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Title: 01/20/1987 - Clarification of the terms "appropriate hazard warning" and "mandatory".
Record Type: InterpretationStandard Number: 1910.1200(f); 1910.1200(d)(2)

ILPI Notes: This interpretation is based on and references HCS 1986 which was replaced by HCS 1994, both of which are now obsolete. It references portions of the standard that have since been deleted or changed. The conclusions are not valid under the current regulation and this letter is presented for historical purposes only.

January 20, 1987

Mr. D. S. Richardson
2655 Harland Drive
Hudson, Ohio 44236

Dear Mr. Richardson:

This is in response to your letter of December 13, 1986, requesting clarification of the terms "appropriate hazard warning" and "mandatory" as used in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012].

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Concerning "appropriate hazard warning," OSHA's guidelines to its compliance staff on the Hazard Communication Standard OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38A [obsolete; in context: CPL 2-2.38D | current regulation: CPL 02-02-079] Change 1, page A-11, enclosed states that the specific hazards indicated in the standards definition for "physical" and "health" hazards must be used in evaluating the appropriateness of specific warnings. In the example you presented, if the only scientific information available is the LC(50) of 5 milligrams per kilogram administered orally to rats, "highly toxic if ingested" may be the appropriate warning [obsolete; hazard wordings are now rigidly defined using hazard statements]. If the chemical causes specific target organ effects when ingested, then the specific target organ effects would be appropriate.

As stated in Appendix B of the Hazard Communication Standard [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012], the hazard determination [obsolete; a much more comprehensive hazard classification is now required] is performance-oriented and relies heavily on the professional judgment of the evaluator. Nevertheless, the hazard determination must examine all relevant data and produce a scientifically defensible evaluation. The results of any studies which are designed and conducted according to established scientific principles must be reported if statistically significant health effects are found. If these statistically significant health effects are known to the target organ level, then these health effects would be "appropriate."

If only general health effects are known, then it would be "appropriate" to list these on the label. [obsolete; the current regulation has specific labeling requirements that specify the wording to be used.

The Hazard Communication Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200(d)(2) [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012] states, Appendix A shall be consulted for the scope of health hazards covered. The term "mandatory" refers to the requirement to consult Appendix A [in context: HCS 1994 | current regulation: HCS 2012 for the scope of health hazards.

Please feel free to contact us, if further assistance is needed.


John A. Pendergrass
Assistant Secretary

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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=19520&p_text_version=FALSE