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|Title: 04/14/2008 - Request to provide list of corrosive materials and concentrations requiring use of emergency eyewashes and showers.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.132(d), 1910.133(a)(1), 1910.151(c)(1), 1910.1200(c), 1910.1200(g), 1926.50(g)|
April 14, 2008|
Mr. Douglas A. Page
Dear Mr. Page:
Thank you for your November 9, 2007 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You expressed concerns regarding OSHA's standards concerning eyewash and shower facilities. Your paraphrased scenario and our response follow.
Scenario: Many in the building industry are providing emergency eyewashes and emergency showers in very low-level hazard locations (e.g., a boiler room in an apartment house, dormitory, etc.) because of the ambiguous language of the standards. Where acids are used in BSL-3 laboratories, the method of compliance is rather straight-forward. In lower-level hazard applications, many in the industry are perplexed as to when these fixtures are required. To facilitate compliance with 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g), guidance from your office is needed.
Question 1: When are eyewash and shower fixtures required?
As defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200(c),
OSHA does not have a listing of corrosive materials that would require an eyewash and/or emergency shower. As 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g) state, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes and body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. One source of information on the corrosive nature of a chemical would be the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product(s) being used which must accompany those products. See 29 CFR 1910.1200(g). In addition, the employer must determine if employees can or will be exposed during the course of their duties to hazardous materials in such a way that the protections of an eyewash or emergency shower would be necessary. If hazardous materials are present at a worksite in such a way that exposure could not occur (for example, in sealed containers that will not be opened, or caustic materials in building piping), then an eyewash or emergency shower would not be necessary. However, if the building piping containing caustic materials has, at certain locations, a spigot or tap from which the contents are to be sampled or withdrawn and employees are expected to perform such tasks, then, certainly, an eyewash and/or emergency shower would be needed where this task is to occur.|
Under 29 CFR 1910.132(d), employers must perform a hazard assessment at their worksites to determine if personal protective equipment would be needed to protect their employees. Additionally, 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(1) specifically requires the use of eye and face protection when employees would be exposed to "liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids..." among other things. Therefore, an employer's hazard determination, conducted under the requirements of these standards, will help determine the necessity for PPE, as well as the necessity for eyewashes or showers as means of protecting employees from exposure to injurious corrosive materials.
Although the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is not covered by Federal OSHA because it is a state government agency (see 29 USC 652(5)), it is covered by the New York Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) program, which regulates the workplace safety and health of state and local government employees only. Private-sector employees in New York are covered by Federal OSHA. Therefore, state and local government employers in the State of New York must comply with State occupational safety and health requirements.
As a condition of plan approval, States are required to adopt and enforce occupational safety and health standards that are at least as effective as those promulgated by Federal OSHA 29 USC 667(c)(2). PESH has adopted the Federal OSHA standards, 12 NY ADC 800.3. These standards must be enforced at least as effectively as they are by Federal OSHA 29 USC 667(c)(2). If you would like further information regarding the enforcement of PEHA requirements, you may contact the New York Public Employee Safety and Health Program at:
Normand Labbe, Program Manager
(518) 457-5545 FAX
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=27181&p_text_version=FALSE