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|Title: 06/29/1987 - The HCS's requirement for target organ effects on labels for shipped containers of hazardous chemicals.
|Record Type: Interpretation
|Standard Number: 1910.1200
ILPI Notes: This interpretation is based on and references the original HCS 1986 which, along with HCS 1994 is now obsolete. It references portions of the standard that have since been deleted or changed. While it is true that target organ effects must be communicated on SDS's and labels, the underlying references and language do not reflect OSHA's current regulation which has a much broader scope with the incorporation of GHS principles into HCS 2012. Therefore, this letter is presented for historical purposes only.
June 29, 1987
Mr. Frank L. Pellegrini
A Professional Corporation
133 South Eleventh Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Dear Mr. Pellegrini:
This is in response to your letter of April 14, concerning the Hazard Communication Standard's requirement for target organ effects on labels for shipped containers of hazardous chemicals.
The definition of "health hazard" located at 29 CFR 1910.1200(c) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012] includes a reference to Appendix A [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012], which provides further definitions and explanations of the scope of health hazards. Section 1910.1200(d) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012], "Hazard determination [now called hazard classification]", also, states that Appendix A is to be consulted for health hazards covered.
[This paragraph is obsolete] The first paragraph of Appendix A makes it clear that employees exposed to health hazards must be apprised of both the change in body function and the signs and symptoms that may occur to signal the changes. Appendix A includes a target organ categorization of health effects that may occur. Examples of signs and symptoms of exposure, as well as indications of substances which have been found to effect the target organs, are set forth at the end of Appendix A. The reference to the change in body function and to target organ effects in Appendix A makes it clear that "appropriate hazard warnings" for any given hazardous substances are those that warn about potential danger of significant risk. Appendix A. in referring to target organ effects states that "these examples are presented to illustrate the range and diversity of effects and hazards found in the workplace, and the broad scope employers must consider in this are, but are not intended to be all-inclusive." Appendix C lists sources that employers may use to evaluate the hazards of chemicals they produce or import and the body parts that may be effected.
It is proper to look to the preamble for the administrative construction of the standard. The preamble accompanying and explaining the standard supports the target organ interpretation. In regard to the definition of "health hazard," the preamble states as follows (48 FR 53,295):
The definition for "health hazard" has been modified somewhat by including it it the target organ classification of hazards that are proposed in Appendix A [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012]. This should clarify the required scope of hazards to be evaluated.
The preamble makes the following further comment under the hazard determination provision of Section 1910.1200(b) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012] (48 FR 53,296):
The term "health hazard" was defined very broadly in the proposal as a "chemical which, upon exposure, may result in the occurrence of acute or chronic health effects in employees." This definition was further expanded upon by Appendix A, which included a discussion of the difficulty of defining health hazards, and a categorization of health effects according to target organ. Included in the categorization were examples of both the signs and symptoms of overexposure and some specific substances which may affect those target organs. (Underlining added).
The "hazard warning" must convey the hazard of the chemical. Appendix A [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012] makes it clear that employees must be apprised of the change in body function and the signs and symptoms that may occur to signal that change.
It is our position that when Section 1910.1200(f)(1)(ii) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012] is read in conjunction with the definitions of `hazard warning' and `health hazard', set forth at 1910.1200(c) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012], and the provisions for hazard determination set forth in 1910.1200(d) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012], it is clear that the intent of the labeling requirement goes far beyond the effects must be included on the label is a reasonable interpretation of the 'appropriate hazard warning' requirement. OSHA feels that this interpretation is consistent with the underlying goal of the standard.
I hope your questions have been answered. If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.
Leo Carey, Director
Directorate of Field Operations
The official, public domain, OSHA version of this document is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19562&p_text_version=FALSE