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.

January 6, 1993

Mr. Franklin Brown, Jr.
Executive Vice President
Copper & Brass Servicenter Association, Incorporation
Adams Building, Suite 109
251 West Dekalb Pike
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406

Dear Mr. Franklin:

This is in response to your letter of November 25, 1992 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requesting an evaluation of a "generic" Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for copper/copper alloys prepared by your Association.

According to the inquiry you claim, "the MSDS was developed with the assistance of, and subsequently the approval of, OSHA". OSHA does not approve MSDSs. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200 does, however, require that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported into the United States be evaluated and that information concerning any associated health or physical hazards be transmitted to employees via comprehensive hazard communication programs. The programs are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, MSDSs and employee training.

It is important to note, that the chemical manufacturer and the importer have the primary duty for hazard evaluation. Whoever does the evaluation is responsible for the accuracy of the information. The evaluation must assess the hazards associated with the chemicals including those hazards related to any anticipated or known use which may result in worker exposure.

Any format for a MSDS is acceptable, as long as the information conforms to the requirements of paragraph (g) of 29 CFR 1910.1200. OSHA has published a sample MSDS, form number OSHA 174. This is an optional form which may be used to comply with 29 CFR 1910.1200(g).

Since an MSDS for copper/copper alloys was forwarded to us, it is assumed that the chemical manufacturer has performed a hazard determination on the product and has found it to contain hazardous chemicals. OSHA does not prohibit the manufacturer of the product in question from stating that the product "meets OSHA requirements" if the manufacturer is providing MSDS(s) and hazard information as required under the HCS.

Additionally, information in the MSDS may need to conform to the language contained in other OSHA health standards. Specifically, workplace situations where copper/copper alloy is used. For example, depending on the ingredients contained in the metal and/or alloy and it's manner of use, employee protection may be required, including ventilation controls, personal protective equipment, clothing or gloves, or other applicable precautions. This assessment should be made by the manufacturer as it relates to the downstream use of copper/copper alloy.

I hope this discussion will be useful to you in responding to your Association. Please contact me if you have any further questions.


Roger A. Clark Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs