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Title: 12/23/2014 - Acceptable use of pictograms on chemical labels under the revised Hazard Communication standard.
Record Type: InterpretationStandard Number: 1910.1200(f)(1); 1910.1200(f)(1)(iv); 1910.1200 Appendix C

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov

December 23, 2014

Ms. Elena Frenkel
Senior Regulatory Officer
PHARMCO-AAPER
58 Vale Road
Brookfield, Connecticut 06804

Dear Ms. Frenkel,

Thank you for your letter dated September 5, 2014, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was referred to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs for a response. You specifically requested an interpretation of OSHA's Hazard Communication standard (HCS 2012), 29 CFR 1910.1200, regarding acceptable use of pre-printed empty red frames on labels. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to issues not delineated within your original correspondence. Your paraphrased question and our response are below.

corrosives pictogram
Get your GHS-compliant pictogram labels and signs from Safety Emporium.

Scenario: Your company has designed and purchased label stock that includes four pre-printed, empty red frames to accommodate the required GHS pictograms. For products where only a portion of the empty red frames are filled with pictograms, the unused frames on the label are currently being completely covered (blacked-out) with large black diamonds, as suggested in OSHA's December 20, 2012, letter of interpretation to Mr. Gary Valasek. However, you ask to use an alternate method.

Question: Is it acceptable to print "Intentionally Blank," "No GHS Pictogram," or other similarly phrased text in black lettering inside of an empty red frame to indicate that no additional hazards are associated with a chemical?

Response: No. The HCS does not allow the use of blank red frames on labels. OSHA also does not permit words, the letter "X," or other means to indicate that the red frame has been intentionally left blank. In 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix C, Allocation of Label Elements (Mandatory), C.2.3.1 states, A square red frame set at a point without a hazard symbol is not a pictogram and is not permitted on the label. As OSHA explained in the preamble to the final rule, blank red frames that are marked to indicate that they have been intentionally left blank contribute to clutter on the label and distract from the primary message. 77 Fed. Reg. 17574, 17700 (Mar. 26, 2012).

The blacked-out option that your company is currently using is compliant with the requirements of the HCS 2012 . Please be advised that if a blank red frame is not fully covered and filled in, the label would not be in compliance.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs


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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=29429&p_text_version=FALSE