The Countdown to Hazard Communication Enforcement

The Countdown to Hazard Communication Enforcement

Tick tock, tick tock… That’s the sound of time running out before the new Hazard Communication Standard.With the next deadline, June 15, 2015 focused on labeling; employers now have just over a year to prepare for the final June 2016 deadline. What’s so important about the next two deadlines, and what should you ask yourself to protect employees?

Hazard Communication Timeline

HCS 2012, adopted by OSHA to comply with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), will contribute to a standardized hazard communication system that ensures uniformity across the globe.

What’s So Important about June 1, 2015?

With deadlines for training in 2013 and deadlines for end users in 2016, the June 1, 2015 deadline in HCS represents the first major deadline for employers. This is the first point in the downstream movement that starts with manufacturers that leaves only one year for end-users to comply with the new SDSs.

To help safety professionals and employers to better understand these standards, Attorneys Mark A. Lies II and Patrick D. Joyce of Environmental, Safety and Toxic Tort Group in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP addressed the different categories of the SDS, including questions you should ask and what you should do to ensure compliance.

How to Promote HCS 2012 Compliance

Broken into sixteen sections, the new SDS provides an opportunity for employers to update their current training, hazard communication, and safety procedures when dealing with chemicals. In working toward compliance, the enforcement will be two-pronged for manufacturers. OSHA will be looking at the following from manufacturers starting in June:

  • To see if a manufacturer has prepared new SDSs
  • To ensure that the manufacturer has taken steps to identify new risks that may have not been known prior to the implementation of new MSDS.

Similarly, during the year following June 1, 2015, employers will need to continue training employees, because when OSHA begins enforcement against employers on June 1, 2016 relating to the new SDSs, it will focus on:

  • Whether the employer has reviewed the SDSs to identify any new risks
  • Whether the employer has evaluated its existing compliance programs in light of the sixteen requirements in the new SDSs.

Questions Employers Must Ask Regarding New Safety Data Sheet Requirements

Where will you need to promote compliance? Seyfarth Shaw provided a beneficial document to their email subscribers regarding the 16 categories in SDS, and questions employers need to ask. We share these categories below.

To help you to prepare, we took the information provided in the “Minimum Information for a Safety Data Sheet,” Appendix D to 1910.1200, and supplemented it with the questions you should ask yourself to ensure compliance provided by Seyfarth Shaw.

Full Text: Hazard Communication Standard Final Text

1. Identification of a Chemical

(a) Product identifier used on the label;

(b) Other means of identification;

(c) Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use;

(d) Name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party;

(e) Emergency phone number

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Is it clear what this chemical is and is used for?
  • Do we know how to get in touch with the manufacturer of this chemical?
  • Do we know who to call in an emergency?

2. Hazard(s) Identification

(a) Classification of the chemical in accordance with paragraph (d) of §1910.1200;

(b) Signal word, hazard statement(s), symbol(s) and precautionary statement(s) in accordance with paragraph (f) of §1910.1200. (Hazard symbols may be provided as graphical reproductions in black and white or the name of the symbol, e.g., flame, skull and crossbones);

(c) Describe any hazards not otherwise classified that have been identified during the classification process;

(d) Where an ingredient with unknown acute toxicity is used in a mixture at a concentration = 1% and the mixture is not classified based on testing of the mixture as a whole, a statement that X% of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity is required.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Is it clear what hazards this chemical poses?
  • Have we properly communicated the hazards of this chemical to our employees?
  • Are containers holding this chemical properly identified and labeled?

Section 3 – Composition/Information on Ingredients

For Substances

(a) Chemical name;

(b) Common name and synonyms;

(c) CAS number and other unique identifiers;

(d) Impurities and stabilizing additives which are themselves classified and which contribute to the classification of the substance.

For Mixtures

In addition to the information required for substances:

(a) The chemical name and concentration (exact percentage) or concentration ranges of all ingredients which are classified as health hazards in accordance with paragraph (d) of §1910.1200 and

(1) are present above their cut-off/concentration limits; or

(2) present a health risk below the cut-off/concentration limits.

(b) The concentration (exact percentage) shall be specified unless a trade secret claim is made in accordance with paragraph (i) of §1910.1200, when there is batch-to-batch variability in the production of a mixture, or for a group of substantially similar mixtures (See A. with similar chemical composition. In these cases, concentration ranges may be used.

For All Chemicals Where a Trade Secret is Claimed

Where a trade secret is claimed in accordance with paragraph (i) of §1910.1200, a statement that the specific chemical identity and/or exact percentage (concentration) of composition has been withheld as a trade secret is required.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Do we know what is contained in this chemical?
  • Do we know the potential lethality of this chemical and how we can update our employee training to take that lethality into account?

4. First-aid Measures

(a) Description of necessary measures, subdivided according to the different routes of exposure, i.e., inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion;

(b) Most important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed.

(c) Indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed, if necessary.

OSHA will closely monitor how companies update first-aid training in response to new information contained on each SDS.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Do our employees have proper training to deal with human exposure involving this chemical?
  • Does the employer’s PPE hazard assessment need to be updated to identify necessary PPE? (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Do we have the proper have the proper PPE necessary when responding?
  • Do we have the proper first-aid supplies to assist responders? (29 CFR 1910.120, 29 CFR 1910.151)
  • Do we have the proper equipment easily accessible to rinse or flush should an employee be exposed to this chemical? (29 CFR 151(c))

5. Fire-fighting measures

(a) Suitable (and unsuitable) extinguishing media.

(b) Specific hazards arising from the chemical (e.g., nature of any hazardous combustion products).

(c) Special protective equipment and precautions for fire-fighters.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Does the employer have to update its Emergency Action Plan? (29 CFR 1910.38)
  • Do our employees have proper training to deal with a fire involving this chemical? (29 CFR 1910.120, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L)
  • Do we have the proper fire extinguishers on hand? (29 CFR 1910.120, 29 CFR 1910.157)
  • Do we have the proper protective clothing for fire-fighting operations? (29 CFR 1910.134, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L)
  • Do we know what effect a certain fire-fighting agent will have when used on this chemical?
  • If the employer is subject to the Process Safety management regulation (29 CFR 1910.119) it may have to conduct a wide variety of actions, such as a PHA, to be compliant.

6. Accidental Release Measures

(a) Personal precautions, protective equipment, and emergency procedures.

(b) Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Do we have the correct program and equipment to respond quickly and safely to a spill? (29 CFR 1910.120)
  • Do we have the correct equipment to protect our first responders or outside first responders?
  • Do we have the correct equipment and materials to prevent a release from spreading?
  • Do we have the correct equipment to clean up a release?

7. Handling and Storage

(a) Precautions for safe handling.

(b) Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Do we know what containers this chemical should be stored in (or not stored in)? (29 CFR 1910.106)
  • Do we know how to properly move this chemical around our facility? (29 CFR 1910.178)
  • Do we know how to properly store this material? (29 CFR 1910.176)
  • Do we know what other chemical this chemical should not come into contact with?

8. Exposure controls/personal protection.

(a) OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV), and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the safety data sheet, where available.

(b) Appropriate engineering controls.

(c) Individual protection measures, such as personal protective equipment.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Does the employee have to conduct industrial hygiene monitoring if the PELs or TLVs have changed? e.g., (29 CFR 1910.1000 Tables Z-1, Z-2, and Z-3; existing requirements for a substance; General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1))
  • Do our employees have the proper PPE to use this chemical?
  • Can we feasibly implement the recommended engineering controls?
  • Are we doing proper testing to see if PELs and TLVs are exceeded?
  • If levels are exceeded, how can we bring PELs and TLVs below applicable limits? Using engineering controls?
  • If engineering controls are not feasible, what administrative controls or PPE must be utilized?

9. Physical and Chemical Properties

(a) Appearance (physical state, color, etc.);

(b) Odor;

(c) Odor threshold;

(d) pH;

(e) Melting point/freezing point;

(f) Initial boiling point and boiling range;

(g) Flash point;

(h) Evaporation rate;

(i) Flammability (solid, gas);

(j) Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits;

(k) Vapor pressure;

(l) Vapor density;

(m) Relative density;

(n) Solubility(ies);

(o) Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water;

(p) Auto-ignition temperature;

(q) Decomposition temperature;

(r) Viscosity

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Have we conducted proper training?
  • Is our documentation of training adequate?

10. Stability and Reactivity

(a) Reactivity;

(b) Chemical stability;

(c) Possibility of hazardous reactions;

(d) Conditions to avoid (e.g., static discharge, shock, or vibration);

(e) Incompatible materials;

(f) Hazardous decomposition products.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Do we know what other chemicals this chemical will react with in a negative manner?
  • Do we know how reactive this chemical is on its own?
  • What precautions should we take to ensure this chemical does not react?
  • How should this chemical be stored to avoid reactions and maintain stability?

11. Toxicological information

Description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data used to identify those effects, including:

(a) Information on the likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact);

(b) Symptoms related to the physical, chemical and toxicological characteristics;

(c) Delayed and immediate effects and also chronic effects from short- and long-term exposure;

(d) Numerical measures of toxicity (such as acute toxicity estimates).

(e) Whether the hazardous chemical is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (latest edition) or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs (latest edition), or by OSHA.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • How can our employees be exposed to this chemical?
  • What symptoms will an employee show if they are exposed to this chemical?
  • How can we pass this information to first responders and treating physicians to ensure proper treatment?
  • Does our training adequately inform employees of all potential routes of exposure and symptoms?

Sections Not Handled by OSHA (12-15)

Sections 12 (Ecological Information), 13 (Disposal Considerations), 14 (Transport information), and 15 (Regulatory information) will be handled by the agencies most qualified to handle compliance initiatives.

See Hazard Communication Appendix D for descriptions of sections 12-15.

16. Other information.

OSHA will look to this section to ensure that all information contained on an SDS is up to date based on current understanding of a chemical’s characteristics and current regulatory standards.

Each company should be sure to regularly analyze chemical characteristics or contact a chemical’s manufacturer to ensure an SDS is current.

Questions an employer should ask:

  • Is our SDS up to date?

Prepare for June 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016

As a manufacturer, you have mere weeks to comply.  As an employer, just over a year. Don’t let the deadlines catch you off guard. Learn how you can prepare for the standard and protect your employees from Optimum Safety Management. Contact us today to see if you will be compliant, and how you can continue to be compliant.