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|Title: 09/12/1990 - Hazard Communication Standard, pertinent to distributors of hazardous chemicals.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1200|
September 12, 1990
Mr. Hal Marsolais
National Retail Hardware Association
5822 West 7th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46278
Dear Mr. Marsolais:
This is in response to your letter of May 23, addressed to Mr. William C. Lesser of the Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor. As you were informed by Mr. Lesser, your letter was transferred to us for response; I apologize for the delay of this reply.
You requested an interpretation of requirements of the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, pertinent to distributors of hazardous chemicals. In your letter, you state:
"Specifically what we would propose to do is provide a central inventory of MSDS for our industry. Each retailer would have 24-hour access to a toll-free hotline to request specific MSDS sheets for customers or employees. We propose to make this sheet available by direct computer link, fax, priority mail or regular mail. Emergency information would also be transmitted verbally in the event of a spill or breakage (this would provide information even faster than trying to look up a file copy from among 3,000-5,000 MSDS sheets). Our proposal would require vendors to transmit all MSDS to a central facility. This would help insure an accurate and current file and our 24-hour availability would greatly improve current industry accessibility to the information."
It is important to note that the specific chemical's MSDS itself, not just "MSDS information" must be available to workers. If, as outlined in your proposal, the MSDS utilized in your electronic system is specific to each product and contains 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.|
OSHA realizes that the requirement of the HCS to supply MSDSs and labels for hazardous chemicals may have imposed additional paperwork burdens on retail hardware distributors, and as you point out in your letter, OSHA has proposed a change in these requirements in the 1988 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on certain provisions of the HCS. The unimpeded downstream flow of hazard information is key to achieving the goals of the HCS. Distributors' transmittal of the MSDS and appropriate labels provide downstream employers with the information they need to implement employee protection programs. It also provides necessary hazard information to employees so they can participate in and support the protective measures in place at their workplaces.
400,000 MSDS's in your shirt pocket...
with the MSDS Hazard Communication Mobile Desktop from Safety Emporium.
We hope this discussion has been helpful to you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.
Patricia K. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs
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=20084&p_text_version=FALSE