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PARAGRAPH (e) - WRITTEN HAZARD COMMUNICATION PROGRAM (e)(1)-1
General - (e)(1)
Multi-Employer Workplaces - (e)(2)
        Provision of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)-(e)(2)(i)
Furnishing Copies of Written Program - (e)(4)
Traveling Between Workplaces - (e)(5)

PARAGRAPH (e) - WRITTEN HAZARD COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2)(i) have been modified, and a new section, paragraph (e)(5), has been added. Please refer to the corresponding sections of this document, where the new wording is shown.

General - (e)(1)

In the February 9, 1994 Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (e)(1) has been modified slightly. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

(1) Employers shall develop, implement and maintain "at each workplace," a written hazard communication program describing how the requirements for labels, material safety data sheets, and employee information and training will be met...

Requirements for product specific vs. generic MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

Question: Does using, in an emergency situation, one MSDS from, for example Sigma/Aldrich's CD ROM, constitute compliance with the OSHA standards [if:]

1. You don't know the manufacturer but only the name of the chemical to which the person is exposed[;]

2. You don't know the manufacturer's name and the chemical name, however, the Sigma Aldrich CD ROM access is the fastest way to get the chemical information to those who need it, until the specific MSDS, chemical and/or manufacturer's name, are obtained[?]

[This is] a situation where the company is not in compliance with the HCS; the employer does not have essential information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The CD ROM alternative...would not meet the HCS intent. The HCS requires that employers have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical which they use [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1))]. Part of the employer's Hazard Communication Program is to ensure that all MSDSs are maintained and that "good faith efforts" are taken to acquire missing MSDSs from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor [(29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1))].

The specific chemical's MSDS itself, not just "MSDS information" must be available to workers. If the MSDSs utilized in your electronic system are specific to each product and contain the same chemical identity as used on the required label of the chemical, so as to allow cross referencing between the two, then this aspect of your system would meet the intent of the standard. If the MSDS provided is not product specific, the intent of the standard would not be met.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Sensors containing small amounts of corrosive materials

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

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. OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38C, dated October 22, 1990, states the following in paragraph K.3.c.:

In some cases, a hazardous chemical may be present for a long period of time without an employee exposure until repair or demolition activities are performed. By way of example, employers involved in work operations where jackhammers are being used to break up a sidewalk know that they are exposing themselves to a hazardous chemical (silica), even though they did not "bring" the hazard to the site. Even though other provisions of the standard may not be enforceable (MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheet] and labels), the employer should still develop a hazard communication program to inform their employees "about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed." Employers may utilize their already existing hazard communication program to communicate information on these types of hazards to their employees, as per paragraph (e)(3).

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

Every employer with exposed employees must have a written HCP

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

All employers with employees exposed to hazardous substances must develop, implement and maintain a written HCP [hazard communication program]. CPL 2-2.38C stresses, on page A-13, that "programs must be developed whether the employer generates the hazard or the hazard is generated by other employers. And, on page A-15, "All employers with employees potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals therefore must have in place an effective written hazard communication program that details how this intent will be met." ... the "intent" of the standard is met when information on the hazardous chemical substances at the worksite is available to all affected employers and employees. This does not mean, however, that an employer can not have a written HCP. Each employer must have their own written hazard communication program which must be in place and available to all their employees.

[Originally written about fuel products]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to GSaulter, RA 01-30-91

HCP "should" address ozone generated by welding or photocopying

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

In the ozone generating process you described, the presence of ozone in the workplace should be addressed in the employer's hazard communication program [HCP]. Application of this provision is, of course, dependent on whether exposure to ozone is the result of normal conditions of use, such as photocopying constantly during the day (i.e., a worker's job assignment) or exposures that welders could normally expect to occur on a routine basis. In situations where this provision would apply, employers would not have to "produce" a material safety data sheet (MSDS) or a label, but should provide information in their hazard communication program to inform their employees "about the hazardous chemical to which they are exposed."

This new language in the hazard communication directive describes a previously unused "should" obligation for employers who expose their employees to hazardous substances, in situations where they do not create the hazards or bring them onto the worksite. This interpretation of the scope and application section of the standard will allow OSHA staff to encourage employers to include chemical hazard information in their existing hazard communication programs. This may be accomplished as part of an employer's abatement of written program violations or through the Agency's encouraging of the employer to address chemical hazards "known to be present" in their employee training sessions.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to LAnku, RA 11-19-90

see also: CPL 2-2.38C, Page A-2

Hazardous by-products of machine operations: HCP requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

Although by-products are covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the standard only requires chemical manufacturers or distributors to anticipate the downstream workplace uses of their chemical products and as part of their hazard determination procedures, account for worker exposure to hazardous by-products that may be formed during normal conditions of use. Under the HCS, the manufacturers of welding rods or other chemical products that are utilized during welding and other operations which are capable of resulting in employee exposures would be responsible for chemical hazard information (Material safety data sheets, labels, etc.) to be transmitted to downstream employers.

However, Manufacturers of "high energy machines," welding machines or photocopiers are not considered to be chemical manufacturers under the HCS since they produce machines and not chemicals, for use or distribution to downstream employers. Because ozone is not generated by the welding rod or flux, but rather results from the ionization of the air surrounding the arc or high voltage gap, ozone is not a by-product of the welding rod or photocopier chemical but of the welding or photocopying process. Ozone generated in this fashion would not fall within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1200 (b)(1).

.... The presence of [hazardous by-products of machinery operation such as] ozone in the workplace should be addressed in the employer's hazard communication program.... Employers would not have to "produce" a material safety data sheet or a label, but should provide information in their hazard communication program to inform their employees "about the hazardous chemical to which they are exposed."

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to LAnku, RA 11-19-90

Requirements of the HCS regarding the written program

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

All employers with employees who are, or may be, exposed to hazardous chemicals known to be present in their workplaces, must develop, implement, and maintain at primary workplace facilities and fixed worksite locations a written hazard communication program. Programs must be developed whether the employer generates the hazard or the hazard is generated by other employers. An effective program is one that promotes the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-13 10-22-90

HCP must address training on target organ effects and alternative labeling systems

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

Paragraph (e)(1) of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires employers to include in their written hazard communication program a description of how the training requirements of paragraph (h) will be met, and subparagraph [(h)(3)(ii)] requires employees to be trained on the physical and health hazards of the chemicals they work with. OSHA has interpreted this to include being apprised of the target organ effects of the hazardous chemicals employees are or may be exposed to while working. The training program must therefore explicitly instruct employees on how to use and understand the plant's alternative labeling systems to ensure that employees are aware of the effects (including target organ effects) of the hazardous chemicals to which they are potentially exposed.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-19 10-22-90

Requirements of the written program when other exemptions exist

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

Under the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), exposure to [the chemical] that may occur [during demolition] represents a situation where workers are to be apprised of the hazardous substances to which they are exposed. The hazardous substance is known to be present ... and, while the employer is not responsible for "bringing" the hazard to the site, he is exposing his employees to the hazard. In such a situation, these hazards would need to be addressed in that employer's on-site Hazard Communication Program. Even though other provisions of the standard would not be applicable (providing an material safety data sheet (MSDS) or label for that specific [item], for example, which the employer would not have access to), the employer would still need to address the hazardous exposure to the [chemical] from the [item] in his program, since it is a hazardous chemical known to be present and one he is exposing his employees to.

[Originally written about crushed stone and crystalline silicate]

letter: RBartlett 05-16-90

An effective hazard communication program

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

An effective hazard communication program involves more than just the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDS) to employees. An effective hazard communication program is one in which all elements of the standard are addressed, including the maintenance and accessibility of MSDS, the labeling of hazardous chemicals in the workplace and the provision of employee information and training.

letter: JDanforth 02-07-90 Congress

Written hazard communication program requirements for asbestos removal operations

29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200](e)(1) and 1926.58

The scope and application section (b) of the HCS requires "all employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals [to] which they are exposed by means of a hazard communication program..." etc. Further, the HCS at section (e), requires employers to develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program which includes (among other things) a list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present and a description of how the company will comply with sections (f),(g) and (h) of the standard. Section (e)(2) additionally requires employers on a multi-employer worksite who "produce, use or store hazardous chemicals" to develop a written hazard communication program. The HCS defines "use" as packaging, handling, reacting or transferring. The employees at an asbestos removal operation certainly are "handling" the hazardous chemical asbestos. Employers of employees involved in asbestos removal would therefore be required to develop a written hazard communication program not only to protect their employees, but also for the employees of other employers who may be exposed to the hazard of asbestos that is being created by the removal operations. Again, we believe these requirements are triggered by the scope and application section (b), the written program requirements at section (e), and the definitions section (c) (see definitions for "employee", "employer", "exposure" and "use").

...[T]he construction asbestos standard, 1926.58 does not require a MSDS for asbestos. We agree with the argument...that since 1926.58 does not specifically require that a written hazard communication program be developed for the hazards of asbestos exposure during removal operations, the more general requirement of 29 CFR 1926.59(e)[, the HCS,] applies to the situation. While we believe that 1926.59(e) of the HCS applies as set forth above to the hazards of asbestos-exposed employees during asbestos removal, we also acknowledge that a MSDS for "asbestos" cannot be required under 1926.59. It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturer to develop the MSDS and send it to the downstream employer(s) for their information and use in their hazard communication programs. Obviously, asbestos-removal contractors have no way of obtaining the MSDS for the specific asbestos-containing materials they are removing. Employers may be encouraged, however, to obtain or develop a "generic" MSDS for "asbestos" for use in their overall hazard communication program, but they cannot be required to do so.

...[W]e question the validity of [an] employer's assertion that "no other chemicals" (besides asbestos itself) are "used" during asbestos removal operations. We understand that this is the employer's defense for not having a written hazard communication program. Usually these types of removal operations involve the use and application of certain surfactants and wetting agents which would themselves be subject to the provision of the HCS and for which a written hazard communication program would need to have been developed. In any event, the multi-employer requirements of section (e) of the HCS obligates the employer on a multi-employer worksite who may be exposing the employees of another employer to hazardous chemicals, (in this situation the asbestos he is causing exposure to through his removal operations), to develop a written hazard communication program which includes the methods that will be used to inform the other employers of the potential hazards.

memorandum: TShepich to LAnku 12-26-89

Contents of the written hazard communication program

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)

The standard does require ..., that each employer develop and maintain at his workplace a written hazard communication program. The written program must describe how the employer will meet the standard's requirements to provide container labeling, collection and availability of material safety data sheets (MSDS) and how employee training will be conducted. The written program must also contain a list of the hazardous chemicals in each work area, and the means the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards of non-routine tasks.

Each workplace contains its own unique exposure potentials, and an important aspect of an employer's hazard communication program is the preparation of an inventory of the chemicals and hazardous substances known to be present at the worksite, either by individual work area or for the entire workplace. This inventory, which is unique to that workplace, then results in the list of hazardous substances upon which the employer's hazard communication program is based. Again, the list is unique to the worksite, not the industry sector, and must be developed for each specific workplace.

[Originally written for the construction industry]

letter: MHancock 09-07-89

Employer responsibility for a hazardous chemical inventory in the workplace

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)(i)

...[T]he employer is responsible for conducting the hazardous chemical inventory and developing the list of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace by using the identity that is referenced on the MSDS and the container label. This identity is often a common name, such as a product or trade name. The HCS also requires that this list be specific to the workplace as a whole or for individual workareas. The rule does not require that...the hazards of each chemical [be indicated] on the list; employees are informed of hazards through MSDSs, labels, and training.

...[P]lease bear in mind that the HCS is a performance oriented standard. This means that the employer has the flexibility to develop a hazard communication program that best fits their workplace and also meets the performance requirements of the standard.

letter: DWallace 08-05-94

Inventory of chemicals in the workplace

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1)(i)

You requested assistance in preparing an inventory of the chemicals in your office and the hazard class for each of the chemicals in a compound. First we will clarify your responsibility in making an inventory of chemicals in the work place: employers must list the names of all hazardous chemicals used in the workplace by using the identity that is referenced on the material safety data sheet (MSDS). This identity is often a common name, such as a product or trade name (i.e., Lime-A-Way).

The rule does not require that you indicate the hazards of each chemical on the list; employees are informed of hazards through MSDSs and labels.

letter: RBliss 12-22-92

Multi-Employer Workplaces - (e)(2)

The definition of employee as it relates to multi-employer worksites is discussed under Paragraph (c), Definitions. The requirement to provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs) is discussed under Subparagraph (e)(2)(i) as well as under Subparagraph (g)(8).

Written hazard communication program requirements for companies servicing fire extinguishers on a customer's premises

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

Question: ...[S]hould appropriate hazard warning labels be affixed to fire extinguishers that [a] company services but does not remove from [a] customers' premises?

Fire extinguishers that contain hazardous chemicals...must be labeled in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(5). [The] customer (i.e., the site employer) is responsible for ensuring that...containers [are labeled as required] and also that MSDSs are available to address the physical and health hazards of fire extinguishers in their workplace.

Paragraph (e)(2) of the standard is also relevant to this question, which states that:

"Employers who produce, use, or store hazardous chemicals at a workplace in such a way that the employees of other employer(s) may be exposed...hazard communication programs developed and implemented under this paragraph (e) include the following:

(i) The methods the employer will use to provide the other employer(s) on-site access to material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical the other employer(s)' employees may be exposed to while working;

(ii) The methods the employer will use to inform the other employer(s) of any precautionary measures that need to be taken to protect employees during the workplace's normal operating conditions and in foreseeable emergencies; and,

(iii) The methods the employer will use to inform the other employer of the labeling system used in the workplace." The responsibility of providing the label information is clearly on the site employer who owns or controls the fire extinguishers and their use.

letter: CTrafelet 03-15-95

Citations for violations at multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

...[T]he Agency's citation policy for hazard communication violations at multi-employer worksites is no different than for violations of any other OSHA standard. The Field Operations Manual, Chapter V., Section F., "Multi-employer Worksites," also gives specific guidance on the Agency's citation policies and states, at V.F.1.b. that: "It must be shown that each employer to be cited has knowledge of the hazardous condition or could have had such knowledge with the exercise of reasonable diligence. (See Chapter IV, B.1.b.(4)."

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to LAnku, RA 06-10-91

see also: CPL 2-2.38C: A-17 10-22-90

Sharing a written HCP at multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

The standard at paragraph (e)(2) requires that the written hazard communication program (HCP) specify the methods that employers at multi-employer worksites will use to share information with other employers and employees regarding material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and access to them, precautionary measures and any labeling systems used at the workplace. If an employer is going to rely on the information concerning these requirements as set forth in another employer's HCP, he must specifically state so in his own written HCP. In other words, the "guest" or "non-host" employer would have to specify in his written HCP that his method of providing hazard communication information as required is to rely on the methods set forth in his host employer's written program. Employees of the "guest" employer have a right to know and to access the information that must be contained in their employer's hazard communication program. Where they go to get this information is their own employer's written HCP. The methods their employer is going to use to communicate chemical hazard information to them must be set forth in writing in their own employer's written HCP, even if that method involves relying on a host employer's written program.

[Originally written about fuel products]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to GSaulter, RA 01-30-91

Every employer with exposed employees must have a written HCP

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

All employers with employees exposed to hazardous substances must develop, implement and maintain a written HCP [hazard communication program]. CPL 2-2.38C stresses, on page A-13, that "programs must be developed whether the employer generates the hazard or the hazard is generated by other employers. And, on page A-15, "All employers with employees potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals therefore must have in place an effective written hazard communication program that details how this intent will be met." ... the "intent" of the standard is met when information on the hazardous chemical substances at the worksite is available to all affected employers and employees. This does not mean, however, that an employer can not have a written HCP. Each employer must have their own written hazard communication program which must be in place and available to all their employees.

[Originally written about fuel products]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to GSaulter, RA 01-30-91

Responsibilities of employers at multi-employer workplaces

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

The Hazard Communication Standard's (HCS) "multi-employer workplaces" provision at (e)(2) states that employers who produce, use or store hazardous chemicals at a worksite in such a way that the employees of other employers may be exposed must include in their written hazard communication program the methods to ensure that the other employers are adequately informed of the hazards and appropriate precautionary measures to be taken so they can protect their own employees.

The intent of the HCS is met on multi-employer worksites when information on the hazards of chemical substances at the worksite is available to all affected employers and employees. All employers with employees potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals therefore must have in place an effective written hazard communication program that details how this intent will be met.

If an employer does not bring hazardous chemicals on site, a list of hazardous chemicals is not required as part of his hazard communication program. Nevertheless, the employees must be trained how to use labels and material safety data sheets (MSDSs), to recognize hazards and to follow appropriate protective measures.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-15 10-22-90

Citation policy at a multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

OSHA's compliance and enforcement policies for multi-employer worksites are set forth in the OSHA Field Operations Manual, Chapter V, sections F.1. and 2., which state that, with regard to working conditions where employees of more than one employer are exposed to a hazard, the employers "with the responsibility for creating and/or correcting the hazard" shall be cited for violations of OSHA standards that occur on that multi-employer worksite. Normally citations for violations shall be issued to each of the exposing employers as well as to the employer responsible for correcting or ensuring the correction of the condition.

Whenever the general contractor or the construction manager on a multi-employer worksite is in the best position to ensure that all contractors on site with hazardous materials comply with the standard's requirements, the general contractor or construction manager shall be cited for violations of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as well as any contractor who has not complied.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-17 10-22-90

see also: PClark (DCP) to LAnku, RA 06-10-91

Construction site considerations

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) "Multi-employer workplaces" provision at 29 CFR 1926.59 (e)(2) states that employers who use or store hazardous chemicals at a worksite in such a way that the employees of other employers may be exposed are required to incorporate additional elements into their hazard communication program. On a multi-employer worksite, each employer's hazard communication program must specify the method that the employer will use to provide the other employers with copies of his material safety data sheets (MSDSs), or the method he will use to make them available at a central location. The number of MSDSs that a contractor must have depends on the method used on the site to provide information to other employers.

The intent of OSHA's HCS is met on a multi-employer worksite when information on the hazards of chemical substances at the worksite is transmitted to or shared with all affected employers and their employees, and that information is readily accessible to employees when they are in their work areas.

[Originally written for the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) industry]

letter: KKrauska 05-16-90

Beauty salons: independent contractors vs. multi-employer workplaces

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

In some situations, a beauty salon might qualify as a multi-employer workplace under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). For example, each operator could act as an employer and hire an employee to shampoo and perform other work. The compliance officer would have to determine whether each operator and shampooist had an employer/employee relationship under the OSH Act criteria... Then the compliance officer would have to determine if the HCS applied (does the operator use, distribute or produce chemicals in the business and is the shampooist actually or potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals). If more than one operator is an employer under the OSH Act and the HCS, then, the multi-employer worksite provision applies.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to BChadwick, RA 02-14-90

Requirements of the program

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

Program requirements are set forth in detail in section (e)(1) and all employers with employees exposed to hazardous chemicals must develop and maintain at the workplace a written hazard communication program. The employer's program must additionally include a description of the methods the employer will use to provide other employers with copies of the material safety data sheets (MSDS). Employers must make those MSDS available to the employees of other employers who may be exposed while working at that site. The written program also must detail how the employer will inform other employers of necessary protective measures that may need to be taken while working around the on-site hazardous chemicals. The written program also must include a description of the methods the employer will use to inform other employers about the labeling system in use on-site.

[Originally written for the construction industry, 29 CFR 1926.59 (e)(1)]

letter: LBentsen 01-29-90

Multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)'s "Multi employer workplaces" provision at 29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200] (e)(2) states that employers who use or store hazardous chemicals at a worksite in such a way that the employees of other employers may be exposed are required to develop and implement a written hazard communication program.

The intent of OSHA's HCS is met on a multi-employer worksite when information on the hazards of chemical substances at the worksite is transmitted to all affected employers and employees. All employers with employees potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals therefore need to have in place and on-site an effective written hazard communication program that details how this intent will be met, again, as required by section (e) of the standard.

[Originally written referring to 29 CFR 1926.59, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard for Construction]

letter: LBentsen 01-29-90

Application of the hazard communication standard to asbestos removal operations

29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200](e)(2) and 1926.58

The scope and application section (b) of the HCS requires "all employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals [to] which they are exposed by means of a hazard communication program..." etc. Further, the HCS at section (e), requires employers to develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program which includes (among other things) a list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present and a description of how the company will comply with sections (f),(g) and (h) of the standard. Section (e)(2) additionally requires employers on a multi-employer worksite who "produce, use or store hazardous chemicals" to develop a written hazard communication program. The HCS defines "use" as packaging, handling, reacting or transferring. The employees at an asbestos removal operation certainly are "handling" the hazardous chemical asbestos. Employers of employees involved in asbestos removal would therefore be required to develop a written hazard communication program not only to protect their employees, but also for the employees of other employers who may be exposed to the hazard of asbestos that is being created by the removal operations. Again, we believe these requirements are triggered by the scope and application section (b), the written program requirements at section (e), and the definitions section (c) (see definitions for "employee", "employer", "exposure" and "use").

...[T]he construction asbestos standard, 1926.58 does not require a MSDS for asbestos. We agree with the argument...that since 1926.58 does not specifically require that a written hazard communication program be developed for the hazards of asbestos exposure during removal operations, the more general requirement of 29 CFR 1926.59(e)[, the HCS,] applies to the situation. While we believe that 1926.59(e) of the HCS applies as set forth above to the hazards of asbestos-exposed employees during asbestos removal, we also acknowledge that a MSDS for "asbestos" cannot be required under 1926.59. It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturer to develop the MSDS and send it to the downstream employer(s) for their information and use in their hazard communication programs. Obviously, asbestos-removal contractors have no way of obtaining the MSDS for the specific asbestos-containing materials they are removing. Employers may be encouraged, however, to obtain or develop a "generic" MSDS for "asbestos" for use in their overall hazard communication program, but they cannot be required to do so.

...[W]e question the validity of [an] employer's assertion that "no other chemicals" (besides asbestos itself) are "used" during asbestos removal operations. We understand that this is the employer's defense for not having a written hazard communication program. Usually these types of removal operations involve the use and application of certain surfactants and wetting agents which would themselves be subject to the provision of the HCS and for which a written hazard communication program would need to have been developed. In any event, the multi-employer requirements of section (e) of the HCS obligates the employer on a multi-employer worksite who may be exposing the employees of another employer to hazardous chemicals, (in this situation the asbestos he is causing exposure to through his removal operations), to develop a written hazard communication program which includes the methods that will be used to inform the other employers of the potential hazards.

memorandum: TShepich to LAnku 12-26-89

Requirements for MSDSs at multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

If, as for a construction job, the workplace has multiple employers on-site, employers are to ensure that information regarding the hazards that are present at the worksite and information on measures employees can take to protect themselves is made available to the other employers on-site. Employers on multi-employer worksites must provide other on-site employers (whose employees may be exposed to hazards not brought onto the worksite by their own employer) with a copy of applicable material safety data sheets (MSDSs), or make them available to a location coordinated by both employers at a convenient on-site location.

Allowing a construction contractor to maintain MSDSs in his home office (which could be miles away from the actual jobsite) would not afford employees ready access to the hazard information during each work shift, as is their right under the standard. The employer's written hazard communication program and applicable MSDSs may be kept anywhere on the jobsite, including a vehicle or contractor's trailer, as long as employees know where to find it.

[Originally written referring to 29 CFR 1926.59 (e)(2)]

letter: MHancock 09-07-89

Other employees at tank trailer owner's worksite

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) does not apply to the transportation of hazardous chemicals. However, employees involved in operations at the end point or terminal of trucking companies do fall under the scope of the HCS, and material safety data sheets are required for these operations. If your employees are working on the site of the tank trailer owner's facility, the multi-employer workplace provisions of the HCS would apply. Under the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.1200 (e)(2), the tank truck owner would be required to provide or make available at a central location on his worksite material safety data sheets (MSDS's) for each hazardous chemical your employees would be exposed to. Even if you are not working at the owner's facility, your operation is covered by the scope of the HCS and your employees must be provided access to MSDS's. It is your responsibility to seek and obtain MSDS and provide your employees access to them. It may be effective for you to require an MSDS from the tanker owner as a condition for your doing business with the owner, ..., he would provide you with the MSDS before you will accept a tank trailer for cleaning.

letter: MLukart no date

Provision of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)-(e)(2)(i)

MSDS requirements at multiemployer worksites are also addressed under Subparagraph (g)(8).

In the February 9, 1994 Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (e)(2)(i) has been modified. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

(ii) The methods the employer will use to provide the other employer(s) "on-site access to material safety data sheets" for each hazardous chemical the other employer(s)' employees may be exposed to while working."

Multi-employer worksites and the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)(i)

Paragraph (e)(2)(i) requires an employer on a multi-employer worksite to provide other employers with a copy of pertinent material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or to make them available at a central location in the workplace. This requirement covers each hazardous chemical to which the other employer's employees may be exposed. Therefore, one employer does not actually have to physically give another employer the MSDSs, but the employer must inform the other employer of the location where the MSDSs will be maintained (e.g., in the general contractor's trailer). The performance-orientation of the rule allows employers to decide the method to be used to accomplish the required exchange of information.

In the construction industry, it would probably be most efficient for the general contractor to coordinate the requirement for maintaining MSDSs on site. For example, the general contractor could keep and make available MSDSs in the office on the site.

An employer must provide MSDS(s) to other employers or make them available in a central location if the other employers will have employees exposed or potentially exposed. The potential exposure could even occur at some time in the future. For example, if a painting contractor's workers are using flammable solvents in an area where another subcontractor's workers are welding pipes, then the painting contractor must ensure that the MSDSs for the flammable solvents are available to the welding subcontractor's employees. However, if electricians are not working near or at the same time as the painting contractor, and therefore it is not possible for either employer's employees to be exposed, then no exchange of MSDSs is required.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-14 10-22-90

Alternatives for maintaining access to the MSDS on site

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)(i)

This provision requires material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or electronically accessible MSDSs to be maintained on site. Readable copy of MSDS(s) must be available on-site. This may be accomplished by the use of computers with printers, microfiche machines, and/or telefax machines, any of which would meet the intent of the standard. The key to compliance with this provision is that employees have no barriers to access to the information and that the MSDSs be available during the workshift. When direct and immediate access to paper or hard-copy MSDSs does not exist, CSHOs [Compliance Safety and Health Officer] should evaluate the performance of the employer's system by requesting a specific MSDSs. Mere provision of the requested information orally via telephone is not acceptable.

CSHOs must exercise judgment in enforcing this provision. Factors that may be appropriate to consider when determining if MSDSs are readily accessible may include: Must employees ask a supervisor or other management representative for the MSDSs? Are the sheets or alternative methods maintained at a location and under conditions where employees can refer to them during each workshift, when they are in their work areas? If a computer or FAX system is used, do employees know how to operate and obtain information from the system? Employees must have access to the MSDSs and be able to get the information when they need it, in order for an employer to be in compliance with the rule.

On multi-employer jobsites, employers who produce, use or store hazardous chemicals in such a way that other employers' employees are exposed must also provide copies of or access to MSDSs as discussed in section (e) of this Appendix. Again, actual paper copies of data sheets, computer terminal access, FAX, or other means of providing readable copy on-site are permitted, as long as no barriers to employee access exist.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32&33 10-22-90

Availability of MSDSs to other employers on site

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)(i)

If material safety data sheets (MSDSs) are not maintained at a central location, each contractor must provide MSDSs to the other employers for each hazardous chemical the other employers' employees may be exposed to while working. Although a contractor does not actually have to physically give another employer the MSDS, he must make it available to the worksite for review. In some circumstances, a contractor may prefer to distribute copies of MSDS to other employers rather than provide continual access to those MSDSs.

[Originally written for the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) industry]

letter: KKrauska 05-16-90

Sharing the MSDS at a central location

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)(i)

If the contractor chooses to rely on a method of sharing his material safety data sheets (MSDSs) at a central location, where a copy of all the employers' MSDSs will be kept, the method must also provide for access to them at all times employees are working on the site. If the party who has agreed to maintain all MSDSs at a central location does not provide for access to MSDSs at all times that employees are on-site, then that party would normally be cited for a violation of 29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200] (g)(8). However, if the MSDSs are not available because the contractor failed to provide them, then that contractor would normally be cited.

Each contractor has a responsibility to ensure that his employees have ready access to MSDSs for each hazardous chemical in the workplace during each work shift. If a contractor relies on another employer to maintain his MSDSs, and the MSDSs are unavailable to that contractor's employees, the contractor could be cited under 1926.59 (g)(8), unless it is determined that he has a legitimate defense to a citation. OSHA's compliance and enforcement policies at multi-employer worksites, including legitimate defense, are set forth in the Agency's Field Operations Manual ("FOM") in Chapter V, sections F.1. and 2. If an exposing employer meets all the conditions set forth in section F.2., then that employer would not be cited.

[Originally written for the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) industry]

letter: KKrauska 05-16-90

Multi-employer jobsites and the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)(i) and 29 CFR 1926.59(e)(2)(i)

On multi-employer jobsites, employers who produce, use or store hazardous chemicals, must provide copies of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to the employers of other employees exposed to the hazardous chemicals, or make them available at a central location at the jobsite. Again, actual paper copies of data sheets, computer terminal access, or other means of providing readable copy on-site are permitted.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to MConners, RA 08-07-89

Furnishing Copies of Written Program - (e)(4)

Providing the written program within 15 days of request

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(4) and 29 CFR 1910.20(e)

Paragraph (e)(4) requires employers to make the written program available upon request to employees, OSHA and NIOSH, in accordance with the requirements of the Access [to Employee Exposure and Medical Records] Standard, 29 CFR 1910.20(e). This requirement is interpreted to apply to the requirement of the employer to provide a copy of the written program within the time periods discussed in 1910.20 (i.e., no later than 15 days after the request for access is made). It is not meant to allow an employer of a primary workplace facility or a fixed location worksite a 15-day time period in which to make the program available for inspection on-site. For fixed worksites and primary workplace facilities, the written hazard communication program must be maintained on-site at all times. OSHA interprets the 15-day period referenced in (e)(4) to pertain to the length of time the employer has in which to provide a copy of the program to the requesting party. (See discussion at subparagraph (e)(2) of this Appendix for OSHA citation policy regarding the maintenance of written programs on multi-employer or mobile worksite locations.)

CPL 2-2.38C: A-18 10-22-90

Access to the written program

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(4) and 29 CFR 1910.20(e)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the employer to make available the written hazard communication program in accordance with the access to records provisions of 29 CFR 1910.20(e). A copy of the written hazard communication program is, therefore, required to be made available upon request to employees, or their designated representative within fifteen working days at no cost to the employee or the representative. The HCS neither requires nor prohibits the printing of pocket-size copies of the program for employees.

letter: LCorson 07-31-89

Provision of written program need not include training aides

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(4)

Question: Is an employer required to provide a copy of the Hazard Communication Program, and if so, does this include training aides such as video tapes?

The Hazard Communication Standard at l9l0.l200(e)(4) requires that the employer make the written hazard communication program available, upon request, to employees and their designated representatives. Audiovisual training aides are not part of the written program and therefore are not subject to this requirement.

letter: RMontgomery 06-30-88

Traveling Between Workplaces - (e)(5)

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, a new subsection, paragraph (e)(5), was added, which reads as follows:

"(5) Where employees must travel between workplaces during a workshift, i.e., their work is carried out at more than one geographical location, the written hazard communication program may be kept at the primary workplace facility."

MSDS requirements for employers with employees who travel between work places

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(5)

Question: Does 29 CFR 1926.59(e)(5) [(and 1910.1200(e)(5))] mean that service departments are no longer required to have MSDSs on their vehicles?

...As indicated in paragraph (g)(9) of the standard, if employees travel between workplaces during a workshift, the employer can maintain MSDSs in the primary workplace rather than in each mobile worksite (or in this case in a service department vehicle) provided that the employer ensures that employees can immediately obtain MSDS information in an emergency and can access it whenever they are in the primary workplace.

letter: PFalls 02-02-95

Traveling to multiple worksites and the written HCP

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(5)

There is no question that the written hazard communication program (HCP) must be maintained on-site at fixed worksites or establishments. However, an exception to the requirement that the written HCP be kept on-site may be allowed on multi-employer worksites and in situations where an employee(s) travels between workplaces yet who at times reports to a primary workplace facility where the written HCP is maintained.

Unlike material safety data sheet (MSDS) information which may be necessary to assure the safety of employees in the event of an emergency, the information contained in an employer's written HCP is mainly procedural and the presence of a written document on the worksite may not have a direct or immediate relationship to employee safety or health. This is especially true in situations where employers are implementing an effective overall HCP and whose employees have already received the required hazard communication training. The need for the program to be on-site, therefore, in situations where employees travel or are dispatched from a primary workplace location (e.g., administrative offices) where the written program is maintained to a multi-employer worksite may bear no immediate relationship to safety and health and may, in the professional judgement of the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) and Area Director, be considered a "de minimis" violation of section (e)(1).

[Originally written for the construction industry]

letter: RAndree 10-18-90

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