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 29, 1997

Mr. Scott Sylvester
Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.
Post Office Box 11393
Columbia, South Carolina 29221

Dear Mr. Sylvester:

This is in response to your inquiry dated July 23, requesting clarification of the requirements of paragraph (m) in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard (29 CFR 1910.120). Specifically, you requested guidance regarding the applicability of Table H-120.1 - Minimum Illumination Intensities in Foot-Candles to RCRA-permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs). You indicated that the storage areas are located indoors and that these areas typically house racks of 55 gallon drums containing hazardous waste for up to one year.

As outlined in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of the HAZWOPER standard, RCRA-permitted TSDFs are only subject to the requirements in paragraph (p) of the standard. Therefore, the illumination requirements of paragraph (m) are not applicable to your situation. In addition, paragraph (p) of the HAZWOPER standard does not specify similar minimum illumination requirements for RCRA-permitted TSDFs nor do the OSHA standards in general. Nevertheless, OSHA believes that adequate illumination is needed to ensure safe operations in work areas that are occupied by employees. Based on Table H-120.1, an illumination intensity of at least five (5) foot-candles would be appropriate as a guide for indoor storage operations such as the ones described in your letter.

We hope that this information clarifies your concerns regarding the illumination requirements of the HAZWOPER standard. If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs