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.

August 11, 1995

Pamela B. Markelz
Corporate Environmental, Health &
Safety Director
Rust Environment & Infrastructure
4738 North 40th Street
Sheboygan, WI 53083

Dear Ms. Markelz:

This is in response to your letter dated May 11, 1995 requesting clarification of the OSHA Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (29 CFR 1910.132) requirements of hazard assessment and employee training and the OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard (29 CFR 1910.120) requirements for annual medical surveillance examinations. The responses provided below confirm the verbal response provided to you by MaryAnn Garrahan of OSHA's [Office of Health Enforcement] during your telephone conversation in May, 1995.

Specifically, you indicated that for certain field operations covered under the OSHA HAZWOPER standard your company may have a written health and safety plan that includes a site-specific hazard analysis which identifies PPE requirements for each task to be performed onsite. You further indicated that each written plan is reviewed and signed by a safety specialist to indicate verification/certification and asked whether this existing procedure was sufficient to meet the hazard assessment and employee training requirements of OSHA's PPE standard.

OSHA does not expect employers to duplicate existing efforts to achieve compliance with an OSHA standard. If the signed health and safety plans that cover your company's field operations address each of the required elements of 29 CFR 1910.132(d), then no further documentation is necessary. Your letter did not identify your company's existing training procedures. However, if your company has a training program in place that addresses each of the PPE training elements of 29 CFR 1910.132(f), then similarly, no additional training efforts would be necessary to comply with this standard.

In your letter, you also asked if OSHA allows a grace period for completion of an employee's annual medical surveillance examinations required under 29 CFR 1910.120(f)(3)(i)(B). OSHA requires that medical examinations be provided to covered employees at least once every 12 months. This annual examination need not be performed on the exact anniversary date of the preceding examination, but rather should be provided on a date reasonably close to the anniversary date taking into consideration the company's and the employee's convenience in scheduling. If the annual physical examination is not completed by the anniversary date, the employer should maintain a record in the employee's file indicating why the examination has been delayed and when the examination will be provided.

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

Sincerely,



Ruth McCully, Director
[Office of Health Enforcement]




May 11, 1995

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
[Office of Health Enforcement]
Room N-3647
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Attn: Ms. MaryAnn Garrahan

Re: Clarification of OSHA Rule Governing Personal Protective Equipment and Annual Medical Surveillance Exams

Dear Ms. Garrahan:

Last year OSHA expanded the scope of 29 CFR 1910.132, Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include: 1) conducting hazard assessment to determine type of PPE needed for a job task, 2) a written certification that the assessment was completed and, 3) that employees are trained in the use of the selected PPE. This rule went into effect July 5, 1994.

This letter is being written to request guidance and clarification on this rule. For a manufacturing facility, this requirement is very straight forward, necessary and easily implemented. For consulting work in the environmental and infrastructure areas working with industrial, government, and commercial clients, this rule is not as easily defined. Frequently in our work, we visit our clients offices or plant operations for meetings, site visits, etc. Depending upon the type of work to be performed, we may have a written health and safety plan which would be implemented when field work is started - this plan includes a site-specific hazard assessment and includes PPE protection for each task to be performed on-site. Each plan is reviewed by a Safety Specialist and their signature is placed on the plan as verification/certification. We think that because of the type of services we provide and the programs we have in place, that we meet this rule without further documentation. If this is incorrect could you please clarify how this ruling should be interpreted for an environmental and infrastructure consulting firm.

With regard to Annual Medical Surveillance exams, questions have arisen about the allowable length of time between the completion of the annual exam. Specifically, how much time is allowed for an employee to complete their annual exam? Namely, if their last exam date was March 18, 1995, are they allowed any grace period (i.e., 30 days, etc.) to complete their exam before they are considered in non-compliance with the "annual" requirement? Would the employee still be allowed to participate in hazardous waste site activities until they completed their annual exam, or would they be considered expired and not allowed to participate until the annual exam was completed?

If you have a question regarding any of the above, you can contact me in our Sheboygan office at 414-451-2775. We appreciate your assistance with these questions.

Sincerely,



Rust Environment & Infrastructure
Pamela B. Markelz
Corporate Environmental, Health &
Safety Director


[Corrected 4/15/03]