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|Title: 11/02/1990 - Nuisance spills are not considered emergencies.||Standard Number: 1910.120, 1910.1200|
November 2, 1990
Mr. Dean G. Kratz
McGrath, North, Mullin & Kratz, P.C.
One Central Park Plaza
222 South Fifteenth Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
Dear Mr. Kratz:
This is in response to your August 7, 1990, letter where you indicated that 29 CFR 1910.120 does not apply because all example conditions referenced by your client can be "absorbed, neutralized or otherwise controlled at the time of the release by employees in the immediate area, or by maintenance personnel."
The position that we presented to Mr. Larry Huston in our July 25, 1990, letter continues to be our position. Nuisance spills, minor releases, etc., which do not require immediate attention (due to lack of danger to the employees) are not considered emergencies. The quantity of product spilled does not by itself determine if an incidental spill has occurred. Variables include the type of material spilled and the location of the spill. An ordinary spill that can be safely handled by workers is not an emergency. Such employees must have the proper equipment and training under the other OSHA standards, such as the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). However, the examples described by Mr. Huston seem to indicate a potential for exposure of employees to hazardous substances and in amounts in excess of those that could be categorized as ordinary. Anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, and some agricultural chemicals are quite capable of creating emergency spills.|
I hope this clarifies the issue. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Hazardous materials spill cleanup training DVD's and other safety training materials are available at Safety Emporium.
Patricia K. Clark Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
August 7, 1990
Dear Ms. Clark:
I have been asked to respond to your letter of July 25 to Larry Huston wherein you advise him that Section (q) of 29 CFR 1910.120 applies to the ConAgra facilities where they (1) use anhydrous ammonia as a cooling agent, (2) manufacture, process, and store agricultural farm chemicals, and (3) use chlorine as a bleaching agent during the processing of flour for baking. Your conclusion in this regard ignores the following part of the definition of emergency response in Section (a)(3) of 1910.120:
If you have any other thoughts or suggestions on this matter, please let me know.
Dean G. Kratz
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=20115&p_text_version=FALSE