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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.
January 3, 1994
Mr. Jack McCann
Sales & Marketing Manager
International Sensor Technology
17771 Fitch Street
Irvine, CA 92714
Dear Mr. McCann:
This is a response to your letter of August 23, concerning the requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, for article exemption. Please accept my regret in the delay in responding to your inquiry.
You request an article exemption from the HCS for bottles of calibration gas containing a 2 ounce quantity of pure gas such as ammonia, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide that are used to calibrate International Sensor Technology's (IST) gas monitors.
The current definition of an article is as follows: "Article means a manufactured item: (i) which is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture; (ii) which has an end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon its shape or design during end use; and (iii) which does not release, or otherwise result in exposure to a hazardous chemical under normal conditions of use."
As mentioned in the HCS preamble (August 24, 1987), exposures to releases of "very small quantities"; e.g., a trace amount, are not considered to be covered by the HCS. The definition has been interpreted to permit the release of very small quantities of a hazardous chemical and still qualify as an article provided that a physical or health risk is not posed to the employees. Examples of very small quantities would be trace amounts of a hazardous chemical.
Based on the information provided in your letter, the release of hazardous chemicals from the gas calibration bottles, i.e., pure gas contained in IST's P/N 9106(s) could result in employee exposure and do not appear to satisfy the criteria of "very small quantities". Consequent, the standard does apply and the employees would have the right to be informed of these chemical hazards as per the requirements of the HCS.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact us at (202) 219-8036.
Ruth McCully, Director
Office Of Health Compliance Assistance
August 27, 1993
MEMORANDUM FOR: ROGER CLARK, DIRECTOR Directorate of Compliance Programs THROUGH: LEO CAREY, DIRECTOR Office of Field Programs FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR. Regional Administrator SUBJECT: Request for Exemption from the Hazard Communication Standard
Recently, I received the attached correspondence from Jack McCann of International Sensor Technology requesting an exemption from the hazard communication standard for the bottles of calibration gas that are used for their gas monitors. We have provided a partial response, also attached. However, the issue of a complete exemption for the product is best handled by your office since the product is distributed nationwide.
August 16, 1993
U.S. Department of Labor
Attention: John B. Miles, Jr.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
133 Portland Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Reference: Hazard Communications Standard
Dear Mr. Miles:
I had sent you a letter back in December 1992, basically containing the same comments that are provided below. However, my letter was apparently addressed incorrectly and apparently you did not receive it. We request your assistance in connection with the matter discussed below.
Recently National Draeger provided us with a copy of the attached communication between them and yourself, in connection with our recent purchase of some of their detector tubes. International Sensor Technology has a problem similar to the one that National Draeger had.
Our customers need to calibrate the gas monitors which they purchase from us. Our Condensed Product Catalog is enclosed, which describes our gas monitors. As you will note, IST supplies monitors which are used for the detection of over 100 gases. Here in our laboratory IST uses our P/N 9106 bottle of gas, plus our P/N 9905 canister, according to the procedure described in the attachment to this letter. The P/N 9106 is filled by IST with pure gas, under slight pressure. The bottle is very small, about 2 ounces. Even if the bottle were accidentally broken in a small office or other confined area, the total gas concentration in the bottle is so small that the gas concentration resulting in the room would be negligible.
In reviewing the various regulations, IST does not feel that any regulation really fits the shipment of these P/N 9106 bottles. We therefore hope that we may obtain an exemption similar to that obtained by National Draeger. Doing so would benefit industrial users of our gas monitors immeasurably, since it is imperative that they occasionally calibrate the gas monitors that they purchase, and in many cases there is no other practical solution except for IST to supply the 9106/9905. Without proper calibration, the instruments cannot properly protect the customer's workers. As it now stands, we are unable to ship these calibration bottles to a significant number of our customers due to confusion over various restrictive regulations.
We look forward to your comments and reply.
Sales & Marketing Manager