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.

November 16, 1994

Ms. Sheila Loftus CRASH Network 5303 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20015

Dear Ms. Loftus:

Thank you for your letter of May 31, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200. In that letter you request clarification for Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) requirements for coatings on automobile parts that will be sanded and cut. In telephone conversations with our staff, you also indicated that automobile parts are being manufactured for the express purpose of being used as replacement parts.

Manufacturers and importers are both required by the HCS to perform a hazard evaluation on the products they manufacture or import. This hazard evaluation is the responsibility of the manufacturer/importer. If, under normal conditions of use, a manufactured item meets OSHA's definition of an "article" in the standard, then the item would be exempted and an MSDS would not be required. If the hazard evaluation indicates that a product does not meet the exemption for articles, an MSDS is to be developed and transmitted to downstream employers.

The standard allows employers such as body shops to rely in good faith on the hazard evaluation performed by the manufacturer or importer. If a body shop employer is concerned because their supplier did not automatically supply an MSDS, OSHA recommends that the body shop employer contact the distributor or manufacturer/importer and verify that the manufacturer/importer has determined that no MSDS is necessary.

You also asked whether "particles in the sheet metal on parts, such as zinc," would need to be listed on the MSDS. Hazards that are associated with the processing of steel materials, such as oxide fume and dusts of zinc are to be considered hazardous by virtue of being included in the "floor" list of chemicals incorporated by reference under paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) of the HCS.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036.


Ruth McCully, Director Office of Health Compliance Assistance