OSHA Revises the Policy on GHS Labeling for Existing Stock


OSHA, in a major concession to industry, has relaxed their inspection requirements and the deadline for re-labeling hazardous chemical products.

 

 

Guidance for manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals
Where a manufacturer, or importer, has not received classification information from its upstream supplier(s) on which it intends to rely for the classification of its product before June 1, 2015, the manufacturer, or importer, may continue use of the HCS 1994 label under certain limited circumstances.  To do so, the manufacturer, or importer, must be able to initially demonstrate it has exercised reasonable diligence and has made good faith efforts to obtain and integrate the information.

The CSHO must review the overall efforts and actions taken to comply.  No citation will be issued in cases where the manufacturer, or importer, provides persuasive documentation to show that it made reasonable efforts to obtain the necessary information from upstream suppliers, and has attempted to find hazard information from alternative sources (e.g., chemical registries) to classify the data.  In these limited situations, manufacturers and importers must promptly create HCS 2012-compliant labels within six months after they develop the updated SDS.  All containers shipped after the six-month period must be labeled with an HCS 2012-compliant label.

Manufacturers, or importers, of hazardous chemicals (including businesses that repackage) that have existing stock packaged (e.g., boxed, palletized, shrink-wrapped, etc.) for shipment  prior to June 1, 2015, that are HCS 1994-compliant labeled, may continue to ship those containers downstream.  In such instances, there is no requirement to re-label packaged for shipment containers with HCS 2012-compliant labels.  The manufacturer, or importer, must provide HCS 2012-compliant labels and SDSs for each and every individual container shipped, unless the manufacturer or importer can demonstrate that it exercised reasonable diligence and good faith as discussed in this policy.

After June 1, 2015, a manufacturer, or importer, of hazardous chemicals who packages containers for shipment must label each and every container with a HCS 2012-compliant label prior to shipping.

 

Guidance for businesses that repackage, blends, or mix hazardous chemicals
Some businesses repackage, blend, or mix hazardous chemicals, but consider themselves to be distributors in the supply chain.  Under the HCS, however, they are considered manufacturers, and the labelling guidance discussed above for manufacturers and importers applies to them as well.

 

Guidance for distributors of hazardous chemicals
The HCS 2012 permits distributors to continue to ship chemicals with HCS 1994 labels until December 1, 2015.  There may be distributors that are consequently unable to comply with the December 1, 2015 effective date where a manufacturer or importer cannot comply with the June 1, 2015 effective date despite its reasonably diligent and good faith efforts.  In these situations, CSHOs must determine whether the distributor has evidence that it has in fact exercised reasonable diligence and good faith to comply with the December 1, 2015 effective date.

Before December 1, 2015, distributors with existing stock packaged (e.g., boxed, palletized, shrink-wrapped, etc.) for shipment and containers that are HCS 1994-compliant labeled, may continue to ship those containers downstream.  In these instances, there is no requirement to re-label packaged for shipment containers with HCS 2012-compliant labels.  Distributors must provide a HCS 2012-compliant label and SDS for each and every individual container shipped with any future shipments after December 1, 2015 or upon request, unless they can demonstrate reasonable diligence and good faith as discussed in this policy.  Additionally, distributors must provide HCS 2012-compliant SDSs to downstream users with the first shipment after a new or revised SDS is provided by the manufacturer or importer.

All containers in the control of a distributor after December 1, 2017, must be HCS 2012-compliant labeled prior to shipping.

 

 

Our Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) Training can be found here.

The standard Hazard Communication Training can be found here.