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 http://www.osha.gov.

November 23, 2015

Mr. Robert Soral
Product Regulatory Affairs Director
Oil-Dri Corporation of America
410 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Dear Mr. Soral:

Thank you for your May 18, 2015, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You requested an interpretation of the labeling requirements in OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), 29 CFR 1910.1200, as it applies to products manufactured for export only. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements herein, and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your paraphrased statement and question are presented below, followed by our response.

Statement: Oil-Dri Corporation of America manufactures a select number of products used in the livestock feed industry and sold for export only. These products are enterosorbents, which absorb and bind naturally-occurring mycotoxins that exist in animal feed. The product is manufactured by crushing, drying and grinding clay to create a finer particle. The potential hazard in these products is the presence of 0.006% - 0.01% of respirable silica depending upon the type of clay, and non-respirable silica which is present in amounts above 0.1%. The product is packaged into 50-lb. reinforced paper bags, placed onto pallets and shrink-wrapped. The pallets are loaded into ISO-certified shipping containers, and then move directly to dock loading areas at various US ports where they are loaded onto cargo ships for overseas transport.

Once the product leaves the manufacturing facility, because of the manner in which the products are packaged and transported, there is no exposure under normal conditions of use, nor in a foreseeable emergency situation.

In addition, all of the employees engaged in the manufacturing, packaging, and the loading of trucks are trained in compliance with the requirements of HCS 2012. The only U.S. employees who come into contact with the products are the trucking and wharf employees. However, at this point of contact, the products are shrink-wrapped products and in sealed ISO-certified containers. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the products accompany the cargo containers from the manufacturer's facility to the wharf.

Question: Are packages of Oil-Dri's sorbent products, shipped for export only to non-U.S. destinations, required to be labeled in accordance with HCS 2012?

Response: Paragraph 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1) requires manufacturers (and importers and distributors) to ensure that each shipped container leaving the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked in accordance with paragraphs (f)(1)(i)-(vi). OSHA recognizes that some containers shipped to destinations outside of the U.S. are sealed and sent directly overseas with no anticipated exposures to workers downstream (i.e. , U.S. warehouse and dock workers) during normal conditions of handling. In these situations, as an accommodation when working with sealed containers of hazardous chemicals that are packaged for direct shipment to destinations outside of the U.S. , OSHA would allow the following labeling schemes:

  1. If sealed containers of hazardous chemicals are prepared for direct shipment to a destination outside of the U.S., and are placed inside of a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or other similarly-approved shipping container, the manufacturer can label the sealed containers for the destination country. In these cases, there is no requirement to label each immediate container with an HCS 2012 label. However, an HCS 2012 label compliant with 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1) is required on the outside of the shipping container or attached to the accompanying shipping papers or bill of lading. This accommodation will provide basic hazard information to downstream workers such as warehouse or dock workers who may be exposed in case of a spill, release, or other emergency. The shipping container must also be labeled in accordance with DOT and/or International Maritime Organization (IMO) labeling regulations or requirements during shipping.
  2. If sealed containers of hazardous chemicals are prepared for direct shipment to a destination outside of the U.S., but are temporarily stored at a manufacturer's on-site warehouse, the manufacturer must label the external packaging (i.e., shipping container) with workplace (in-house) labeling in accordance with § 1910.1200(f)(6) while the containers remain in the warehouse, in addition to the requirements described above in labeling scheme (1).
  3. If sealed containers of hazardous chemicals are prepared for direct shipment to a destination outside of the U.S., but are temporarily stored at an off-site manufacturer's or third party warehouse, the HCS requirements of § 1910.1200(b)(4) would apply, in addition to the requirements described above in labeling scheme (1). The manufacturer must provide a safety data sheet to the third-party employer.

In all situations, employers shall ensure that safety data sheets are maintained, available upon request, and readily accessible to employees during each work shift. See 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(g)(8). Employers must also provide information and training to employees to protect them in the event of a spill or leak of a hazardous chemical from a sealed container. See 29 CFR § 1910.1200(h)(1).

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 letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To ensure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.

Sincerely,

 

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

cc: Kathryn McMahon, Conn Maciel Carey PLLC