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U.S. Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939

EFFECTIVE DATE:   August 13, 2013


                    Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal
                    Mine Safety and Health

                    KEVIN G. STRICKLIN  
                    Administrator for
                    Coal Mine Safety and Health

SUBJECT:     OSHAs Revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29
                    C.F.R. 1910.1200) as Compliance with MSHAs Existing Hazard
                    Communication (HazCom) Standard (30 C.F.R. Part 47)

This Program Policy Letter (PPL) applies to all mine operators, contractors, miners, miners representatives, and Metal and Nonmetal and Coal Mine Safety and Health enforcement personnel.

The purpose of this PPL is to clarify that, as indicated below, mine operators compliant with OSHAs Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) are also in compliance with MSHAs Hazard Communication (HazCom) standards.

MSHAs HazCom standards (30 C.F.R. Part 47 Hazard Communication) require mine operators to develop, implement, and maintain a written HazCom program. Operators must identify chemicals, make a hazard determination, ensure that containers of hazardous chemicals have labels, have and make available a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical used or produced at the mine; and instruct miners on the physical and health hazards of the chemicals in the miners work area, protective measures, and contents of the HazCom program.

OSHA recently published an update to its Hazard Communication Standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200 (77 F.R. 17574), incorporating the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Major changes to OSHAs HCS include a new system of classifying types and degrees of hazards, changes to labeling requirements, and changes to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (formerly the MSDS).

Hazard Determination
Section 47.21 requires operators to evaluate each chemical brought on mine property and each chemical produced on mine property to determine if it is hazardous as specified in Table 47.21. Under Table 47.21, one basis for determining if a chemical (including a chemical mixture) is hazardous is whether available evidence of its hazards exists. OSHAs HCS ( 1910.1200(d)) requires hazard determinations in accordance with Appendix A (health hazards criteria) and Appendix B (physical hazards criteria) of that standard. Hazard determinations made using OSHAs HCS and Appendices A and B meet the requirements of MSHAs existing standard 47.21.

Container Labels and Other Forms of Warning
Section 47.41 requires operators to ensure that each container of a hazardous chemical has a label. Operators must prepare a container label for each hazardous chemical produced at the mine. When the operator must prepare a label, section 47.42 requires that the label include a chemical identity and appropriate hazard warnings. On labels for customers, operators also must include contact information for the operator or other responsible party. OSHAs HCS ( 1910.1200(f)) states that those required to make labels for hazardous chemicals include on the label the product identifier and chemical identity, which meet MSHAs chemical identity requirement. The label also must include a signal word (such as danger), hazard statement, pictogram (visually depicting the hazard), and precautionary statements. These elements constitute appropriate hazard warnings under the MSHA standard. Finally, OSHAs labels must include contact information for the responsible party, meeting MSHAs contact information requirement. For these reasons, labels prepared in accordance with 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200(f) meet MSHAs labeling requirements at 30 C.F.R. 47.42.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
Section 47.51 requires that operators must have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical which they produce or use at the mine, and that operators must prepare an MSDS for each hazardous chemical they produce. When an operator must prepare an MSDS under 47.52 and Table 47.52, the MSDS must contain the following information: chemical identity, chemical properties, physical and health hazards, exposure limits, carcinogenicity, safe use, control measures, emergency information, and date prepared or revised.

OSHAs ( 1910.1200(g)) requires chemical manufacturers or importers to develop or obtain a safety data sheet (SDS) for each hazardous chemical. When these parties must prepare the SDS, the SDS must contain the following information, among other things: chemical identification, hazard identification, composition/information on ingredients, first aid measures, fire fighting measures, accidental release information, handling and storage, exposure controls/personal protection, physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity, toxicological information, and the date prepared or revised. The SDS includes all information MSHA requires on its MSDS and therefore complies with 47.52. Also, at 47.11 MSHA defines an MSDS as [w]ritten or printed material concerning a hazardous chemical; the SDS satisfies this definition.

Written Program
Mine operators are required to develop and implement a written HazCom program under 30 C.F.R. 47.31 and 47.32 that includes how the HazCom standards are put into practice at the mine through the use of hazard determination, MSDSs, labels and other forms of warning, and miner training. Therefore, if a mine operator makes hazard determinations, develops or uses SDSs, and/or develops or uses labels in accordance with OSHAs HCS, MSHA expects operators to update their written programs accordingly.

Title 30 C.F.R. 47.2 requires operators to provide training to miners. Such training includes information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mines HazCom program. MSHAs HazCom compliance guide found at provides further information regarding requirements for miner training under the HazCom standards. MSHA expects operators to provide appropriate training if hazard determinations, SDSs and/or labels are developed or used in accordance with OSHAs revised HCS.

MSHA developed its HazCom standard to be compatible with OSHAs HCS. This guidance clarifies that OSHAs newly revised HCS continues to be compatible with MSHAs Part 47 HazCom standards. While OSHAs HCS is compatible with MSHAs existing HazCom standards, some aspects of the hazard classification may not be compatible with other existing MSHA standards, particularly those standards that define and address safety of physical hazards. Mine operators must comply with all existing MSHA standards concerning physical hazards as they are defined in those standards.

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, 30 U.S.C. 801 et seq; 30 C.F.R. Part 47.

Internet Availability
This PPL may be viewed on the World Wide Web by accessing the MSHA home page ( and by choosing Compliance Info and Program Policy Letters.

Issuing Offices and Contact Persons
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Chief, Division of Health
Reginald J. Richards, DrPH, CIH, (202)693-9600
E-mail address:

Coal Mine Safety and Health
Chief, Division of Health
Robert A. Thaxton, (202)693-9515
E-mail address:

MSHA Program Policy holders
Underground surface mine operators
Surface mine operators
Special interest groups
Miners Representatives