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|Title: 02/08/2005 - MSDS's must be provided to employees who package/process drugs for distribution into final form if they contain hazardous chemicals.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1200; 1910.1200(b)(6); 1910.1200(b)(6)(vii); 1910.1200(e)|
February 8, 2005|
Ms. Monica Dahlem
Dear Ms. Dahlem:
Thank you for your April 6, 2004 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Office of Evaluation and Analysis. Your letter was forwarded to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP), we received it on April 28, 2004. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request for clarification. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any statement or scenario not delineated within your original correspondence. Specifically, you requested information regarding 29 CFR 1910.1200, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), as it relates to drugs and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Your paraphrased question and our response are provided below.
Question: Stericycle Pharmaceutical Returns Center (SPRC) processes prescription and over the counter drugs in their final form for distribution. These drugs are in the forms of tablets, pills, capsules, ointments, creams, gels, injections, and liquids. Would SPRC be exempt from the MSDS requirement under 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)(vii)?
SPRC is therefore considered a "chemical manufacturer" under the HCS, which defines this term as "an employer with a workplace where chemical(s) are produced for use or distribution." The term "produce" under the HCS means to "manufacture, process...or repackage" [29 CFR 1910.1200(c)]. Because SPRC is considered a chemical manufacturer under the HCS and the potential for exposure exists, employees are entitled to the information that is contained on the MSDSs.
In addition, the exemption under paragraph (b)(6) of the standard states that the HCS does not apply to "Any drug...in solid final form for direct administration to the patient..." The intent of the HCS is to protect employees from hazardous exposures. In the situation you described, employees are counting tablets, pills, and capsules in preparation for packaging and are, therefore, handling the drugs in a manner that would potentially result in exposure to the dust from crumbled pills, tablets, or capsules. Where there is potential for exposure, employees are covered by the standard and have the right to know the hazards of the chemicals to which they are exposed. The same principle applies to the processing of any liquids, injections, gels, and ointments, for which there is no exemption under the HCS.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
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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=25054&p_text_version=FALSE