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 6, 1995

Jennifer Shishido, Administrator
Hawaii Department of Labor and
Industrial Relations
Occupational Safety and Health Division 830 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Dear Ms. Shishido:

This is in response to your letter requesting clarification of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) reference to welding rods in a March 21, Memorandum to Regional Administrators from OSHA's Directorate of Compliance Programs (DCP). The Memorandum was issued to provide guidance on the type of documentation that should accompany Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) citations for exposures to materials that could be covered under the consumer product or article exemptions of the HCS. Your specific question was whether OSHA considered welding rods to be either consumer products or articles.

Welding rods are solid, manufactured items that are formed to a specific shape. When maintained in this manufactured shape, welding rods do not release more than minute or trace quantities of hazardous chemicals, and therefore, could appear to be articles exempt from the HCS. Under normal conditions of use, however, welding rods emit significant quantities of metal fumes and other hazardous chemicals and do not meet the HCS article exemption.

The March 21, Memorandum, outlines the required documentation needed to support HCS citations for items, such as welding rods, that could appear to meet the HCS article exemption. In your letter, you state that, when issuing HCS citations, your staff currently identifies the specific hazardous chemical that a particular welding rod may emit. In accordance with the guidance on page 3 of the March 21, Memorandum, Federal OSHA requires that your compliance officers must also:

1. Identify the product name and the concentration of the hazardous chemical(s) contained in the rod or its coating, and indicate if the hazardous chemical(s) was included on the employer's hazardous chemical inventory;

2. Document the activities or operations that resulted in employee exposure to the hazardous chemical(s) contained in the item and the duration of use; and

3. Where available, attach the MSDS for the cited product.

We hope this response provides the clarification you need. If you have further questions, please contact OSHA's Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202)219-8036.


Ruth E. McCully, Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance

May 12, 1995

Mr. John B. Miles Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Miles:

Subject: Hazard Communication Standard: Documentation of Citations Related to the Exposure to Hazardous Substances and Consumer Products.

The March 21, 1995 memo of the above subject discusses documentation related to exposure to both consumer products and articles. The State of Hawaii agrees that dishwashing liquids and some lubricating oils are consumer products. We also agree that bricks and rebar, in most cases, are articles; but we do not understand the context of including "welding rods" within the second paragraph.

Does OSHA consider welding rods to be consumer products or articles? If so, please include the rationale for its inclusion.

Regardless of the category, Hawaii does identify the specific hazardous chemical that is emitted by the particular welding rod under normal conditions of use. However, we do not feel a need to compare it to "normal or expected use by a consumer."

We appreciate and welcome the clarification and attempt of standardization of citation documentation. Thank you for the continuing fine work you and your staff have done.


Jennifer Shishido