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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.
December 14, 2015
Mr. Joe McCarthy
Dell Tech Laboratories
100 Collip Circle, Suite 220
London Ontario, Canada
Dear Mr. McCarthy:
Thank you for your March 25, 2015, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. Your question concerns flammable liquid and solid classifications under the Hazard Communication standard (HCS 2012), 29 CFR 1910.1200. 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 questions and our responses are below.
Background: Dell Tech Laboratories produces a towelette impregnated with a flammable liquid but there is no free flowing liquid in the container; the substrate of the towelette is not flammable.
Question 1: Should the impregnated towelette be classified and labeled as a flammable liquid or as a flammable solid under HCS 2012?
Response: The HCS places responsibility for hazard classification on the manufacturer or importer of the chemical. 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(1), (d)(1). OSHA does not perform hazard classifications for manufacturers, since it is the manufacturer that is most familiar with a product's composition, the normal conditions of use (e.g., packaging, shipping, cutting, burning, heating, or any other processing), and the potential downstream exposures. OSHA also does not require testing. 1910.1200(d)(2). It is up to the manufacturer or importer to determine how best to use the relevant data and information to ascertain the hazard(s) associated with a chemical, and then to compare the information to the classification criteria to determine the appropriate hazard statement(s).
The HCS 2012 classifies a liquid as flammable if it has a flash point of not more than 93° C (199.4° F). See Appendix B of 29 CFR 1910.1200, Physical Criteria, Chapter B.6, Flammable liquid. The classification criteria for flammable liquids are listed in Chapter B.6.2, Classification Criteria. The HCS 2012 classifies a solid as flammable if it is a readily combustible solid, or which may cause or contribute to fire through friction. See Appendix B of 29 CFR 1910.1200, Physical Criteria, Chapter B.7, Flammable solids. The classification criteria for flammable solids are listed in Chapter B.7.2, Classification Criteria. Please also refer to the GHS, version 3, Chapters 2.6 and 2.7 for additional guidance on classifying flammable liquids and flammable solids, respectively. Following these criteria can help determine if your product is a flammable liquid, flammable solid, or both under HCS 2012.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's 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 assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs