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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 http://www.osha.gov.
June 20, 2016
Mr. James Lee
4520 East West Highway, Ste. 440
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Dear Mr. Lee:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You requested confirmation regarding the responsible party's address and phone number on safety data sheets (SDS) and labels under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard 2012 (HCS 2012). 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 question and our response are below.
Question: When chemicals are imported into the United States, must the responsible party include a U.S. address and U.S. phone number on the SDS and label?
Response: Yes, a U.S. address and U.S. phone number are required on SDSs and labels for hazardous chemicals. The standard defines "importer" as "the first business with employees within the Customs Territory of the United States which receives hazardous chemicals produced in other countries for the purpose of supplying them to distributors or employers within the United States." 29 CFR 1910.1200(c). As OSHA explained in a letter of interpretation to Mr. Michael J. Kelleher, dated January 19, 2000 (copy enclosed), an importer is the "responsible party" for purposes of complying with the HCS. The HCS defines "responsible party" as "someone who can provide additional information on the hazardous chemical and appropriate emergency procedures, if necessary." 29 CFR 1910.1200(c).
As explained in the HCS 2012 compliance directive, CPL 02-02-079,1 the importer, being the first point of contact within the United States, is responsible for the SDS and labeling information on the products being imported to the United States. This information must include the importer's name, U.S. address, and U.S. telephone number. It is preferable that the original foreign manufacturer's name and address be removed from the label to prevent confusion, but it is not required.
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 Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
1 CPL 02-02-079, Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-02-079.pdf