Friday, March 28, 2014

NIST Labeling of Small Packages

June 4 2013

Dr. Robert L. W***
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

Dear Dr. W***:

Thank you for your November 15, 2012, email to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. Your questions concerned the labeling requirements regarding the revised Hazard Communication standard (HCS 2012), 29 CFR 1910.1200. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements herein, and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your paraphrased questions and our responses are below.

Background: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) produces nearly 1,300 Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) used to assure the accuracy of customers' measurements. NIST sells approximately 33,000 SRMs per year. Most of these are in small containers. Placing all the required information on a HCS 2012 compliant label1 will present a significant challenge to NIST and other distributors who must label small containers of hazardous chemicals, such as 5 milliliter (mL) vials or 50 mL bottles. 

Question 1: Can NIST provide a key (e.g., a numbering system) linking each individual 5 mL vial or 50 mL bottle to an accompanying sheet(s) containing the information required on the HCS 2012 label?

Response: No. Paragraph 1910.1200(f)(1) requires the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals leaving the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: (1) a product identifier; (2) signal word; (3) hazard statement(s); (4) pictogram(s); (5) precautionary statement(s); and (6) the name, address, and telephone number of the responsible party. As such, a key or numbering system is not compliant with the HCS 2012 and therefore cannot be used on labels in place of required hazard information for shipped containers.

Question 2: Can NIST apply the same labeling exceptions and exemptions allowed by the Department of Transportation for small quantities and omit the HCS 2012 label from the immediate container and outer packaging?

Response: No, as discussed above, NIST is required to comply with the HCS labeling requirements.

Question 3: Can NIST apply the same exceptions and exemptions allowed under the European Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations?

Response: No. All hazardous chemicals shipped within the United States must comply with the HCS 2012 requirements.

Question 4: If NIST cannot do any of the above labeling options, can we affix the HCS 2012 label on the box containing the ampoules/bottles of the hazardous materials if the ampoules/bottles are too small to have a HCS 2012 label attached?

Response: No. Ampoules/bottles of the hazardous chemical must be labeled with the hazard information required by HCS 2012. While paragraph 1910.1200(c) defines a label as "an appropriate group of written, printed or graphic information elements concerning a hazardous chemical that is affixed to, printed on, or attached to the immediate container of a hazardous chemical, or to the outside packaging," this is merely the definition of what a label is; it was not intended to allow for the labeling of the outside packaging only. OSHA's position is that labels must be attached to a hazardous chemical's immediate container. Therefore, a manufacturer, importer, or distributor may not attach an HCS 2012 label only to the outside packaging of a shipped hazardous chemical.
OSHA understands your concern that HCS 2012 labels contain more information, which may be difficult to include on small shipped containers. As such, labeling can be done with pull-out labels, fold back labels, tags or other methods. While pull-out labels, fold back labels, tags or other methods to attach the label to the shipped container may cost more than traditional glued on labels, an increase in cost is an unacceptable reason to avoid use of these labeling methods. We are including a recent OSHA letter to [Name Withheld] from April 15, 2013, which discusses how tags may be used to label shipped containers.
As a practical accommodation, where the manufacturer can show that it is not feasible to use pull-out labels, fold back labels, or tags, containing the full HCS 2012 required information, the shipped small container (i.e., the actual container holding the hazardous chemical), at a minimum, must contain the following:
  • Product identifier
  • Appropriate pictograms
  • Manufacturer's name and phone number
  • Signal word
  • A statement indicating the full label information for the chemical is provided on the outside package.
Additionally, the outside packaging, at a minimum, must comply with the following:
  • All the applicable label elements, as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1).
  • The outside package must be clearly marked to ensure the complete label elements are visible and it must clearly inform users that the small container must be stored in the outer container bearing the complete label. The complete label must be maintained on the outer package (e.g., not torn, defaced, destroyed).
  • The manufacturer must ensure that any alternative labeling used does not conflict with any other standards. As such, the outside packaging must not present a hazard while the material is being stored.
Example: Category 1 flammable liquid, named High Flam, where the only hazard is the flammability, manufactured by ABC.
  • The immediate container would be labeled as follows:
    • High Flam,
    • Flame Pictogram,
    • DANGER,
    • Phone # (123) 456-7890,
    • Full labeling information for High Flam is provided on the outside package.
  • The outside package would contain:
    • High Flam,
    • Flame Pictogram,
    • DANGER,
    • Extremely flammable liquid and vapor, all the precautionary statements (e.g., Store in a well-ventilated place. Keep cool. Keep container tightly closed, see Appendix C, subsection C.4.19 for the full list of precautionary statements that must be present for a category 1 flammable liquid.)
    • ABC 100 Any Street, Any Town, MA 14569
    • Phone # (123) 456-7890.

NOTE: As this is a flammable liquid, the outer packaging MUST not be of a material that is flammable or combustible, 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2)(i).
OSHA encourages manufacturers, distributors, and importers to add as much information as feasible to the small shipped container labels.
Finally, please note that the December 1, 2015, deadline only applies to distributors. In 29 CFR 1910.1200(c) a distributor is defined as any "business, other than a chemical manufacturer or importer, which supplies hazardous chemicals to other distributors or to employers." Businesses that "produce" chemicals (i.e., manufacture, process, formulate, blend, extract, generate, emit, or repackage chemicals for use or distribution) are considered "chemical manufacturers" under the HCS 2012 and therefore must comply with the HCS 2012 labeling requirements by June 1, 2015. Although your background information describes NIST as a distributor, because NIST "produces" chemicals, NIST would be considered a manufacturer under the HCS 2012. As such, NIST must comply with all the HCS 2012 labeling requirements by June 1, 2015, and include NIST on safety data sheets (SDS) as the chemical manufacturer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Transitioning to safer chemicals


American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals every day. While many of these chemicals are suspected of being harmful, only a small number are regulated in the workplace.
As a result, workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures. Workplace chemical exposures have been linked to cancers, and other lung, kidney, skin, heart, stomach, brain, nerve, and reproductive diseases.

Establishing a chemical management system that goes beyond simply complying with OSHA standards and strives to reduce or eliminate chemical hazards at the source through informed substitution best protects workers. Transitioning to safer alternatives can be a complex undertaking, but a variety of existing resources make it easier. OSHA has developed this step-by-step toolkit to provide employers and workers with information, methods, tools, and guidance on using informed substitution in the workplace.
By using this toolkit, businesses can improve worker well-being through eliminating or reducing hazardous chemicals, while creating other benefits, including:
  • Cost Savings — Reduce expenses and future risks.
  • Efficiency — Improve performance.
  • Industry Leadership — Invest in innovation to stay competitive.
  • Corporate Stewardship — Advance socially responsible practices.
This toolkit can be used by all types of businesses—it is for manufacturers using chemicals in their production processes as well as for businesses that use products containing chemicals in their everyday operations. For example, service-oriented workplaces (such as janitorial companies, auto body repair shops, and pathology labs) and construction work sites often use products containing chemicals that could present hazards to workers.

Workers also can use this toolkit to better understand chemical use in their workplace, find opportunities for using safer chemicals, and engage with their employers throughout the process of identifying, evaluating, and transitioning to safer alternatives.

OSHA wants to help businesses thrive safely by asking them to look at their chemical use and adopt ways to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals. Together, OSHA, employers, and workers can protect America's workforce and strengthen America's businesses.

Note: This website is advisory in nature and informational in content. It is not a standard or regulation, and it neither creates new legal obligations nor alters existing obligations created by OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new SDSs to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.

Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12, Ecological information*

Section 13, Disposal considerations*

Section 14, Transport information*

Section 15, Regulatory information*

Section 16, Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

*Note: Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

Employers must ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees.
See Appendix D of 1910.1200 for a detailed description of SDS contents.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hazards Not Otherwise Classified

March 4, 2014

Erik C. B***
Washington, DC

Re:   Request for Interpretation of OSHA's Amended Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) about Hazards Not Otherwise Classified

Dear Mr. B***:

This letter is being issued to API to provide additional guidance on how to apply the requirements for Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC) under the March 26, 2012, revisions to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012).

Under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard, an HNOC is defined as follows:
an adverse physical or health effect identified through evaluation of scientific evidence during the classification process that does not meet the specified criteria for the physical and health hazard classes addressed in this section. This does not extend coverage to adverse physical and health effects for which there is a hazard class addressed in this section, but the effect either falls below the cut-off value/concentration limit of the hazard class or is under a GHS hazard category that has not been adopted by OSHA (e.g., acute toxicity Category 5).
29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(c).
Classifiers may rely on the following guidance in applying the definition of an HNOC under HCS 2012:
  1. An adverse physical or health effect is a material impairment of health or functional capacity, as that phrase is used in section 6(b)(5) of the OSH Act, 29 U.S.C. § 655(b)(5), resulting from workplace exposure to a chemical.
  2. A health effect is determined in accordance with the weight of evidence criteria in A.0.3.
  3. The term physical effect generally refers to a material impairment of health or functional capacity caused by the intrinsic hazard(s) of a particular chemical in normal conditions of use or foreseeable emergencies. Scalds caused by exposure to chemicals at high temperatures, and slips and falls caused by treading on a solid chemical shaped in a rounded form or spilled liquids are not covered physical effects under the HNOC definition. By way of example, water is not classified as an HNOC merely because an employee might be scalded by contact with boiling water or because an employee might contract hypothermia by being immersed in cold water for a long period of time. Similarly, water is not classified as an HNOC by virtue of the fact that an employee might be injured when slipping and falling on a wet surface or when sprayed by water at high pressure. The foregoing examples of adverse physical effects that are outside the scope of HNOCs are designed to assist in better understanding the concept of HNOCs. They are not intended to be exhaustive or limited to chemicals, such as water, which are not hazardous chemicals.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

NFPA 704 vs. HazCom 2012

NFPA 704 HazCom 2012
Purpose Provides basic information for emergency personnel responding to a fire or spill and those planning for emergency response. Informs workers about the hazards of chemicals in workplace under normal conditions of use and foreseeable emergencies.
Number System: NFPA Rating and OSHA's Classification System 0-4
0-least hazardous
4-most hazardous
1-most severe hazard
4-least severe hazard
-The Hazard category numbers are NOT required to be on labels but are required on SDSs in Section 2.
-Numbers are used to CLASSIFY hazards to determine what label information is required.
Information Provided on Label
  • Health-Blue
  • Flammability-Red
  • Instability-Yellow
  • Special Hazards*-White
*OX Oxidizers
W Water Reactives
SA Simple Asphyxiants
  • Product Identifier
  • Signal Word
  • Hazard Statement(s)
  • Pictogram(s)
  • Precautionary statement(s); and
  • Name address and phone number of responsible party
Health Hazards on Label Acute (short term) health hazards ONLY.
Acute hazard are more typical for emergency response applications.
Chronic health effects are not covered by NFPA 704.
Acute (short term) and chronic (long term) health hazards. Both acute and chronic health effects are relevant for employees working with chemicals day after day. Health hazards include acute hazards such as eye irritants, simple asphyxiants and skin corroxives as well as chronic hazards such as carcinogens.
Flammability/ Physical Hazards on Label NFPA divides flammability and instability hazard into two separate numbers on the label.
Flammability in red section
Instability in yellow section
A broad range of physical hazard classes are listed on the label including explosives, flammables, oxidizers, reactives, pyrophorics, combustible dusts and corrosives.
Where to get information to place on label Rating system found in NFPA Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials OR NFPA 704 Standard System for Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response 2012 Edition. Tables 5.2, 6.2, 7.2 and Chapter 8 of NFPA 704 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 (2012).
  1. Classify using Appendix A (Health Hazards) and Appendix B (Physical Hazards)
  2. Label using Appendix C
Other The hazard category numbers found in section 2 of the HC2012 compliant SDSs are NOT to be used to fill in the NFPA 704 diamond. Supplemental information may also appear on the label such as any hazards not otherwise classified, and directions for use.
Website OR