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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200

July 17, 1990

Ronald V. Ludlow, C.I.H.
Corporate Manager
Industrial Hygiene Affairs
Thiokol Corporation
2475 Washington Boulevard
Ogden, Utah 84401

Dear Mr. Ludlow:

Thank you for your letter of June 12, regarding the labeling requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200.

In your letter, you make reference to Secretary of Labor v. Hilton-Davis Chemical Company, et. al., OSHRC Docket No. 86-494, in which it was concluded that the "appropriate hazard warnings" required under subparagraph (f) (1) of the HCS for labels on shipped containers of hazardous chemicals must include information on the target organ effects that are associated with exposure to the hazardous chemical. Your letter poses several questions regarding employers' responsibilities for labeling of in-plant containers of hazardous chemicals. [Your letter incorrectly refers to subparagraph (f)(4); (f)(5) is the subparagraph of the HCS that sets forth in-plant labeling requirements.] In your letter, you requested clarification on three specific labeling situations:

     Question 1:      Our portable containers, not intended for
                      immediate use, are labeled with a system similar
                      to the paint manufacturers labeling system in the
                      Hilton-Davis case.  Do we need to add target organ
                      effects to these labels in order to meet the
                      courts interpretation of "Appropriate Hazard
                      Warnings"?

Appendix A of the HCS makes it clear that employees must be apprised of "the change in body function" associated with employee exposure and the "signs and symptoms that may occur." OSHA's program directive on Hazard Communication, CPL 2-2.38B, "Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard" states that the definition of "hazard warning" under the HCS must convey the hazards of the chemical and is intended to include target organ effects. The same Instruction also discusses the

effectiveness of in-plant labeling systems, specifically systems that "rely on numerical and/or alphabetic codes to convey the hazards." The Instruction provides as guidance this discussion:

"Although these labeling systems may not convey the target organ effects, the intent of the standard is to permit the use of these systems for in-plant labeling as long as the entire Hazard Communication Program (HCP) is effective. CSHOs [Compliance Safety and Health Officers] shall evaluate the effectiveness of in-plant labeling systems through a review of the employer's training program and MSDS procedures. An effective program is one that ensures that employees are aware of hazardous effects (including target organ effects) of the chemicals they are potentially exposed to as well as meeting the other basic requirements of the standard. Hazard warnings used as part of in-plant labeling systems, in combination with the HCP [Hazard Communication Program], are effective when they promote safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace."

This means that employers relying on a labeling system such as the HMIS system must augment their hazard communication employee training program to specifically address the target organ effects that may not be discernable from a numerical warning system.

     Question 2:      We provide uniform labels on all materials coming
                      into our facility.  These labels are what
                      employees are trained to recognize under our
                      hazard communications program, and are produced
                      as a result of a review of the manufacturers MSDS
                      and label, and a review of the available
                      literature on the hazards of the ingredients in
                      the manufacturers material.  Would labels under
                      this type of system need to have target organ
                      effects included on them?

As discussed above in our response to your first question, the Agency has recognized employer use of existing numerical or otherwise coded labeling systems for in-plant labeling situations, but does require the augmentation of the use of such a system if target organ effects are not conveyed by those labels. If you are developing your own in-plant labeling system for all materials coming into your facility, you may want to consider including target organ effects on the labels you are developing to eliminate the need for increased employee training in this area.

     Question 3:      We have processes which must run continuously
                      until completed, overlapping several shifts.

3

These processes have need of chemicals in small quantities which are used only in the immediate production process, and which all shifts of employees are familiar with. Could the containers for these chemicals be considered exempt from labeling requirements under the "immediate use" exclusion of 29 CFR 1910.1200(f) (6)? [Your letter incorrectly refers to paragraph (f) (6), the immediate use provisions are set forth in paragraph (f)(7).]

No. The provisions at (f) (7) are applicable only to containers that will be used by the person who transferred the chemical from the labeled container. Containers containing hazardous chemicals that will be utilized by employees other than the one performing the transfer, including employees on other shifts, must be labeled with the information required by paragraph (f)(5).

We hope this information has been helpful to you in addressing the concerns you raised. Please feel free to contact us again if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,



Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary




June 12, 1990

Gerald Scannel
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety
& Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Scannel: We have found a great deal of confusion within industry and within the OSHA system concerning employer labeling requirements. Would you provide us with an opinion from your office on our responsibilities for labeling, based on the following information.

The judge in the recently concluded Hilton-Davis case1 found that "appropriate hazard warnings", in the Hazard Communications Standard, means "Target Organ Effects"2. This language is used not only in the labeling requirements for manufacturers, but also in the labeling requirements for employer generated labels in 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(4):

"...the employer shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked with the following information:

(i) Identity of the hazardous chemical(s) contained therein; and (ii) Appropriate hazard warnings." (emphasis added)

As an employer we have three circumstances which need to be addressed:

1. Our portable containers, not intended for immediate use, are labeled with a system similar to the paint manufacturers labeling system in the Hilton-Davis case. Do we need to add target organ effects to these labels in order to meet the courts interpretation of "Appropriate Hazard Warnings"?

_____________________________

1 Occupational Safety and Health Cases, 13 OSHC 1182, The Bureau of National Affairs

2 Ibid, 1186, [2]

12 June 1990 Page 2

2. We provide uniform labels on all materials coming into our facility. These labels are what employees are trained to recognize under our hazard communications program, and are produced as a result of a review of the manufacturers MSDS and label, and a review of the available literature on the hazards of the ingredients in the manufacturers material. Would labels under this type of system need to have target organ effects included on them?

3. We have processes which must run continuously until completed overlapping several shifts. These processes have need of chemicals in small quantities which are used only in the immediate production process, and which all shifts of employees are familiar with. Could the containers for these chemicals be considered exempt from labeling requirements under the "immediate use" exclusion of 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(6)?

I appreciate the help I have always received from OSHA personnel.

Sincerely,



Ronald V. Ludlow C.I.H.
Corporate Manager
- Industrial Hygiene Affairs


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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