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.

May 28, 1993

Mr. Robert F. Brooks, Sr.
507 Wilson Street
Chester, Pennsylvania 19013

Dear Mr. Brooks:

This is in response to your letter of March 4, addressed to the Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health, in which you sought clarification of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) 29 CFR 1910.119 standard, Process Safety Management (PSM) of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, as it pertains to the Refresher Training requirements. Your letter was forwarded to this office for response. We apologize for the delay in responding.

In your letter, you asked if it was the intent of the standard that persons receiving "Refresher Training" be subject to termination based wholly or partially on the results of tests administered after the training.

The refresher training requirements at 1910.119(g)(2) were developed to ensure that employees understand and adhere to the current operating procedures of the processes involving threshold or greater quantities of highly hazardous chemicals. OSHA believes that, due to wide variations in complexity of operations, and to the differences in experience and skill levels of employees, employers need to use appropriate methods, such as written tests, oral examinations, simulation exercises, etc., to ensure that employees understand the training they have received. OSHA is not authorized to intervene in labor-management relations that could affect employee job retention in relation to the employer's effort to assure compliance with the standard.

While we find it regrettable that anyone would lose his or her job as a result of failing a single test, we believe that it is essential that only those who have demonstrated the ability to do their jobs safely be allowed to work in jobs affecting hazardous processes. This requirement puts an equal burden of diligence on both employers and employees.

I am enclosing a copy of the standard for your information. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.


Raymond Donnelly, Director
Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance