Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1450

April 24, 1991

Mr. William M. Bernhart, CIH
Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie
Attorneys At Law
Two Chatham Center, Tenth Floor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-3499

Dear Mr. Bernhart:

This is in response to your letter of March 28, requesting an interpretation of the scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Laboratory Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450. Your first question asks whether an employer can implement a comprehensive chemical hygiene plan for all laboratory operations regardless of whether they are covered by this standard and be in compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), including the secondary container labeling requirements. The answer is yes, if all requirements of the Laboratory Standard (the comprehensive chemical hygiene plan being just one of the more important requirements) are met, compliance with HCS with respect to coverage of laboratories would also be achieved.

The Laboratory Standard covers only facilities meeting the criteria of "laboratory use" and "laboratory scale" and exclude procedures that are part of a production process. Facilities such as dental laboratories or photographic laboratories are considered production facilities and are covered under the full requirements of HCS. Laboratories, such as quality control laboratories, are covered by the more limited provisions of the HCS (see 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(3)); not all provisions of the HCS are applicable to these types of operations.

In regards to container labeling in laboratories, employers are only required to ensure labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals are not removed or defaced.

Your second question asks whether OSHA would review an employer's compliance from the standpoint of the Laboratory Standard in the above situation, the answer is yes if the Laboratory Standard is the applicable standard. If the HCS is applicable to the laboratory operation (i.e., quality control laboratory), then any citation for violations would be issued under 29 CFR 1910.1200