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.

November 17, 1994

Mr. Martin Wikstrom Manager,
Government Affairs American Wood Preservers Institute
Tysons International Building, Suite 150
Vienna, VA 22182

Dear Mr. Wikstrom:

Thank you for your letter of August 1, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, recently published in the Federal Register on February 9, 1994.

You requested an interpretation for treated wood products in regards to paragraphs 1910.1200(f)(2)(i)-(iii) of the HCS. It is OSHA's understanding that treated lumber is not completely cured at the time of its initial distribution. Therefore, the hazardous chemical will, to a varying degree, leach out of the treated lumber and be available for exposure to employees.

Based on the information that you have provided us, OSHA concludes that labels must be provided on each shipment of treated wood. Please bear in mind that ultimate compliance with the OSHA regulations will be determined by the local OSHA Area Office serving your geographical area. The standard's requirement is stated specifically in paragraph 1910.1200(f)(2)(iii), which is provided below:

"(iii) This exception to requiring labels on every container of hazardous chemicals is only for solid material itself, and does not apply to hazardous chemicals used in conjunction with, or known to be present with the material and to which employees handling the items in transit may be exposed (for example, cutting fluids or pesticides in grains)."

The HCS necessitates a "downstream flow of information" which means that producers of hazardous chemicals have the primary responsibility for generating and disseminating information, while the users must obtain the information and transmit it to their employees.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please contact the [Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].


Ruth E. McCully, Director
[Office of Health Enforcement]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]