Friday, April 25, 2014

Full Face Shield and Access to Water Hose

July 26, 1994

Ms. Claudia H**
Falls Church, Virginia 22046-1148

Dear Ms. H***s:

Thank you for your letter dated June 22 inquiring about your previous letters of October 4, and March 29 to Mr. Roger Clark requesting interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Medical and First Aid standards. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiries.

With regard to whether full face shields and access to a water hose can be used as a substitute for a commercially available eye wash facility to comply with 1926.50(g), please be advised that this is acceptable but only under limited conditions. In areas where the extent of possible exposure to injurious corrosive materials is very low, a specially designated pressure controlled and identified water hose can be used when proper personal protective equipment also is used (e.g. full face shield). The hose system must be equipped with a proper face and body wash nozzle and provide copious amounts of low velocity potable water. An appropriate portable eye wash device containing not less than one gallon of potable water, would also be acceptable under these conditions. At locations where hazardous chemicals are handled by employees (e.g. battery servicing facility), proper eyewash and body drenching equipment must be available.

With regard to preparing for unknown hazard emergencies, please be advised that employers are responsible to provide eyewash facilities only if the potential for exposure to corrosive material is known to exist or could reasonably be expected to exist.

Monday, April 21, 2014

List of corrosive materials and concentrations

April 14, 2008

Mr. Douglas A. P***

Albany, New York

Dear Mr. P***:

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?

Response: The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g), specify: "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

Question 2: What are the definition of "corrosive materials" and the definition of "exposed to"?

Response: Although the standards discussed above do not define these terms, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is instructive. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix A, defines a corrosive as:

A chemical that causes visible destruction of, or irreversible alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact. For example, a chemical is considered to be corrosive if, when tested on the intact skin of albino rabbits by the method described by the U.S. Department of Transportation in appendix A to 49 CFR part 173, it destroys or changes irreversibly the structure of the tissue at the site of contact following an exposure period of four hours. This term shall not refer to action on inanimate surfaces.
Generally speaking, corrosive materials have a very low pH (acids) or a very high pH (bases). Strong bases are usually more corrosive than acids. Examples of corrosive materials are sodium hydroxide (lye) and sulfuric acid.

As defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200(c),
"Exposure" or "exposed" means that an employee is subjected in the course of employment to a chemical that is a physical or health hazard, and includes potential (e.g.,, accidental or possible) exposure. "Subjected" in terms of health hazards includes any route of entry (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption.)
Question 3: Can you provide a listing of corrosive materials and concentrations that would trigger the requirement for emergency eyewashes and emergency showers?

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:
New York Public Employee Safety and Health Program
State Office Campus Building 12, Room 158
Albany, New York 12240

Normand Labbe, Program Manager
(518) 457-1263
(518) 457-5545 FAX

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interpretation of the First Aid Standard

December 11, 1996

Mr. Gregory M. F*** 

Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2971

This letter is a follow-up to the conversation that a member of my staff had with Ms. Karol Copper-Boggs, of your firm, regardingthe Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) interpretation of the First Aid standard, 29 CFR 1910.151.

Ms. Boggs explained to [my staff] that a client of your firm had some concerns regarding OSHA's interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.151. [The] recollection of the questions asked of [my staff] by Ms. Boggs is as follows:

Question 1: "Must an employer have individuals trained to render first aid?"

Answer: [No.] The OSHA requirement at 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states, "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. [Adequate] [f]irst aid supplies approved by the consulting physician shall be readily available." [emphasis added]
[This document was edited on 8/19/1999 to strike information that no longer reflects OSHA policy.]

OSHA's regulation does not set specific response time requirements for the term "near proximity", however, in areas where accidents resulting in suffocation, severe bleeding, or other life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness are likely, a 3 to 4 minute response time, from time of injury to time of administering first aid, is required. In other circumstances, i.e., where a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury is an unlikely outcome of an accident, a longer response time, such as 15 minutes, is acceptable. The rationale for requiring a 4 minute response time is brain death when the heart or breathing has stopped for that period of time.
[This letter was edited on 6/12/2002 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. Please see the
1/16/2007 letter to Mr. Brogan for the current policy.]

Question 2: "If an emergency situation were to occur where first aid was necessary and a trained employee were to panic, forgetting all of their training, and no first aid or improper first aid was administered could the employer be cited?"

Answer: If a trained employee were to panic in an emergency situation and not administer first aid or administer improper first aid, OSHA would not cite the employer. The employer would have met his obligation under the standard by having individuals trained to render first aid. The standard only requires employees to be trained in first aid, but does not address the actual performance of first aid in an emergency situation. Please note, however, that OSHA would conduct an investigation, if deemed necessary, to ensure that proper training certification, e.g., First Aid and CPR certificates were in order.

Question 3: "Would an employer be in violation of OSHA's First Aid standard if the employer were to issue a policy which recommends that employees call "911" in emergency situations?"

Answer: The purpose of first aid is to give injured employees some level of medical attention as quickly as possible to bridge the gap between the accident and full medical treatment. Therefore, the rendering of first aid should be encouraged by trained employees in addition to calling "911." Thus, an employer would not be in violation of OSHA's First Aid standard by issuing such a policy statement as long as the policy does not discourage the rendering of first aid by trained employees.

I hope this letter is responsive to your concerns. If we can be of further assistance please contact [the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850].


Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
[Office of General Industry Enforcement]

[Corrected 05/31/2007]

November 19, 1996

Ms. Renee Carter
Directorate of Compliance
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: First Aid Training Statute 29 CFR 1910.151

Dear Ms. Carter:

Recently, Karla Cooper-Boggs of my office discussed with you the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ("OSHA") interpretation of the first aid training statute, 29 CFR 1910.151. Outlined below is our understanding of that conversation.

You indicated that an employer must ensure that a number of its employees are trained in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.151, but that the employer is not required to ensure that the trained employee actually performs first aid. You stated that OSHA would not issue citations to the employer if its trained employee(s) rendered first aid improperly, or not at all.

It is also our understanding that an employer will not violate OSHA regulations by issuing a policy which recommends that employees call "911" in emergency situations, and that trained employees should attempt to administer first aid at their discretion so long as such a policy does not discourage the rendering of first aid by a trained employee.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ANSI Z358.1 as guidance to comply with 1910.151(c)

March 28, 2002

Mr. Scott K***
Independence, Ohio 44131

Dear Mr. K***:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You requested an interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.151, Medical Services and First Aid, specifically, section (c) regarding, "suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body." Your question has been restated below for clarity. Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.

Background: Your company, a large manufacturer and distributor of sulfuric acid, requires the services of many third party terminals and distributors to assist with the handling of your product. You have specific criteria when acquiring a new terminal that it must meet before a contract is signed. One of these requirements is the need for safety showers that meet or exceed OSHA requirements; OSHA has quoted ANSI Z358.1-1990 in several letters of interpretation. However, there is a new ANSI Z358.1-1998 standard that goes into much more detail and would require some facilities to make a significant capital expenditure to comply.

Question: Which ANSI standard does OSHA enforce?

Answer: ANSI standards become mandatory OSHA standards only when, and if, they are adopted by OSHA; ANSI Z358.1 was not adopted by OSHA. In comparison with the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), however, ANSI Z358.1 provides detailed information regarding the installation and operation of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. OSHA, therefore, has often referred employers to ANSI Z358.1 as a recognized source of guidance for protecting employees who are exposed to injurious corrosive materials.

OSHA would also take the ANSI standard into consideration when evaluating the adequacy of the protection provided by an employer. OSHA recognizes that there are differences between the 1990 and 1998 versions of ANSI Z358.1, and is planning to develop a compliance directive addressing this issue to ensure uniform and consistent enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.151(c). In the meantime, employers should assess the specific conditions in the workplace and determine whether compliance with the 1998 version of the ANSI Z358.1 will provide protection for employees that compliance with the 1990 version would not.