Back to HWF Library Page Gossman Consulting, Inc.


Gossman Consulting, Inc.                   November, 1991

Gossman Consulting, Inc. (GCI) is an environmental consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States and abroad. GCI specializes in the recycle and reuse of hazardous waste as fuels, especially in the cement manufacturing industry. We also provide a broad range of services including training program design and implementation, facility audits, laboratory services, laboratory design and setup and other environmental services. To keep our clients apprised of current developments in the hazardous waste fuel (HWF) field, we have begun publication of "HWF Notes-". Each issue will focus on an important regulatory or technical issue.


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a notice of public hearings (56FR 48720) for their Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) on September 25, 1991. The HCS was originally published in 55FR 46400 on November 2, 1990. The record is to remain open through January 1, 1992.

MSHA is requesting comment in a number of areas, including the following:

- potential impact of an MSHA HCS that differs from the OSHA HCS

- allowable time period to get into compliance

- what official sources of health hazard information should be used to make hazardous determinations (IARC, NTP, ACGIH)

- MSDS procedures in general and specific suggestions for developing a more accurate, uniform, useful and understandable MSDS

- training requirements and procedures

The MSHA "Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on a simple concept - that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to when working." MSHA recognizes that "Sometimes people think of chemicals as being only liquids in containers." MSHA defines chemical as "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of these." "The HCS covers chemicals in all physical forms - liquids, solids, gases, vapors, fumes, and mists - whether or not they are contained." This includes hazardous waste fuels (HWF). A detailed chemical inventory and evaluation will be required to implement HCS.

"The HCS requires information to be prepared and transmitted to employees regarding hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed." MSHA defines exposed as "Being subjected, or potentially subjected, to a hazardous chemical in the course of employment through any route of entry, such as inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption, during normal operating conditions or in a foreseeable emergency." MSHA points out that "most chemicals used in the workplace have some hazard potential, and this is covered by the rule."


The written hazard communication program "describes how the standard will be implemented." MSHA points out that the "preparation of a program is not just a paper exercise - all of the elements must be implemented in the workplace in order to be in compliance with the rule." In addition, "the written program has to reflect what you are doing in your workplace.", and "must describe how the requirements for labels and other forms of warning, MSDSs, and employee training are going to be met."


The use of an MSDS is intended to "provide detailed information on each hazardous chemical", including the following:

- potential hazardous effects

- physical characteristics

- chemical characteristics

- recommendations for appropriate protective measures

Hazardous waste fuels would be exempt from the MSDS requirement.


In the preamble to the proposed regulation MSHA states, "It is not sufficient to merely read material to employees or simply hand them material to read." "A properly conducted training program will ensure comprehension and understanding." "You want to create a climate where employees feel free to ask questions."

"In reviewing your written hazard communication program with regard to training, the following items need to be considered:

(i) Designation of person responsible for conducting training.

(ii) The program format and training materials to be used, such as classroom instruction, or audiovisuals.

(iii) Elements of the training program (must be consistent with the elements in §46.7).

(iv) Procedures to train employees prior to their initial assignment to work with a hazardous chemical and when a new chemical hazard is introduced into the workplace."


MSHA Inspectors are given very specific guidance in the HCS. The following checklist is provided in the HCS to ensure you are in compliance with the rule:

Prepare an inventory of chemicals.

Develop a written hazard communication program.

Ensure containers of hazardous chemicals brought onto mine property are labeled.

Obtain an MSDS for each hazardous chemical brought onto mine property.

Develop an MSDS for each hazardous chemical produced on the mine property.

Evaluate all chemicals produced or used to determine if they are hazardous.

Make MSDSs and written hazard communication program available to employees.

Conduct training of employees.

Your written hazard communication program may be requested at the outset of an MSHA inspection. MSHA inspectors will also be talking with employees. "If the MSHA inspector finds that the training is deficient, the operator will be cited for deficiency..." The inventory of chemicals itemized previously must include the constituents in hazardous waste fuel. All hazardous chemicals of greater than or equal to 1% concentration must be included as well as carcinogens down to 0.1%. Components with concentrations below these thresholds which could present a health risk would also require listing. Receipt and handling of hazardous waste containing unknown or unidentified hazardous constituents would be considered a violation according to sources in MSHA. It was pointed out that exact quantitation of hazardous constituents is not needed, only qualitative data indicative of concentrations above the thresholds would generally be required.

A hazard determination, both health and physical, would be required for each hazardous constituent or mixture of constituents. A wide variety of technical references and sources of toxicological information is provided in the regulations to assist in this evaluation.


MSHA recommends "early identification of responsible employees and involvement of them in the development of your plan of action" so that you can develop "a more effective program." Gossman Consulting, Inc. (GCI) can perform a general audit to help identify potential hazards and begin to assist your key employees in developing your program.

HCS would require the development of hazardous chemical lists similar to those already in use at some hazardous waste facilities at cement plants. Early development of such a program can assist in minimizing the impact as well as control corporate liabilities. GCI has been developing a database of health and safety information on compounds which have been or may be found in hazardous waste fuel.

In addition, GCI can help you develop the training program and written communication program. It may simply require an audit of your existing written training program followed by appropriate modifications. GCI looks forward to applying our expertise to helping you meet your regulatory needs.