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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.
March 23, 2017
Mr. Bo Blankfield
Corporate Technical Director
C&G Containers, Inc.
152 Easy Street
Lafayette, LA 70506
Dear Mr. Blankfield:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. Your question concerns labeling requirements 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 question and our response are below.
Background: The company uses 40 mL borosilicate glass vials to collect samples of water, wastewater, and other aqueous media. A small amount of a known hazardous chemical is added to each vial to inhibit bacterial growth or degradation of the aqueous sample collected. C&G has found it feasible to label the vials according to the HCS 2012 requirements, but would like to decrease the amount of information displayed on its label.
Question: Can 40 mL containers use a label that includes only the product identifier, signal word, pictogram, phone number, and the statement "full GHS compliant labeling located on the outer packaging"?
Response: 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1) requires the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals leaving the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: (1) a product identifier; (2) signal word; (3) hazard statement(s); (4) pictogram(s); (5) precautionary statement(s); and (6) the name, address, and telephone number of the responsible party. When containers are so small that it is infeasible to include all of the HCS 2012 label elements on the label, and when the use of pull-out labels, fold-back labels, tags, or other methods of labeling are not feasible, OSHA will allow a practical accommodation for labeling. As explained in previous letters of interpretation (see Robert Watters, June 4, 2013 and Bruntrager, Sept 20, 2013), the practical accommodation requires the immediate container label to include, at a minimum: (1) a product identifier; (2) signal word; (3) pictogram(s); (4) manufacturer’s name and phone number; and (5) a statement that the full label information for the chemical is provided on the outside package.
This alternative is only available if it is in fact infeasible for the manufacturer to provide full label information on the pull-out label, fold-back label, tag, or other method of labeling. Because it is feasible to include all of the required information on the 40 mL container label, it is therefore not acceptable to use the accommodation for small packages.
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 http://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