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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1450

January 3, 1991

MEMORANDUM FOR:     FRANK STRASHEIM
                   REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

FROM:               PATRICIA K. CLARK, DIRECTOR 
                   DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS

SUBJECT:            Clarification of Quality Control Lab - Request from
                   Unocol Co.
This is in response to your memorandum of October 26, regarding Mr. Clay W. Totten of Unocol Corporation's request for interpretation on the Laboratory Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450, as it relates to the issue of the "quality control lab" exemption.

His first question is as follows:

1) Does the meaning of the phrase "procedures involved are not part of the production process" exempt from the laboratory standard a work area typically conducting repetitive physicochemical analyses to assist in directing the production and business activities at facilities? It would seem that laboratories providing results of analyses to assist in directing the production and business activities at facilities are actually "quality control" labs.

The answer would be "yes" if the laboratories are conducting physicochemical analyses related to quality control of production. The relation to business activities is not a factor in deciding the applicability of the Laboratory Standard. As the preamble to the standard indicates, most quality control laboratories are not expected to meet the qualification for coverage under the Laboratory Standard, since they are typically adjuncts of production operations. Laboratories which perform some research may well be covered by the Laboratory Standard. The repetitive nature of the operations is not a criterion for defining what is a laboratory under the Laboratory Standard but is merely discussed in the preamble to the regulation as one of the characteristics frequently found in laboratories.

Mr. Totten's second question is as follows:

2) Secondly, are work areas that typically conduct repetitive physicochemical analyses considered quality control laboratories when a minor portion of their activities involve altering the composition of well-known blends and mixtures (on a laboratory scale) for the purpose of studying changes to mixtures' specific characteristics?

It is difficult to give a definite answer from the few facts presented in the incoming letter. However, from the information supplied the answer to the second question is most probably no. Laboratory activities that involve studying changes in specific characteristics of mixtures are more related to research development, not quality control of production. As such, these activities would fall within the scope of the Laboratory Standard, assuming the other criteria for coverage are met.

We hope we have adequately answered your concerns. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.



DATE:               October 26,  1990

MEMORANDUM FOR:     PATRICIA CLARK, DIRECTOR
                   Directorate of Compliance Programs

ATTENTION:          HELEN LI

FROM:               FRANK STRASHEIM
                   Regional Administrator

SUBJECT:            Clarification of Quality Control Lab - Request from
                   Unocal Co.
Per your conversation with Gabe Gillotti, ARA/TS, the attached request warrants a review and written clarification of the Lab Standard as it relates to the issue of the "quality control lab" exemption.

Not only is this company a large and national petroleum company, but to date we have not adequately described the narrow parameters that are necessary to determine those labs that are truly exempt.

We will advise the company of the fact that their request has been forwarded to your office.

Attachment



October 16, 1990

US Dept of Labor, OSHA
5675 Ruffin Road,
Suite 330
San Diego, CA 92123

Attn: Jack Rhodes

Dear Sir:

As you are aware, the compliance date of January 31, 1991 for the completion and implementation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan is approaching. The distinction between a "quality control laboratory" that is exempted from 29 CFR 1910.1450 and a work area that is subject to the laboratory standard remains unclear.

In order to be subject to the laboratory standard all four of the following provisions must be satisfied: - chemical manipulations are carried out on a "laboratory scale"; - multiple chemical procedures or chemicals are carried out; - the procedures involved are not part of a production process, nor in any way simulate a production process;

- "Protective laboratory practices and equipment" are available and in common use to minimize the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.

1) Does the meaning of the phrase "procedures involved are not part of the production process" exempt from the laboratory standard a work area typically conducting repetitive physicochemical analyses to assist in directing the production and business activities at facilities? It would seem that laboratories providing results of analyses to assist in directing the production and business activities at facilities are actually "quality control" labs.

2) Secondly, are work areas that typically conduct repetitive physicochemical analyses considered quality control laboratories when a minor portion of their activities involve altering the composition of well-known blends and mixtures (on a laboratory scale) for the purpose of studying changes to mixtures' specific characteristics?

Thank You,



Clay W Totten Coordinator,
Regulatory Affairs
Central Engineering CWT/ct


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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