area (or by maintenance staff) without need of a coordinated response are not considered emergency incidents and therefore do not require employees to be trained under paragraph (q).
Likewise, routine equipment maintenance activities which do not involve the potential for an emergency release are not covered by the training requirements. Such employees, however, would have to be trained based on requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200) and receive other appropriate training necessary for the safe performance of their tasks.
Question 2: Are 8, 24, or 40 hours required for training?
Reply: The number of OSHA-mandated training hours employees must receive under 1910.120 will be determined by the level of employee involvement as an emergency responder. An OSHA article, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response: A Closeup Look at Training, gives a detailed explanation of these training requirements. A copy of the article is enclosed for your information.
Question 3: What is OSHA's citation experience with
1910.120 in the meat industry and which sections of .120 have been cited most often?
Reply: An inspection history printout for both Federal and State Plan State OSHA inspections for the meat industry in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) numbers 2011, 2013, and 2015, covering the period of October 1, 1989 through May 31, 1992, revealed that fifty-three (53) inspections were conducted resulting in 160 violations of 1910.120. A breakout of the violations showed there were 130 "serious", 19 "other", 8 "willful", 2 "repeated" and 1 "failure-to-abate" violations, with total proposed penalties of $168,412. Paragraphs (q)(1), (2) and (6), Emergency Response Plans and Training, were the most frequently cited paragraphs of the standard.
Questlon 4: Does the janitorial staff's removal of
sanitary napkins from washrooms constitute handling of medical waste, and does the bloodborne standard apply in this situation and in situations where the use of contractor employees are involved?
Reply: OSHA does not generally consider discarded feminine hygiene products used to absorb menstrual flow to fall within the definition of regulated waste, as defined by 1910.1030. OSHA expects the waste containers into which these products are discarded to be lined in such a way as to protect employees from physical contact with the contents. 1910.1030 defines regulated waste as liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), contaminated items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed, items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling, contaminated sharps, and pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.
With respect to contract employees, OSHA considers personnel providers (contractors), which send their own employees to work at other facilities, to be employers whose employees may be exposed to hazards. Since the contractor maintains a continuing relationship with its employees, but another employer (client employer) creates and controls the hazards, there is a shared responsibility for assuring that employees are protected from workplace hazards. The client employer has the primary responsibility for such protection, but the contractor, likewise, has a responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
In the context of 1910.1030, the contractor employer would be expected to provide generic training in universal precautions, to ensure that employees are provided with the required vaccinations, and that proper follow-up evaluation is provided following an exposure incident. Client employers would normally provide site-specific training and personal protective equipment and would have the primary responsibility to control situations involving potential exposure to hazards. The client, of course, may specify what qualifications are required for supplied personnel, including vaccinations. It is certainly in the interest of both employers to ensure that all steps required under the standard have been taken to ensure a safe and healthful workplace for the employees.
Meatpackers, like other employers subject to the provisions of OSHA's general industry standards, are responsible for determining applicable requirements of the standard to protect employees. Employees designated to perform first aid, for example, having occupational exposure, would be covered by the standard.
Question 5: Are first aid providers, acting in a "good
samaritan" manner and not specifically assigned first aid duties, covered by the requirements of 1910.1030?
Reply: "Good samaritan" deeds are not covered by the standard. Only an employee trained in first aid and designated by the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of his/her job duties, is covered by the requirements of the standard, including post-exposure incident follow-up, training and personal protective equipment.
OSHA has recently announced that under certain circumstances it will allow employers to offer hepatitis B vaccinations to certain employees after they have rendered first aid rather than offering pre-exposure vaccinations, and will consider it a de minimis violation if employees who administer first aid as a collateral duty to their routine work assignment are not offered the hepatitis B vaccination until they give aid involving blood or other potentially infectious materials. A copy of the announcement is enclosed for your information.
Supervisors who are designated as persons responsible for carrying injured (bloody) employees to first aid centers or other health care facilities, for example, are not considered performing "good samaritan" acts, and thus should be provided the protection afforded by the standard. The employer is responsible for determining which employees have occupational exposure.
Question 6: Can an employer, who keeps threshold
quantities of highly hazardous chemicals listed in Appendix A to 1910.119, such as ammonia, separated into smaller lots and used and stored in separate systems or locations, be exempt from the requirements of the Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard?
Reply: From a storage standpoint, the 1910.119 standard would not apply to an employer who segregates his inventory by dispersing storage of highly hazardous chemicals, such as ammonia, in amounts which do not exceed the threshold quantity so that a release from one storage area would not cause a release from others around the workplace. Additionally, an employer could reduce his on-site inventory of highly hazardous chemicals by ordering more frequent, smaller shipments so that they do not exceed the threshold quantities set forth in the PSM Standard.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs