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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200; 1910.1200(g)(1); 1910.1200(g)(2)

This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.

January 14, 2009

Mr. Angus Crane
Vice President, General Counsel
North American Insulation Manufacturer's Association (NAIMA)
44 Canal Center Plaza
Suite 310
Alexandria, VA 22314

Dear Mr. Crane:

This is a follow up response to your correspondence dated June 6, 2008 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. The issues of concern in your letter related to alleged deficiencies contained on a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for a spray-on insulation product (the Icynene Insulation System) being used by members of your organization, a copy of which you included. You specifically ask OSHA to address the "deficiencies" on this MSDS.

Since Icynene manufactures their insulation products in Canada, OSHA forwarded your concerns with a letter to Canada's Ministry of Labour, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) division and asked them to contact Icynene directly to address the alleged deficiencies on the MSDS. You were also sent a copy of OSHA's correspondence to WHMIS. On November 12, 2008, OSHA received MSDSs for Icynene's Insulation System from WHMIS. The MSDSs are for a two-part spray insulation system and are enclosed for your information. These MSDSs have been reviewed by my office and meet OSHA's requirements for MSDS content as listed in 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2). The MSDSs provide information about the hazards of occupational exposure to isocyanates contained in the product. They also provide information, required by 1910.1200(g)(2), on routes of exposure and how employees can protect themselves from the respiratory and sensitization hazards associated with exposures to methylene bisphenyl isocyanate (MDI).

The MSDS you provided to us is publicly available for consumers, home owners, and building occupants on Icynene's Internet web site. WHMIS has assured us that the MSDSs for the two-part Icynene Insulation System are provided when the product is purchased by employers. Please be aware that OSHA does not require manufacturers to provide or post MSDSs on their web sites. Many chemical product manufacturers do provide this information as a courtesy to the public and to their customers, but they are under no statutory obligation to do so.

The MSDS for the final Icynene insulation product would not be expected to contain the same hazard information as the MSDS for the raw materials used by employees installing the insulation. Any chemical hazards and exposure potentials of the final, cured insulation are different than those of the raw materials or component parts. OSHA's hazard communication standard (HCS) 1910.1200(g)(1), requires that employers maintain copies of MSDSs for products to which their employees may be exposed during their work. OSHA would expect employers who install the Icynene Insulation System to have the correct MSDSs for the system components, as these are the chemicals that employees would be exposed to during installation.

As we have obtained copies of the adequate MSDSs, ensured that they are being provided to purchasing employers as required by the HCS, and are now providing them to you, we are considering this action to be closed. 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 appraised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. Thank you for your inquiry and for your interest in occupational safety and health matters.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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