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.

August 4, 1999

Lawrence A. DeWitt
Manager of Safety Programs
Safety Management Services
Corning Incorporated
Corning, New York 14831

Dear Mr. DeWitt:

This is in response to your June 3, 1999 written request for clarification of the requirements at 29 CFR 1910.1018(d)(1), (d)(2), and (g)(2) of the inorganic arsenic standard promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to 29 CFR 1910.1018(d)(1):

By October 1, 1978 or within 60 days after the introduction of inorganic arsenic into the workplace, every employer who is required to establish a regulated area in his workplaces shall report in writing to the OSHA area office for each such workplace:

(d)(1)(i)   The address of each such workplace;
(d)(1)(ii)  The approximate number of employees who will be working in regulated areas; and
(d)(1)(iii) A brief summary of the operations creating the exposure and the actions which the employer intends to take to reduce exposures.

You relate that your company has used arsenic in glass compositions since well before August 1, 1978. None of your employees were exposed above the inorganic arsenic permissible exposure limit (PEL) on October 1, 1978. Infrequently since 1978 you have had some employee exposure monitoring results that have exceeded the PEL.

You ask if it is a requirement that each time you have employee exposures above the PEL, infrequently as it may be, that you notify the OSHA area office as indicated in 29 CFR 1910.1018(d)(1) and, in addition, prepare a compliance plan as indicated in 29 CFR 1910.1018(g)(2). Yes, you must do that each time you have employee exposures above the PEL. We state that assuming that each of these times there is a new set of circumstances causing employee exposures to exceed the PEL. The first time you were required to notify the area office was within 60 days after you first had employees exposed above the inorganic arsenic PEL.

You request that we clarify the meaning of the term "significant change" as it is used in 29 CFR 1910.1018(d)(2). The sentence in which the term is found states,

Whenever there has been a significant change in the information required by paragraph (d)(1) of this section the employer shall report the changes in writing within 60 days to the OSHA area office.

Any change in the address is a significant change in the information required by 29 CFR 1910.1018 (d)(1)(i). A greater than a 25% increase or decrease in the number of employees working in the regulated area is a significant change in the information required by 29 CFR 1910.1018(d)(1)(ii). A change in the type or number of operations creating exposure to inorganic arsenic or in the intended actions for reducing the exposure is a significant change in information required by 29 CFR 1910.1018 (d)(1)(iii).

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. Subsequent rulemaking could also affect such guidance. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact OSHA's Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190.


Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs