Back to Background Information

 

Table of Contents   

PARAGRAPH (c) - DEFINITIONS (c)-1
Article (c)-1

Chemical (c)-7
Chemical Manufacturer (c)-9
Commercial Account (c)-10
Container (c)-11
Distributor (c)-12
Employee (c)-14
Exposure (c)-16
Flammable Liquid (c)-18
Foreseeable Emergency (c)-20
Hazardous Chemical (c)-20
Hazard Warning (c)-23
Health Hazard (c)-23
Produce (c)-26
Use (c)-26
Workplace & Work Area (c)-28

PARAGRAPH (c) - DEFINITIONS

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, modifications have been made to the definitions for "article," "exposure," "hazard warning," "produce," and "use." A definition has been added for "commercial account." Please refer to the corresponding sections of this document, where the new wording is shown.

Article

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, this definition has been modified. Changes in wording are indicated in quotation marks:

Article means a manufactured item "other than a fluid or particle" with end use functions dependent upon its manufactured shape or design, "which under normal conditions of use does not release more than very small quantities, e.g., minute or trace amounts of a hazardous chemical (as determined under paragraph (d) of this section), and does not pose a physical hazard or health risk to employees."

The exemption from coverage for articles is discussed under Subparagraph (b)(6)(iv).

Definition of article--automobile parts that will be sanded and cut

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Question: [Are] MSDS [necessary] for coatings on automobile parts that will be sanded and cut[?]

Manufacturers and importers are both required by the HCS to perform a hazard evaluation on the products they manufacture or import. This hazard evaluation is the responsibility of the manufacturer/importer. If, under normal conditions of use, a manufactured item meets OSHA's definition of an "article" in the standard, then the item would be exempted and an MSDS would not be required. If the hazard evaluation indicates that a product does not meet the exemption for articles, an MSDS is to be developed and transmitted to downstream employers.

letter: SLoftus 11-16-94

Definition of article--gas calibration bottles

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

As mentioned in the HCS preamble (August 24, 1987), exposures to releases of "very small quantities"; e.g., a trace amount, are not considered to be covered by the HCS. The definition has been interpreted to permit the release of very small quantities of a hazardous chemical and still qualify as an article [(see 29 CFR 1910.1200(c))] provided that a physical or health risk is not posed to the employees. Examples of very small quantities would be trace amounts of a hazardous chemical.

Based on...information provided...the release of hazardous chemicals from the gas calibration bottles, i.e., [bottles of calibration gas containing a 2 ounce quantity of pure gas such as ammonia, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide used to calibrate gas monitors,] could result in employee exposure and do not appear to satisfy the criteria of "very small quantities". Consequent[ly], the standard does apply and the employees would have the right to be informed of these chemical hazards as per the requirements of the HCS.

letter: JMcCann 01-03-94

Sensors containing small amounts of corrosive materials

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

You explain that employees working with or around small sensors which contain small amounts of corrosive chemicals would not be exposed to the hazardous chemicals under "normal conditions of use." OSHA agrees that these sensors would be considered articles as long as employees were not exposed to the hazardous chemicals, and therefore, would not be covered by the Hazard Communication standard (HCS). If employees were exposed to the hazardous chemicals contained in the sensors during the construction of scientific instruments, or during the removal and disposal of old sensors, the HCS would apply. It is the employer's responsibility to determine if there is a threat of exposure to the hazardous chemicals.

If there is potential for employee exposure, employers are required to include information regarding the hazards of the corrosive materials in the sensors in their hazard communication program.

letter: DDeeds 08-31-93

"Articles" are not covered

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Manufactured items which meet the definition of an "article" under section (c) of the [Hazard Communication Standard(HCS)] are exempted from the requirements of the standard. A product classified as an article, such as a tire, a brake shoe, or metal workstation, which does not release a hazardous chemical during normal handling and use and in reasonably foreseeable emergencies, would not be covered by the HCS provisions. Releases of "very small quantities" (preamble to the August 24, 1987 Final Hazard Communication Rule) are not considered to be covered by the HCS, however where chemicals are released above trace amounts the HCS would apply. For example, bricks for use in construction operations are covered, since under normal conditions of use, bricks are cut or sawed, thereby resulting in exposure to crystalline silica.

letter: HPowell 06-17-93

Acid gas respirator cartridges containing hexavalent chromium qualify as articles

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

At issue is whether manufacturers of these types of respirator cartridges would have to warn of the (cancer) hazard of exposure to the hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) present in these types of cartridges. After carefully reviewing the background information attached to your memo, it was learned that [the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] NIOSH found no exposure to particulate Cr(VI) possible after testing several commercially available [Mine Safety and Health Administration] MSHA/NIOSH certified cartridges. Since no exposure is expected under normal conditions of use, and since, even under abnormal "test" conditions simulated by NIOSH no chromium was detected, the cartridges can be considered to be articles as defined under the HCS and would not be covered under the requirements of the standard. Further, since manufacturers have been notified by NIOSH that acid gas cartridges containing hexavalent chromium would not be approved by NIOSH after September 1, 1990, no new manufacturing of the cartridges can be anticipated, and, therefore, any requirement of the chemical manufacturer to transmit MSDSs and labels to downstream users warning of the potential hazard would not apply. Chemical manufacturers must transmit "significant information" only with the next shipment of hazardous chemicals within three months after they become aware of the new information (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)).

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to DLayne, RA 02-06-92

Products classified as "articles."

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

A product containing [chemical] classified as an article, such as a tire, a brake shoe or roofing shingle, which does not release [the chemical] during normal handling and use, would not be included in labeling and material safety data sheet (MSDS) provisions.

... if the finished products ... are capable of releasing any other hazardous chemicals other than [the chemical], then those exposures would, of course, have to be considered for labeling and MSDS purposes. "Tires," however, are specifically mentioned in OSHA's compliance directive on Hazard Communication as an example of an item that would be considered an "article" under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

[Originally written for crystalline silica]

letter: WBunn 09-25-91

Definition of "article" key to exemption

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The key to the definition of "article," and thus the exemption, is the term "under normal conditions of use." For example, an item may meet the definition of "article," but produces a hazardous by-product if cut or burned. If the cutting or burning or otherwise processing the article in such a way as to result in employee exposure to a hazardous chemical is not considered part of its normal conditions of use, the item would be an "article" under the standard, and thus be exempted.

As mentioned in the preamble to the August 24, 1987 rule, exposures to releases of "very small quantities"; e.g., a trace amount, are not considered to be covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Thus, absent evidence that releases of such "very small quantities" could cause health effects in employees, the article exception to the rule's requirements would apply. The following items are examples of articles:

Stainless steel table

Vinyl upholstery

Tires

Adhesive tape

The following items are examples of products which would NOT be considered "articles" under the standard, and would thus not be exempted from the requirements:

Metal ingots that will be melted under normal conditions of use.

Bricks for use in construction operations, since, under normal condition of use, bricks are cut or sawed, thereby resulting in exposure to crystalline silica.

Switches with mercury in them that are installed in a maintenance process when it is known that a certain percent break under normal conditions of use.

Lead acid batteries which have the potential to leak, spill or break during normal conditions of use, including foreseeable emergencies. In addition, lead acid batteries have the potential to emit hydrogen which may result in a fire or explosion upon ignition.

It should be noted that the only information that has to be reported in these situations is that which concerns the hazard of the released chemical. The hazardous chemicals which are still bound in the article would continue to be exempted under the "article" exemption.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-6 10-22-90

Definition of "article" and incineration of medical supplies

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

OSHA agrees ... that devices such as metal bed pans and crutches are "articles" under the definition given in section (c) of the Standard. The article exemption is based upon a lack of employee exposure potential to hazardous chemicals during normal conditions of use of that article. Incineration of [products] may be a routine disposal operation but does not constitute "a normal condition of use." "Use" is defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as meaning to "package, handle, react or transfer." Such [products] do not release material while workers are using them in the normal course of their employment.

The manufacturers of such items do not have to anticipate their ultimate destruction. For purposes of the HCS, the [devices] would be considered "articles" under the HCS if, during their normal condition of use, no employee exposure potential to hazardous materials exists. Further, ... the incineration of [such] devices is performed in order to destroy biological hazards and standards governing the disposal and incineration of biological and other hazardous wastes are developed and enforced under the statutory purview of the Environmental Protection Agency.

While OSHA is the Agency responsible for ensuring employee safety and health and the purpose of the HCS is to ensure employees have access to the information about hazardous chemicals that they work with, ... manufacturers of articles do not have to anticipate exposures that might occur during the ultimate destruction (incineration) of the products they produce as long as exposures that could result from normal conditions of use are addressed on the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and/or labels.

[Originally written for the medical supplies industry]

letter: RWilbur 01-05-90

Definition, article, and exemption from MSDS requirements for distributors

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Many of the products sold by distributors are classified as "articles" and as such would be exempt from the requirements of the standard. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) defines an article as a manufactured item: (i) which is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture; (ii) which has end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon its shape or design during end use; and (iii) which does not release, or otherwise result in exposure to, a [hazardous] chemical, under normal conditions of use. Accordingly, manufacturers or importers must do their best to anticipate the uses of their products and determine whether downstream employees can be exposed to a hazardous chemical. If such an exposure does occur or has the potential to occur, then the product could not be considered as an article.

letter: WEmerson 03-03-89 Congress

Articles sold for scrap

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

An "article" is a manufactured item that is formed into a specific shape or design for a particular end-use function and which will not release or otherwise result in exposure to a hazardous chemical under normal condition of its use.... As you admit, the normal use for the metals you are supplying to smelters is for them to melt it, thus exposing downstream employees to the hazards of the substance. The scrap metal, therefore, does not satisfy the definition of an "article" because it "releases, or otherwise results in exposure to, a hazardous chemical under normal conditions of use." In addition, scrap metal, such as rejected production items and machine tailings, stampings and other metal bits generated as byproducts during manufacturing operations, do not meet the other conditions for an "article" exemption either; they are not formed into specific shapes or designs during manufacture and do not have end-use functions dependent in whole, or in part, upon their shape or design.

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Chemical

Broad definition of "chemical."

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The standard's definition of "chemical" is much broader than that which is commonly used. Thus, steel coils which are cut and processed, castings which are subsequently ground or welded upon, carbide blades which are sharpened, and portland cement, which is both a skin and eye irritant, are all examples of chemicals which would normally be covered since exposure to hazardous chemicals would occur in the workplace.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-10 10-22-90

Food products as chemicals

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Chemical manufacturers and importers are responsible for performing a hazard determination on the chemicals they produce to determine if, under normal conditions of use, their product could result in a hazardous exposure situation for downstream employees who will be working with or otherwise handling that product. "Chemical" is broadly defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds," and therefore includes food and food additives. Food products, like any other chemical product, must be evaluated for their downstream hazardous exposure potential. If there is no potential for worker exposure to any health or physical hazard (as defined in Appendix A of the standard), then the product is not subject to the provisions of the HCS and no material safety data sheet (MSDS) need be prepared for it.

[Originally written for the food industry]

letter: JLee 01-24-90

Primary metals meet definition of chemical

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

With regard to your contention that scrap dealers do not appear to be distributors because they are not supplying "hazardous chemicals...," this argument is not supported by the definitions and provisions incorporated into the rule. All of the primary metals meet the definition of "chemical" under the rule (being elements, or compounds of elements), and generally they would all be expected to present one or more of the hazards covered by the standard (see 1910.1200(c) for definitions of health and physical hazards). In fact, under the rule, many of the metals are to be considered hazardous in all situations by virtue of being included in the "floor" list of chemicals incorporated by reference under paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) of the hazard determination provision.

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Chemical Manufacturer

Definition, chemical manufacturer

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Based on this definition and that of its related terms, an employer that manufactures, processes, formulates, or repackages a hazardous chemical is considered a "chemical manufacturer." This definition includes someone who blends or mixes chemicals; such persons may comply with the standard by merely transmitting the relevant label/material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the ingredients, which they received in good faith from their suppliers, to their downstream customers. Oil and gas producers are chemical manufacturers for the purposes of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) because they process hazardous chemicals for use or distribution.

For substances which are grown, cultivated, or harvested and which are not processed by the grower before being sold, the first employer meeting the definition of "chemical manufacturer" will be responsible for performing the hazard determination, developing or obtaining the MSDSs, and labeling containers of the hazardous chemicals. For example, saw mills and grain elevators will be considered to be the "chemical manufacturer" since they are the first employers who meet the definition. A saw mill processes timber into lumber (meets definition of "produce") thereby creating wood dust in the process, which is a hazardous chemical under the HCS. Grain elevators will also meet the definition of a "chemical manufacturer" since they treat, dry, and move grain, creating grain dust (which is also a hazardous chemical under the standard).

CPL 2-2.38C: A-7&8 10-22-90

Commercial Account

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, a definition was added for commercial account:

"Commercial account means an arrangement whereby a retail distributor sells hazardous chemicals to an employer, generally in large quantities over time and/or at costs that are below the regular retail price."

The obligations of distributors are discussed under paragraph (g)(7).

Definition of commercial account--fleet accounts with car agencies.

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Question: [When] companies...send their employees to a service station to fill up company vehicles with motor fuel, pursuant to a fleet fueling account, [does this] constitute "commercial accounts" as defined in the amended HCS[?]

In response to [the above] question, please refer to the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, where a definition was added for "commercial account".

"Commercial account means an arrangement whereby a retail distributor sells hazardous chemicals to an employer, generally in large quantities over time and/or at costs that are below the regular retail price."

In [the] example where employers such as [rental car agencies] have established a "fleet fuel account" with [a retail fuel distributor], the "fleet fuel account" appears to be a "commercial account". Therefore, [the retail fuel distributor] must inform their commercial account holders that an MSDS for motor fuel is available, and shall provide the MSDS upon the company's request. Please bear in mind that this conclusion is based on [available] information.... Ultimately, compliance with an OSHA standard is determined by field staff in our Area Offices.

letter: EHay 12-28-94

Commercial accounts and retail distributors

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Commercial account means an arrangement whereby a retail distributor sells hazardous chemicals to an employer, generally in large quantities over time and/or at costs that are below the regular retail price.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-8 10-22-90

Container

Stretch wrapping around drums is not considered a "container"

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Stretch wrapping around drums is not considered to be a container. The [Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)] defines a container as "any bag, barrel, bottle, box, can, cylinder, drum, reaction vessel, storage tank, or the like that contains a hazardous chemical." Stretch wraps, metal bands, roping and other devices used to secure and facilitate transport of containers do not meet OSHA's definition of containers and are not required to be labeled under the HCS.

letter: TLeech 06-08-93

Definition, container: bales

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The alternative means of providing a hazard warning that you propose to implement is appropriate because bales do not meet the definition of a container. Even though the twine or wire that secure the bales are not containers as defined under the standard, and do not lend themselves to standard labeling methods, chemical hazards must still be conveyed.

[originally written about slag wool bales]

letter: CJones 04-01-93

Definition, container

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

This definition includes tank trucks and rail cars. A room or an open area is not to be considered a container and, therefore, a hazardous chemical such as wood dust on the floor of a workplace, or a pile of sand at a construction site, would not have to be labeled. Since only "containers" need to be labeled under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), if there is no container, there is no requirement to label.

Pipes or piping systems, engines, fuel tanks, or other operating systems in a vehicle are not considered to be containers. Thus, LP [liquid petroleum] cylinders that serve as the source of fuel used to operate lift trucks, for example, would not have to be labeled once the fuel tank is installed, although the spare LP cylinder(s) in storage must be labeled since they are containers. Although containers of fuel such as gasoline and LP clearly are within the scope of the HCS, no requirement exists to label the lift truck. The producer still has an obligation to assess the hazards associated with the fuels, including their by-products.

The standard requires all containers of hazardous chemicals leaving the workplace to be labeled with the required information. Even very small containers must be tagged or marked in a fashion that fulfills the intent of the standard.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-8 10-22-90

Distributor

Requirements for distributors are discussed under Subparagraph (g)(7).

Definition, distributor v. manufacturer

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

A distributor who blends, mixes or otherwise changes the chemical composition of a chemical is to be considered a chemical manufacturer under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). As a result, employees in those operations are to be considered just like other employees who use hazardous chemicals. A distributor, therefore, performing a chemical manufacturing operation (i.e., blending, mixing, etc.) becomes a chemical manufacturer and will probably need to give additional training to those employees performing the manufacturing operation since the distributor will not be able to satisfy the sealed container provision in paragraph (b)(4) and invoke its limited requirements.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-8&9 10-22-90

Definition of distributors--scrap dealers

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Scrap dealers are generally considered distributors and, since their products are not articles, would NOT be exempt from the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

CPL 2-2.38C: A-29 10-22-90

Definition of distributor--retail distributors for medical products

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The term distributor is defined. The rule further indicates that "retail" distributors are treated somewhat differently in that they must inform commercial customers that material safety data sheets are available upon request, but do not have to provide the sheets automatically with first shipment of product as other distributors do. The requirements and the distinction between "distributors" and "retail distributors" are not related to whether or not the customer uses the product or resells it ... . The rule differentiates between "distributors" and "retail distributors" to recognize that while retail establishments primarily deal with the general public, selling products that are intended for personal or household consumption, they may also be a supply source for covered employers. The type of over-the-counter operations found in these facilities would make it difficult for most to determine at the point of purchase whether or not a customer is an employer who needs a material safety data sheet (MSDS). The term "on request" system is permitted to preclude the necessity of determining every customer's need for an MSDS at the time of purchase in a retail establishment, or of providing an MSDS to every customer, whether or not the customer is an employer.

... , the company ... distributes health care products to hospitals, physicians, clinics, and nursing homes, not the general public. The Standard Industrial Classification Manual indicates that the wholesale trade division of industry includes those establishments which are primarily engaged in selling merchandise to "industrial, commercial, institutional, farm, or professional business users." [This] type of business clearly falls within this description of wholesale trade.

On the other hand, the retail trade division includes establishments that are primarily engaged in providing merchandise for personal or household consumption. It appears that the only types of business in the retail trade division that may handle the types of products ... described would be drug stores and proprietary stores (SIC Code 5912). If a physician, clinic, etc. were to establish a commercial account with such a store for products covered by the rule, then the drug store would become a "retail distributor" under the standard and be required to inform the customer of the availability of the MSDS on request.

letter: TKnauer 12-15-89

Definition, distributor

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The definition of "distributor" under the HCS is "a business other than a chemical manufacturer of importer, which supplies hazardous chemicals to other distributors or to [employers]." When a distributor receives chemical hazard information from its supplier, the distributor must pass that information to other downstream distributors and to [employers] to ensure that employers and employees are aware of such chemical hazards. See 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(1), (f)(1) and (g)(7).

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Employee

Definition, employee

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Employees, such as office workers or bank tellers who encounter hazardous chemicals only in non-routine, isolated instances are not covered. For example, a worker who occasionally changes the toner in a copying machine would not be covered by the standard. However, an employee who operates a copying machine on a full-time basis would be covered by the provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) for any hazardous chemicals used.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-9 10-22-90

Employee definition criteria

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The applicability of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (and indeed of all OSHA standards promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ("the Act")) depends on whether any of the individuals in the workplace are employees or employers as defined under the Act and under the HCS. An examination of the actual economic relationship that exists between the individuals in a workplace is necessary to determine if an employee/employer relationship exists and, therefore, if the provisions of the Act and the HCS apply. Operators or other workers simply calling themselves "independent contractors" or using contractual agreements does not automatically transform these individuals into "independent contractors" nor relieve the ... operator from responsibility as an employer.

Determination by OSHA regarding the applicability of the Act and the HCS in uncommon employment situations is always made on a case-by-case basis. First, a determination of whether any of the entities engaged in the business are functioning as employers or employees under the OSH Act must be made. No single criterion exists that, in and of itself, determines if an employer/employee relationship exists. When evaluating divergent work situations in order to determine the applicability of OSHA coverage, OSHA utilizes the following criteria:

1. Whom do the workers consider their employer, or do they consider themselves self-employed?

2. Who pays the workers' wages? Who establishes the level of pay? How are wages established?

3. Who has the actual power or ability to control the workers? Who actually directs or supervises the worker's daily and overall activities, assigns work, decides whether work is satisfactory, and establishes work schedules including hours of work, vacation and sick leave?

4. Who has the responsibility, as opposed to the actual power, to control the workers?

5. Does the worker's ability to increase their income depend on simple efficiency rather than initiative, judgment or foresight? May the workers increase their income through the exercise of business judgment?

6. Who has control over the work environment such that hazards may be abated? Who owns or furnishes the equipment and physical worksite? And, especially pertinent to beauty salons and OSHA's HCS, who controls (and supplies) which chemicals (shampoos, dyes, etc.) are to be used?

OSHA compliance officers would utilize these criteria, developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Courts under the OSH Act, on a case-by-case basis, to determine if a owner, operator or other entity is in fact an employer of some or all of the workers.

[Originally written for the beauty salon industry]

letter: AWheat 03-13-90

Exposure

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, this definition was modified. Changes in wording are indicated in quotation marks:

Exposure means that an employee is subjected in the course of employment "to a chemical that is a physical or a health hazard," and includes potential (accidental or possible) exposure. "'Subjected' in terms of health hazards includes any route of entry (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption)."

Definition of exposure--varying airborne concentrations, presence of visible dust.

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Under the HCS, employers are required to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals which are known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency. Exposure is defined to include both possible and accidental exposure.

The HCS addresses chemical hazards which are inherent properties of the hazardous chemical and would exist no matter what quantity was present in the workplace. Risk is a function of the inherent hazard and level of exposure. A substance either is or is not a hazardous chemical; the HCS definition cannot be read to indicate that a substance could be a hazardous chemical in some concentrations but not in others.

Question: ...[Does] the HCS appl[y] when cadmium dust is visible in a container or on the worker.

Application of the HCS is not based on whether the hazardous chemical is visible. It applies whenever cadmium is known to be present in the workplace. [However,] [t]he absence or presence of visible cadmium dust would be important information in terms of personal protective equipment and hygiene practices.

letter: RBoggs 10-06-94

Definition, exposure

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

It is important to note, especially for purposes of chemical manufacturers' hazard determinations, that "exposure" includes any route of entry (inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption) and includes potential (accidental or possible) exposure including exposure that could result in the event of a foreseeable emergency.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-9 10-22-90

Routes of exposure, potential exposure

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Furthermore, the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) defines employee exposure as including ingestion, skin contact and absorption, in addition to inhalation. The HCS's definition of "exposure" includes potential exposure, defined as accidental or possible exposure. Carcinogen notification on the label may be appropriate, therefore, if exposure could occur, either routinely or accidentally, via any of the various routes of entry.

[Originally written about nickel]

letter: LLoreth 12-04-89

Interpretation of the definition of exposure

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The standard defines exposure as including potential as well as measurable exposure, and applies to any chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency. If there is no exposure either under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency, then the chemical is not covered by the standard. However, if under normal conditions of use an action, such a cutting or grinding, is performed on the product that could release the [chemical], then the product would be covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and the presence of [the chemical] must be indicated on the material safety data sheet.

[Originally written about crystalline silica]

letter: DPolsinelli 02-08-89

Flammable Liquid

Definition of flammable liquid--use of the ANSI definition

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Question: Would a liquid with a flash point of 101 degrees F, labeled as a flammable liquid, be in compliance with the HCS? Said another way: Is the use of the ANSI "flammable liquid" definition for hazard communication permitted by OSHA as an alternative to the one contained in the HCS? If so, is there a list of acceptable alternatives to other HCS definitions which we can obtain from OSHA?

On February 9, 1994 OSHA published the modified final rule for the HCS that included a number of minor changes and technical amendments to further clarify the requirements and ensure full compliance. Section (c) of the HCS defines "flammable liquids" as:

Liquid, flammable means any liquid (chemical) having a flash point below 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 100 degrees F or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.

OSHA, the National Fire protection Association (NFPA), the Department of Transportation have similar definitions for "flammable liquid." If industry were to use the proposed ANSI flammable liquid definition, then chemicals labeled as flammable according to the proposed ANSI standard would be label led as combustible under the NFPA and OSHA's HCS. Therefore, using the proposed ANSI definition would be considered to technical violation of the HCS and classified as de minimis. A de minimis violation is a violation of a standard that has no direct bearing on employee safety and health.

letter: RSnyder 10-11-94

Definition of flammable liquids--handling of heated combustible liquids

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

...1910.1200(c), [the] Hazard Communication standard, [defines flammable liquids] as follows:

Flammable liquid means any liquid having a flashpoint below 100 Degrees F.(37.8 C.), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 100 Degrees F. (37.8 C.) or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.

...OSHA [also] requires that combustible liquids heated for use to within 30 Degrees F. (16.7 C.) of their flashpoints be handled in accordance with the requirements for the next lower class of liquids. This is covered at 1910.106(a)(18)(iii) as follows:

When a combustible liquid is heated for use to within 30 Degrees F. (16.7 C.) of its flashpoint, it shall be handled in accordance with the requirements for the next lower class of liquids.

letter: RHamsayeh 01-26-94

Foreseeable Emergency

Definition, foreseeable emergency

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

"Foreseeable emergency" does not include employee exposures in the event of an accidental fire, but does include equipment failure, rupture of containers, or failure of control equipment which could result in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous chemical.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-9 10-22-90

Foreseeable emergency does not include fire

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) applies to any chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.

In addition, the definition of "foreseeable emergency" does not include employee exposures to hazardous chemicals as a result of a fire.

memorandum: TShepich (DCP) to LAnku, RA 02-17-89

Hazardous Chemical

Definition of hazardous chemical--fire extinguishers

29 CFR 1910.1200(c), 49 CFR 172.101 and 49 CFR 173.306(c)

...[B]ased on the manufacturers'/importers' hazard determination, if [a] fire extinguisher is classified as a hazardous chemical, then it would be subject to HCS labeling requirement. The HCS defines hazardous chemicals as any chemical which is a physical or a health hazard. Under the standard, a compressed gas (defined as a gas or mixture of gases having, in a container, an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70 degrees, or a liquid having a vapor pressure exceeding 40 psi at 100 degrees), is considered a physical hazard and therefore, is considered a hazardous chemical. In addition, several extinguishing agents (Halon 1211 and potential substitutes such as hydrogenated chlorofluorocarbons) are also considered hazardous chemicals by nature of their associated health hazards. Consistent with the definitions in the HCS, any fire extinguisher containing a hazardous chemical is subject to the requirements of the HCS. DOT also classifies fire extinguishers as hazardous materials (49 CFR 172.101) with specific exceptions noted at 49 CFR 173.306(c). Questions concerning DOT labeling requirements for shipping fire extinguishers should be directed to DOT at (202) 366-4488.

letter: CTrafelet 03-15-95

Specifics concerning the definition of hazardous chemical

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The Court of Appeals concluded that the standard requires labeling based on the intrinsic properties of hazardous chemicals, not on predictions about the level of risk experienced by particular employees. As stated in the court's decision, "Under the definition given in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), an identification of a substance as a hazardous chemical does not depend upon the product's anticipated use at any particular worksite. A substance ... either is or is not a hazardous chemical; the HCS definition cannot be read to indicate that a substance could be a hazardous chemical in some concentrations but not in others."

[Originally written for the electrical manufacturing industry]

letter: ROpatick 05-30-90

Definition, "hazardous chemical," "health hazard"

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

OSHA has defined the term "hazardous substance" as any chemical which poses a physical or health hazard. "Health hazard", as defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with scientific principles, that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.

The term "health hazard" includes chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes or mucous membranes. ... Again, under the HCS, the employee has the right to have this information available to him at his worksite.

[Originally written for the construction industry]

[Originally written about silica sand]

letter: MRoss 08-21-89

Definitions, hazardous chemical, physical hazard and health hazard

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The Hazard Communication Standard defines "hazardous chemical" to mean any chemical which is a physical or a health hazard.

"Physical hazard" means a chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric, unstable (reactive) or water-reactive.

"Health hazard" means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. The term "health hazard" includes chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes. Appendix A provides further definitions and explanations of the scope of health hazards covered and Appendix B describes the criteria to be used to determine whether or not a chemical is to be considered hazardous for purposes of the standard.

letter: FPellegrini 09-17-87

Definition of hazardous chemical--metals

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

All of the primary metals meet the definition of "chemical" under the rule (being elements, or compounds of elements), and generally they would all be expected to present one or more of the hazards covered by the standard (see 1910.1200(c) for definitions of health and physical hazards). In fact, under the rule, many of the metals are to be considered hazardous in all situations by virtue of being included in the "floor" list of chemicals incorporated by reference under paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) of the hazard determination provision.

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Hazard Warning

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, this definition has been modified. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

Hazard warning means any words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof appearing on a label or other appropriate form of warning which convey "the specific physical or health hazard(s), including target organ effects, of the chemical(s) in the container(s). (See the definitions for 'physical hazard' and 'health hazard' to determine the hazards which must be covered.)"

Requirements for appropriate hazard warnings on labels are discussed under subparagraphs (f)(1) for shipped containers and (f)(5) for in-plant labeling, respectively.

Health Hazard

Definition of health hazard--inert gases.

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

OSHA agrees...that inert gases are classified as a simple asphyxiants. Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology defines a simple asphyxiant as: "physiologically inert gases that can act principally by dilution of the atmospheric oxygen below partial pressure necessary to maintain an oxygen saturation in the blood sufficient for normal tissue respiration."

Inert gases, such as argon, nitrogen and helium, have the potential to create a hazardous atmosphere (less than 19.5% oxygen) and, where that potential exists, are considered by OSHA as hazardous chemicals presenting an acute health hazard and covered by the standard. The HCS would not apply where employees are not occupationally exposed, under normal conditions of use or in a reasonably foreseeable emergency, to the oxygen displacing hazard associated with inert gases. Obviously, argon, nitrogen and helium occur naturally in the atmosphere, and under those conditions they are not hazardous chemicals.

The HCS requires chemical manufacturers, or importers to assess the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import, and all employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, material data safety sheets (MSDSs), and information and training. Included in the HCS is paragraph (c) which contains a broad definition of the term "health hazard." Appendix A of the HCS also provides further definition and explanations of the scope of health hazards including acute health hazards....

[With regard] to the language in [a] March 4, 1993, [OSHA] letter to Matthew McFarland stating that toxicity has been established in inert gases, and that the manufacturer, importer, and/or distributor has the duty of performing a complete hazard determination. To elaborate on the underlined phrase we mean the toxic effects of excessive levels of inert bases has been well established.

letter: RAndree 01-25-95

Definition, "hazardous chemical," "health hazard"

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

OSHA has defined the term "hazardous substance" as any chemical which poses a physical or health hazard. "Health hazard", as defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with scientific principles, that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.

The term "health hazard" includes chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes or mucous membranes. ... Again, under the HCS, the employee has the right to have this information available to him at his worksite.

[Originally written for the construction industry]

[Originally written about silica sand]

letter: MRoss 08-21-89

Definition of health hazard includes the target organs affected

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

The terms "health" and "physical" hazards are defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The definition for health hazard includes the target organs which the chemicals affect. This information must be included in any appropriate health hazard warning. In the situation where a target organ effect is not known, a general warning statement is permitted. In all other cases, the hazard warning serves as the immediate warning of the health and physical hazards of the chemical.

letter: RKasten 07-26-89 Congress

Sensitizers as health hazards

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, considers chemicals that are strong sensitizers to constitute a "health hazard." As defined in the HCS, a sensitizer is "a chemical that causes a substantial proportion of exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the chemical." Under the HCS, these chemicals must be labeled as such, and employees must be provided training on the hazardous effects of the chemical. ... There is no requirement under the HCS ... for an employer to move a worker who has developed an allergic response to a chemical that he is working with to another area where that employee would not be exposed.

[Originally written for the chemical manufacturing industry]

letter: JWillman 07-17-89

Definition, health hazards, target organs

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

As defined in Casarett and Doull's Toxicology, the Basic Science of Poisons, "Most chemicals that produce systemic toxicity do not cause a similar degree of toxicity in all organs but usually produce the major toxicity to one or two organs. These are referred to as target organs of toxicity for that chemical." Appendix A of the Hazard Communication Standard provides a target organ categorization of effects chemicals which have been found to cause such effects. The examples given are presented to illustrate the range and diversity of effects and hazards but are not intended to be all-inclusive.

letter: FPellegrini 09-17-87

Produce

In the February 9, 1994 Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, this definition has been modified. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

Produce means to manufacture, process, formulate, "blend, extract, generate, emit" or repackage.

 

Use

In the February 9, 1994 Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, this definition has been modified. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

Use means to package, handle, react, "emit, extract, generate as a byproduct," or transfer.

Overheating of equipment as a normal condition of use (e.g., Heat shrink products).

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

If there is a potential for overheating during workplace use of the product, i.e., if equipment failure can be normally anticipated during workplace processing operations and result in overheating the heat shrink product causing employee exposure to hazardous chemicals, then the product would not be exempt from coverage.

.... The chemical manufacturer must consider potential exposures, including accidental or possible exposures that may occur when downstream employees use the product.... Equipment failure that results in the accidental overheating of the product is certainly an exposure scenario that should be anticipated by a manufacturer during his hazard determination process.

The standard does not require hazard information transmittal for exposures that result from intentional misuse. However, exposures resulting from "accidental misuse" ... are covered since hazardous chemical exposures can be expected to occur a percentage of time with normal use when equipment fails, overheats, or otherwise is not operating as the manufacturer intended. Accidental exposures are part of normal operating procedures and should be anticipated by the chemical manufacturer during the hazard evaluation process.

letter: KFinney 12-21-90

Definition of "use" and hazard determination requirements for medical supplies

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

Incineration of [products] may be a routine disposal operation but does not constitute "a normal condition of use." "Use" is defined in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as meaning to "package, handle, react or transfer." Such [products] do not release material while workers are using them in the normal course of their employment. The manufacturers of such items do not have to anticipate their ultimate destruction.... as long as exposures that could result from normal conditions of use are addressed on the material safety data sheets (MSDS) and/or labels.

[Originally written for the medical supplies industry]

letter: RWilbur 01-05-90

Breakage under normal conditions of use

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

If [products] are expected to break during normal conditions of use, exposing employees to [a hazardous chemical], they are not considered articles for purposes of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Under the labeling provisions of the HCS each [product] container would have to be labeled, tagged, or marked with the required label information.

[Originally written about industrial thermometers and mercury]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to JStanley, RA 07-17-89

Workplace & Work Area

"Workplace" and "work areas" for construction industry

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

... The [OSHA Review] Commission made an additional important finding in ruling that [the Company's] remote excavation site was a "workplace" with "work areas" as those terms that are defined in 1926.59(c). [The Company] argued that the site was not a "workplace" because it did not contain one or more "work areas" containing a "defined space" where hazardous chemicals were used. The commission held that a defined space in a construction workplace "does not have to have walls enclosing it or be demarcated by lines on the ground" for it to fit the definition of a work area.

court: 15 BNA OSHRC 1313, Docket No. 89-2253, 1991

Back to Background Information

 

About Us Position Statement Register Your Support Help FAQ's Ask A Question Feedback Background Information MSDS Dictionary Last Resort
The First Place To Look for An MSDSHome
Send mail to Webmaster  with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1998-2002 MSDS-SEARCH.COM, Inc.