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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.
December 3, 2018
Mr. David O. Rivers
R&S Compliance Group, LLC
2707 W. Price Ave
Tampa, Florida 33611
Dear Mr. Rivers:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs, regarding labeling requirements under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements herein and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within your original response. Your question is summarized below, followed by our reply.
Background: Your company has an internal communication method to communicate the identity of hazardous chemicals transported on company vehicles from one location to another location within the same building (intra-plant). This method uses words, pictures, and/or product identification number, NFPA, HMIS, or DOT identifiers. The company also uses this communication method when transporting hazardous chemicals from one company property to another company property (inter-company). The internal communications methods are included in the company's written hazardous communication plan, which covers multiple company properties. During transportation, the hazardous chemicals do not leave the custody of trained company personnel.
Question: Do the workplace labeling requirements in 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(6) and 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(7) apply when moving hazardous chemicals intra-plant and/or inter-company?
Reply: Workplace labeling in 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(6) and 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(7) applies to labeling hazardous chemicals that are used within the workplace. These paragraphs provide an alternative to labeling under 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1), labels on shipped containers. Paragraph (f)(6) permits hazardous chemical containers in the workplace to be labeled with product identifiers and words, pictures, symbols, or a combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemicals. 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(6)(ii). OSHA views hazardous chemicals that are transported within the same building intra-plant as being the same workplace, and accordingly, workplace labeling in paragraph (f)(6) would be permitted.
However, as OSHA explained in the Valasek letter (enclosed), any container leaving the workplace is a "shipped container" and must comply with the labeling requirements in paragraph (f)(1). Therefore, hazardous chemicals that are transported between workplaces (i.e., from one company building/property to another company building/property), even if within the same company, must be labeled in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1). Paragraph (f)(7) applies only to labeling individual stationary process containers of hazardous chemicals.
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 ensure 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.
Kimberly Stille, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Enclosure (Interpretation of Pictograms for Labeling Under 1910.1200, Appendix Letter)