Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HCS Update to align with GHS

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has Extended Review of the Final Rule regarding the major revision of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the Globally Harmonized System. This Final Rule was received on October 25, 2011 for the 90-Review by the OMB. As of January 24, 2012 (the 90-day deadline), the OMB has extended the review until further notice.

You may visit us online to place a preorder for any 2012 HCS OSHA compliance products.

DOL/OSHA RIN: 1218-AC20 Publication ID: Spring 2011
Title: Hazard Communication
Abstract: OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and material safety data sheets to convey the hazards and associated protective measures to users of the chemicals. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces are required to have a hazard communication program, including labels on containers, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and training for employees. Within the United States (U.S.), there are other Federal agencies that also have requirements for classification and labeling of chemicals at different stages of the life cycle. Internationally, there are a number of countries that have developed similar laws that require information about chemicals to be prepared and transmitted to affected parties. These laws vary with regard to the scope of substances covered, definitions of hazards, the specificity of requirements (e.g., specification of a format for MSDSs), and the use of symbols and pictograms. The inconsistencies between the various laws are substantial enough that different labels and safety data sheets must often be used for the same product when it is marketed in different nations. The diverse and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements can create confusion among those who seek to use hazard information. Labels and safety data sheets may include symbols and hazard statements that are unfamiliar to readers or not well understood. Containers may be labeled with such a large volume of information that important statements are not easily recognized. Development of multiple sets of labels and safety data sheets is a major compliance burden for chemical manufacturers, distributors, and transporters involved in international trade. Small businesses may have particular difficulty in coping with the complexities and costs involved. As a result of this situation, and in recognition of the extensive international trade in chemicals, there has been a long-standing effort to harmonize these requirements and develop a system that can be used around the world. In 2003, the United Nations adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Countries are now adopting the GHS into their national regulatory systems. OSHA published the NPRM on September 30, 2009 and held public hearings in Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA in March 2010. The record closed on June 1, 2010. OSHA is scheduled to publish the final rule in August 2011.
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL) Priority: Economically Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage
Major: Yes Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.1200; 29 CFR 1915.1200; 29 CFR 1917.28; 29 CFR 1918.90; 29 CFR 1926.59; 29 CFR 1928.21
Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657
Legal Deadline: None
Anticipated Costs and Benefits:
The estimates of the costs and benefits are still under development.
OSHA's risk analysis is under development.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hazcom Standard Clarification

(1) Can chemical manufacturers who sell their products, in part, through company-owned and operated retail and wholesale outlets avail themselves of the provisions in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) permitting the distribution of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on request to walk-up retail customers?

(2) Can chemical manufacturers who operate as wholesale distributors serving industrial and construction trades people, as described in subparagraphs (v) and (vi), and who also own and operate "commercial" stores, take the same position (i.e., distribute MSDS directly upon request)? Commercial stores may serve walk-up trade; consumers as well as businesses may purchase products at such outlets.

Standard Interpretation

For hazard communication purposes, the standard allows a business entity functioning as the chemical manufacturer to meet the standard's requirements as the chemical manufacturer, and also when distributing the product in a retail store, as the retail distributor, meet the standard's requirements for retail distributors. A retail distributor is one that primarily sells to the general public for personal or household use. The intent of the provision, (g)(7)(iii), was to reduce the burden on retail distributors because they typically do not sell to commercial customers.

We must disagree with your statement "...it is also acceptable, with respect to products manufactured by another manufacturer, for these retail distributors to refer persons requesting an MSDS to the other manufacturer." When an employer with a commercial account at a retail distributor requests an MSDS, the MSDS must be provided with the purchase by the retail distributor. In this case, the retail distributor cannot refer the customer to the chemical manufacturer for the MSDS. The HCS (1910.1200(g)(7)(v)) does allow a retail distributor, who does not have commercial accounts, to refer the employer to the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor for the sheet.

OSHA also allows wholesale distributors to provide an MSDS on request in over-the-counter sales operations as described under paragraph (g)(7)(iv) of the standard. This provision is for over-the-counter type operations only. As stated in the preamble to the final rule (59 FR 6162), "wholesale distributors that have over-the-counter sales should be permitted to provide MSDSs on request as their operations are similar to those of concern in retail establishments." Consequently, the commercial stores (wholesale distributors) mentioned in your letter could choose the alternative compliance strategy in 1910.1200(g)(7)(iv).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Do you know what is in your chemicals

You must know what is in your chemicals to be sure you’re taking the necessary steps to keep your employees safe.

You must be sure you are compliant with all of the local, state, federal and international regulations with jurisdiction over your facility?

And when you think of the word ‘chemical’, are you only thinking about pure chemical substances such as mercury and salt? You must also include all of your products and blends that are comprised of chemicals. For example, paint is notorious for having blends of dozens of chemicals.

Hazard communication has never been more important to the health of your employees or your company. Today that means understanding the toxic nature of your chemical and product inventory at the ingredient level. If not properly understood, every chemical or chemical blend in your inventory has the potential to create safety and compliance issues. With the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification final rule just around the corner, employers must ensure proper training of employees is in place.

National Safety Compliance has several items to assist companies in complying with OSHA Regulations 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication Standard. NSC has also provided a web site where you can preorder various compliance items to make sure you are in alignment with the new GHS.