Thursday, May 30, 2013

Labeling & SDS Changes in new Hazcom Regulations

Q. How will workplace labeling provisions be changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?
A. The current standard provides employers with flexibility regarding the type of system to be used in their workplaces and OSHA has retained that flexibility in the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Employers may choose to label workplace containers either with the same label that would be on shipped containers for the chemical under the revised rule, or with label alternatives that meet the requirements for the standard. Alternative labeling systems such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 Hazard Rating and the Hazardous Material Information System (HMIS) are permitted for workplace containers. However, the information supplied on these labels must be consistent with the revised HCS, e.g., no conflicting hazard warnings or pictograms. 

Q. How is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?
A. The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) will remain essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence.
Paragraph (g) of the final rule provides the headings of information to be included on the SDS and the order in which they are to be provided. In addition, Appendix D provides the information to be included under each heading. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.
The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:
  • Section 1. Identification
  • Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
  • Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
  • Section 4. First-Aid measures
  • Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
  • Section 6. Accidental release measures
  • Section 7. Handling and storage
  • Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
  • Section 10. Stability and reactivity
  • Section 11. Toxicological information
  • Section 12. Ecological information
  • Section 13. Disposal considerations
  • Section 14. Transport information
  • Section 15. Regulatory information
  • Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision
The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.

Q. Will TLVs be required on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
A. OSHA is retaining the requirement to include the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) on the safety data sheet (SDS) in the revised Standard. OSHA finds that requiring TLVs on the SDS will provide employers and employees with useful information to help them assess the hazards presented by their workplaces. In addition to TLVs, OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs), and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the safety data sheet are also required.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Senate Bill to give EPA power to ban chemicals

In an article by Michael Hawthorne in the Chicago Tribune is noted the details of this proposed bill:

In a rare display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, a group of key senators unveiled legislation Wednesday that would require chemical companies to provide more health and safety information about their products and give regulators more power to force harmful compounds off the market.
The compromise bill, supported by some health advocates and the chemical industry's chief trade group, would overhaul a 1976 federal law that by all accounts has failed to protect Americans from harmful chemicals added to household products, including furniture, baby products, toys and electronics.
Sponsored by Democrat Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Republican David Vitter of Louisiana, the proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act for the first time would require the Environmental Protection Agency to review the safety of more than 84,000 industrial chemicals, many of which already were on the market when Congress last acted on the issue nearly four decades ago.
The EPA also would get more authority to order health and safety tests for new chemicals, eliminating a system that has allowed companies to put scores of compounds on the market with little or no study about potential hazards to people and wildlife.
The bill would give the EPA authority to ban or restrict the use of chemicals if the agency finds that they pose unacceptable risks, a process that is now all but impossible. Under current law, the government couldn't even ban asbestos, a well-documented carcinogen that has killed thousands of people who suffered devastating lung diseases.
"Every parent wants to know that the chemicals used in everyday products have been proven safe, but our current chemical laws fail to give parents that peace of mind," said Lautenberg, who has been pushing for reform since 2005. "Our bipartisan bill would fix the flaws with current law and ensure that chemicals are screened for safety."
Democrats revived chemical safety reform last summer after a Tribune investigation about toxic flame retardants, many of which remain on the market despite studies linking them to health problems. A Lautenberg-sponsored bill moved out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a party-line vote but faltered amid opposition from the chemical industry.
After Vitter took over as the committee's ranking Republican this year, he restarted negotiations with Lautenberg about a potential compromise. The two senators emerged with legislation co-sponsored by members of both parties, including Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and backed by major interest groups on both sides of the debate.
"Our bill strikes the right balance between strengthening consumer confidence in the safety of chemicals while also promoting innovation and the growth of an important sector of our economy," Vitter said.
Some leading industry officials began supporting the idea of revamping the chemical safety law after a growing number of states, motivated by a lack of action at the federal level, enacted bans on specific compounds. Some, including California and Washington, established programs to study chemicals and draw attention to harmful substances.
Cal Dooley, president of the American Chemistry Council, vowed the influential trade group would push to move the compromise bill through the Senate and the House, where the Republican majority has voted several times since 2010 to strip the EPA of its powers.
"A sensible, strong and workable bipartisan solution ... is more important than ever, not only for our industry but for the countless others that rely on chemical products," Dooley said.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

OSHA Brief: Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms Part 6

Workplace Labels

OSHA has not changed the general requirements for workplace labeling. Employers have the option to create their own workplace labels. They can either provide all of the required information that is on the
label from the chemical manufacturer or, the product identifier and words, pictures, symbols or a combination thereof, which in combination with other information immediately available to employees, provide specific information regarding the hazards of the chemicals.

If an employer has an in-plant or workplace system of labeling that meets the requirements of HazCom 1994, the employer may continue to use this system in the workplace as long as this system, in conjunction with other information immediately available to the employees, provides the employees with the information on all of the health and physical hazards of the hazardous chemical. This workplace labeling system may include signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating procedures, or other such written materials to identify hazardous chemicals. Any of these labeling methods or a combination thereof may be used instead of a label from the manufacturer, importer or distributer as long as the employees have immediate access to
all of the information about the hazards of the chemical. Workplace labels must be in English. Other languages may be added to the label if applicable.

If the employer chooses to use the pictograms that appear in Appendix C on the workplace (or in-plant) labels, these pictograms may have a black border, rather than a red border.

Employers may use additional instructional symbols that are not included in OSHA’s HCS pictograms on the workplace labels. An example of an instructional pictogram is a person with goggles, denoting that goggles
must be worn while handling the given chemical. Including both types of pictograms on workplace labels is acceptable. The same is true if the employer wants to list environmental pictograms or PPE pictograms from the HMIS to identify protective measures for those handling the chemical.

Employers may continue to use rating systems such as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) diamonds or HMIS requirements for workplace labels as long as they are consistent with the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard and the employees have immediate access to the specific hazard information as discussed above. An employer using NFPA or HMIS labeling must, through training, ensure that its employees are fully aware of the hazards of the chemicals used.

If an employer transfers hazardous chemicals from a labeled container to a portable container that is only intended for immediate use by the employee who performs the transfer, no labels are required for the  portable container.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

OSHA Brief: Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms Part 5


It is important to note that the OSHA pictograms do not replace the diamondshaped labels that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires for the transport of chemicals, including chemical drums, chemical totes, tanks or other containers. Those labels must be on the external part of a shipped container and must meet the DOT requirements set forth in 49 CFR 172, Subpart E. If a label has a DOT transport
pictogram, Appendix C.2.3.3 states that the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear. However, DOT does not view the HCS pictogram as a conflict and for some international trade both pictograms may need to be present on the label. Therefore, OSHA intends to revise C.2.3.3. In the meantime, the agency will allow both DOT and HCS pictograms for the same hazard on a label. While the DOT diamond label is required for all hazardous chemicals on the outside shipping containers, chemicals in smaller containers
inside the larger shipped container do not require the DOT diamond but do require the OSHA pictograms.

Labels must be legible, in English, and prominently displayed. Other languages may be displayed in addition to English. Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors who become newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of a chemical must revise the label within six months.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers are responsible for maintaining the labels on the containers, including, but not limited to, tanks, totes, and drums. This means that labels must be maintained on chemicals in a manner which continues to be legible and the pertinent information (such as the hazards and directions for use) does not get defaced (i.e.,
fade, get washed off) or removed in any way.

The employer is not responsible for updating labels on shipped containers, even if the shipped containers are labeled under HazCom 1994. The employer must relabel items if the labels are removed or defaced. However, if the employer is aware of newly-identified hazards that are not disclosed on the label, the
employer must ensure that the workers are aware of the hazards as discussed below under workplace labels.