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OSHA Memo Shows How GHS HazCom Will Be Enforced

Posted on 6/4/2015 by Roger Marks

Now that the June 1 deadline for GHS compliance has passed, chemical manufacturers and shippers nationwide are adjusting to new requirements under OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). OSHA inspectors will begin enforcing compliance with these revised rules during site audits, and it’s critical that employers understand what’s required and how to comply.

A memo issued to OSHA regional administrators on May 29 includes some important guidance on how these rules will be enforced in the US.

OSHA to Chemical Re-packagers, Blenders, Mixers: You ARE Manufacturers.

According to the new OSHA guidance, many businesses that repackage, blend, or mix hazardous chemicals consider themselves to be distributors, not manufacturers. OSHA clarifies that, under the HCS, these businesses are considered manufacturers. Therefore, the new GHS requirements do apply to them.
OSHA GHS Hazard communication label on chemical container

What If My Suppliers Haven’t Yet Provided New Information?

In order to classify a chemical product, manufacturers sometimes must rely on information provided by upstream suppliers. If a manufacturer has not received this information and can “demonstrate it has exercised reasonable diligence and made good-faith efforts to obtain and integrate” it, the manufacture may continue to use HCS 1994 labels. These good-faith efforts should include attempting to find hazard information from alternate sources (e.g., chemical registries). OSHA includes specific steps and recordkeeping practices required for businesses to prove they’ve made a “good-faith effort.”

Once manufacturers have received information to develop an updated Safety Data Sheet (SDS), they have six months to develop a GHS (HCS 2012)-compliant chemical label.

What Do I Do With Pre-packaged Stock?

Manufacturers can continue to ship downstream existing stock packaged before June 1, 2015, even if it is not GHS-compliant. Businesses are not required to re-label containers with GHS-compliant labels, but they must provide GHS labels and SDSs for each and every individual container shipped, unless they demonstrate inability to get a hold of the information despite the reasonable diligence and “good-faith” efforts described in the memo.

View the full OSHA memo at the Department of Labor website.

GHS Training for Managers and Employees

Make sure your employees are prepared to protect themselves under OSHA’s HCS with the Hazard Communication Online Course, updated to reflect the new GHS standards in effect as of June 1, 2015. For EHS managers who oversee their site’s GHS HazCom program, Lion offers the Managing Hazard Communication Online Course.

Tags: GHS, HazCom, new rules, osha, Safety Data Sheets

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