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.

February 5, 1999

Mr. Ralph Diaz
Air Liquide America Corporation
3602 West 11th Street
Houston, TX 77008

Dear Mr. Diaz:

This is in response to your letter dated November 13, 1998, addressed to Mr. John Miles, Dallas Regional Administrator. Your letter was forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) National Office for response. You have requested that we provide a review of your proposal that concerns a provision in OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard, CFR 1910.134.

Specifically, your proposal states that you will supply to the customers who purchase your breathing air (both breathing air and nitrogen/oxygen mixed cylinders) a "generic type" certificate of analysis on an annual basis or when there is a change in the specification. You have asked if this is in compliance with the intent of the OSHA requirement.

The proposal does not meet the OSHA standard. The provision in the standard, 1910.134(i)(4)(ii) intends that the employers obtain from the supplier a statement that the air meets the requirement for Grade D breathing air. The certificate of analysis must accompanying all purchased cylinders of breathing air. This requirement is present as every time a manufacturer mixes nitrogen and oxygen to produce breathing air there is the potential for changes to occur. The certificate gives the employer the assurance that the breathing air being used by employees is safe. This provision in the standard is very detailed, and does not give the option of developing a generic certificate that is issued annually. However, OSHA has said that the supplier could provide one certificate for a "lot" or "batch" of cylinders that were filled the same day, using the same source.

We hope this answers all of your concerns. If you have further questions, please free feel to call OSHA's Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190.


Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs