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.

August 5, 1994

Mr. Doc Wallace
Safety Director
Capform, Inc.
1741 Sandy Lake Road
Post Office Box 111130
Carrollton, Texas 75011-1130

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for your letter of May 10, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, requesting clarification on the list of hazardous chemicals as required under 1910.1200(e)(1)(i), referred to in your letter as the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) index sheet.

In response to your inquiry, the employer is responsible for conducting the hazardous chemical inventory and developing the list of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace by using the identity that is referenced on the MSDS and the container label. This identity is often a common name, such as a product or trade name. The HCS also requires that this list be specific to the workplace as a whole or for individual workareas. The rule does not require that you indicate the hazards of each chemical on the list; employees are informed of hazards through MSDSs, labels, and training.

In closing, please bear in mind that the HCS is a performance oriented standard. This means that the employer has the flexibility to develop a hazard communication program that best fits their workplace and also meets the performance requirements of the standard.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact us at (202) 219-8036.


Ruth E. McCully, Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance