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.

May 1, 1995

Ms. Lori L. Herron
Risk Management Department
Frank's Nursery & Crafts
6501 East Nevada
Detroit, Michigan 48234

Dear Ms. Herron:

This letter is a response to your letter of January 27, regarding the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for spill containment mats under retail displays of lawn and garden chemicals within your stores. In a subsequent telephone conversation you stated that your employees are trained to handle small spills of a single product in accordance with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for that product, using spill kits available in your stores. You also stated that large spills and mixed chemical spills are handled by an outside contractor and asked whether your stores could eliminate spill containment mats now used under in-store displays of pesticides, fertilizers, pool chemicals, and similar products.

Federal OSHA does not specifically require the use of spill containment mats in front of the shelving displaying chemicals for sale in stores. We understand you have addressed pertinent emergency response requirements through your program for small incidental as well as large chemical spills.

We hope this response provides useful clarification. If you have additional questions, please contact [the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].


Ruth McCully, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

January 27, 1995

200 Constitutional Avenue
Room N-36377
Washington, DC 20210


Dear Sirs:

I am requesting a formal opinion on whether or not spill mats are an OSHA requirement in the following scenario:

Frank's Nursery & Crafts, Inc., is a retailer that sells crafts, lawn & garden products and pet supplies in approximately 17 states east of the Mississippi. We are not a manufacturer. During certain times of the year, we do sell common lawn and garden chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and pool chemicals. The liquid chemicals that Frank's sells are packaged in plastic containers usually containing not more than a gallon of 1 product each.

Frank's Nursery & Crafts, Inc., does have a Hazardous Communication program in place and spill kits are located at each facility.

What I am questioning is whether or not there is a Federal OSHA regulation that would require the placement of spill containment mats in front of the shelving displaying chemicals for sale in our stores.

Thank you for your courtesy.


Lori L. Herron
Risk Management Department

[Corrected 4/18/03]