- Standard Number:
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 2, 2001
Mr. Seymour G. Epstein
900 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. Epstein:
Thank you for your May 29 letter to Herbert Washington, former Acting Director of the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Compliance Programs (DCP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within your original correspondence. You requested our concurrence with the use of polyethylene containers or bags, fiber drums, and foil pouches for storage of aluminum paste. You state that these types of containers meet the conditions outlined in OSHA Directive, STD 1-5.14A — U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Exemption Which Allows Shipment of Combustible and Flammable Liquids in Polyethylene, dated October 24, 1980. Your paraphrased scenario, question, and our response follow.
Scenario: Aluminum paste is a liquid because it has a fluidity greater than that of 300 penetration asphalt when tested in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Test for penetration for Bituminous Materials, D-5-65, which is incorporated by reference in 1910.6. Aluminum paste is a Class II (Combustible) liquid as it has a flashpoint at or above 100º F (37.8º C) and below 140º F (60º C).
Question: Do you concur with our assessment that we can use polyethylene drums and bags, fiber drums, and foil pouches to store aluminum paste?
Response: OSHA has determined that it is a de minimis violation1 to store combustible and flammable liquids in plastic containers if the containers meet the conditions set forth in section F of the STD 1-5.14A. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30, 2000 edition, fiber drums that meet the following criteria are acceptable:
- Meet the requirements of Item 296 of the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) or rule 51 of the Uniform Freight Classification (UFC) for Types 2A, 3A, 3B-H, 3B-L, or 4A; and
- Meet the requirements of and contain liquid products authorized either by Chapter I, 49 CFR (U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations) or by U.S. Department of Transportation exemption.
With regard to using polyethylene bags and foil pouches for the storage of aluminum paste, a Class II combustible liquid, however, you will need to seek approval from a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), unless these types of bags and foil pouches have been approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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 apprized of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the [Office of General Industry Enforcement] at
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
cc: Regional Administrator, Region II
1 Under the de minimis policy, compliance with the requirements of current applicable industry consensus standards, such as the standards published by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is accepted as compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), if the consensus standards provide for equal or greater personnel protection than corresponding OSHA standards. A de minimis violation is not cited and does not need to be abated. [ back to text ]