Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.120; 1910.120(a)(3) ; 1910.120(q); 1910.1200; 1910.1200(c)


June 23, 2005

Mr. Kenneth W. Woodlin
P.O. Box 717
Pittsburgh, PA 15230

Dear Mr. Woodlin:

Thank you for your January 18, 2005, facsimile to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requesting information on which OSHA regulations apply when handling waste material classified as "sludge exempt." This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within your original correspondence. Your question is paraphrased below, followed by OSHA's response.

Question: Under the Federal Sludge Exemption of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) hazardous waste regulations, a sludge exhibiting a characteristic of a hazardous waste is not a solid waste when reclaimed, and is, therefore, not a hazardous waste. Which OSHA standards would apply to workers handling this material, and what are the associated employer obligations for employee hazard communication? Since the material is not a "hazardous waste" due to the exemption, is the material, therefore, exempt from the Hazard Communication standard (HCS) and the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard?

Answer: All employers have the responsibility of providing safe and healthy working conditions for their workers. If employees are exposed to hazardous materials, employers have a responsibility to provide them with information about those exposures. OSHA's HCS, 29 CFR 1910.1200, applies to workplaces where hazardous chemicals are known to be present and to which employees are or may be exposed under normal conditions of use