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|Title: 05/12/2003 - Determination of airborne concentrations of methylene chloride; protection of employees covered by 1910.1052.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1052; 1910.1052(k); 1910.1200|
Kenneth L. Spears, Captain
Fleet & Property Management
Florida Highway Patrol
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Neil Kirkman Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0500
Dear Mr. Spears:
Thank you for your February 21 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You have questions about an aerosol subject restraint (ASR) spray containing methylene chloride, identified as [product identity removed], that is manufactured by [manufacturer's name removed]. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. Our replies to your paraphrased questions and scenarios are provided below.
Scenario 1: Florida Highway Patrol sprays its employees with [manufacturer's name removed] methylene chloride-containing ASR ([product identity removed]) in training, prior to being issued this product for use during law enforcement activities.
Question 1: Is the Florida Highway Patrol covered by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, due to this practice?
Initially, the air concentration of methylene chloride at the point where the vaporization takes place is going to be much higher than, for example, the 3.25 ppm that [manufacturer's name removed] reports for a 1-second burst of spray. Therefore, the actual air concentration of methylene chloride in a sprayed individual's breathing zone should be measured by sampling and analyzing the air within his or her breathing zone.1
Air sampling could help to establish whether either the immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) level for methylene chloride of 5,000 ppm or OSHA's 15-minute short term exposure limit of 125 ppm is exceeded. Also, if there is any doubt as to whether OSHA's 8-hour, time-weighted average exposure limit for methylene chloride (25 ppm) is exceeded, then this exposure should also be determined by conducting personal air sampling.
Reply: No. The Florida Highway Patrol is not required to comply with any OSHA rules because, as we stated in our reply to Question 1, it is not a covered employer under the Act. However, employers covered by either Federal OSHA or a State plan must comply with the methylene chloride and hazard communication standards when using this product.
Some of the steps that the covered employers must take include:
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Note: The methylene chloride standard contains within it references to portions of the hazard communication standard that apply to methylene chloride. Moreover, 29 CFR 1910.1052(k) specifies the hazards associated with methylene chloride that must be communicated on labels and in material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in accordance with the requirements of the hazard communication standard. Please refer to the methylene chloride and hazard communication standards for more details on their requirements.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement 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=24566&p_text_version=FALSE