- 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 https://www.osha.gov.
October 19, 1994
Dr. Alan L. Engelberg
Medical Director, Agricultural Group
of Monsanto and the NutraSweet Company
800 N. Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63167
Dear Dr. Engelberg:
This is in response to your letters of August 1, and September 10, 1993, concerning the medical surveillance provision of the Cadmium standard (29 CFR 1910.1027) for previously exposed employees. We sincerely apologize for the delay in our response.
Your specific concern in the September 1993 letter was stated as: ". . . the requirement to test employees formerly exposed to cadmium for two consecutive years, in the context that in at least one of your plants, some of these employees will be retiring before the second year of testing; would it be necessary to bring these retirees back to the plant for testing?" The employer is not required to bring those retirees back for testing. Except for recordkeeping provisions, the employer's responsibility under the standard does not extend beyond the employee's period of employment. The employer's obligation is to provide protection to those workers who are presently in their employ. Retirement is one form of termination of employment. Once that employee terminates employment, the employer's only remaining obligation is the retention of employee exposure and medical records as required under the cadmium standard at 1910.1027(n)(1) and 1926.1027(n)(3), respectively.
In addition, you requested affirmation of additional guidance concerning the provision of medical surveillance benefits to previously exposed employees provided to you by Lewis Ligon, of the [Office of Health Enforcement] during your telephone conversation of September 9, 1993. The intent of section 1910.1027(l)(1)(i)(B) is to provide medical surveillance benefits to previously exposed employees who have occupational exposure to cadmium. In the preamble to the standard (57 FR 42334), an explanation of the specific provision for previously exposed employees reads as follows:
OSHA relies in this final standard on a specific provision requiring the employer to also provide medical surveillance to certain employees who prior to this standard were exposed to cadmium. This provision triggers medical surveillance independently of the current action level. Thus, in addition to having to provide medical surveillance to certain employees who are currently exposed, employers are also required to provide medical surveillance to employees who were or might have been previously exposed at or above the action level by the current employer for a specified period of time, regardless of whether they are currently exposed at or above the action level.
This means that if permanent abatement of the cadmium hazard has taken place such that there is no measurable occupational exposure to cadmium for previously exposed employees, then the medical surveillance requirements of the standard do not apply. On the other hand, if the previously exposed employees are still at the same workplace where the past cadmium exposure occurred, and are experiencing measurable occupational exposures to cadmium below the action level, then the employer's obligation to provide medical surveillance under paragraph 1910.1027(l)(1)(i)(B) is maintained.
As you may know the Cadmium standard applies to all occupational exposures to cadmium and cadmium compounds in all forms. Under the standard, occupational exposure is defined as an employee's exposure to airborne cadmium in the workplace that is independent of the employee's use of respiratory protective equipment.
If you have additional questions, please contact the [Office of Health Enforcement (202) 693-2190]. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you and hope this response meets your needs.
Joseph A. Dear
August 1, 1994
Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Mr. Dear:
I need your assistance in getting a final opinion from your Office of Compliance Assistance on an issue that I brought to that office nearly a year ago.
The issue had to do with the interpretation of the Cadmium Standard. Attached are copies of letters and a fax cover sheet that I have sent to OSHA since September 1993. The last contact I had was in mid-May 1994 by telephone with a Mr. Lewis Ligon of that Office, who said I would be receiving a response "soon." My sense is that Mr. Ligon was not the person actually drafting the response, but that he would transmit it to me. I have not received anything yet.
I thank you for your assistance.
Alan L. Engelberg, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Director for the Agricultural Group of Monsanto