WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 Delayed Implications

Young female Industrial Worker

The Cat Came Back – WHMIS 1988 Lives!

More Than Just a Date

As reported in Karrie Monette-Ishmael’s May 19 Blog, an order-in-council resulted in an extension to the Supplier deadlines for compliance with the GHS-based Hazardous Products Act/Regulation (WHMIS 2015). Canada Gazette II (CGII), published on May 31, provided some insight into the delay in the supplementary Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) associated with the extension.

RIAS

The transition extension itself (from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018 for manufacturers/importers; and from June 1, 2018 to September 1, 2018 for distributors) was cut and dried. However, the details in the RIAS are a reminder that despite the harmonization focus, there are still some unresolved issues in implementing the new hazard communication system.

CBI

Confidential business information (CBI) in the context of WHMIS has always focussed on masking the disclosure of ingredients on the M(SDS). Officially, Canadian suppliers were expected to rely on the somewhat costly and administratively burdensome Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) process to obtain exemptions from disclosing CBI. Practically the provisions in the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR or WHMIS 1988) were used by most suppliers as a simpler alternate to protect CBI.

Although this was the practise almost from the start of WHMIS 1988, it appears to be news to the current organisation- to wit, in the “Background” section of the RIAS: “Health Canada officials have learned that . . . some companies protected their CBI…by disclosing…ranges rather than using the . . . HMIRA.” I recall the discussions in the early days of WHMIS 1988 and, although unfortunately I don’t have copies, some documented acceptance of the practise as an alternate to the HMIRA as long as it wasn’t abused.

The stated main purpose of the extension is to allow Health Canada some time to prepare a palatable alternative to the WHMIS 1988 concentration ranges – which some in the regulated community have dubbed “CBI Light”. “CBI Light” presumably could allow for ranges, albeit narrower than in WHMIS 1988, and restrict their use for higher hazard “CMRs” (carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and sensitizers of the respiratory tract) as discussed in the “Consultation” section of the RIAS.

“WHMIS 2017”?

The RIAS includes the thought that some other stakeholder issues could be considered as part of the review. Chief among these is Labour’s desire to bring excluded products (e.g. consumer products and manufactured articles) under the WHMIS umbrella. Given the heavy discussions (again the writer attended some of these in the early 2000’s as an active member of regulated industry) that took place to introduce WHMIS 2015 (the original goal was for 2003!) – I suspect the issues around incorporating the Hazardous Products Act s. 12 exclusions may not come to fruition during the CBI discussions.

Suppliers Beware!

A significant number of suppliers have progressed far enough along the WHMIS 2015 trail that the transition will not have a serious impact on their transition. However, those who have not completely transitioned need to keep in mind that the CGII notice did not change the transition philosophy that prevents “mixing and matching” between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 requirements. i.e. Labels and SDS must correspond- as must labels and MSDS. Classification differences could also be problematic if warnings on “GHS” labels were not reflected in WHMIS 1988 MSDS. Similarly, the “expiry” dates on MSDS would still apply to supplies under the older system. Prolonging the transition potentially prolongs the opportunity for non-compliance.

The transition extension does presumably provide for some relief on direct shipments where the Canadian supplier could still take advantage of the exemption, in the CPR s.23, to have (with written agreement) the customer label the material on receipt.

Employers Ditto (Sigh …)

The RIAS “Consultation” section indicates that some employer stakeholders were concerned that extending the transition for suppliers would, in effect, decrease the implementation window for workplaces. This interpretation indicates a false sense of complacency in the “employer” community’s need to establish training and procedures for WHMIS 2015.

As the Health Canada naming conveys, the GHS-based system has been “legal” for use since the CGII adoption in February 2015. Proactive companies, particularly those with significant US customers (US HazCom 2012 was, after all, mandatory in 2015), may already supply to WHMIS 2015 requirements.

The majority of Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) jurisdictions have updated their workplace regulations. Despite the FPT transition provisions, the expectation is that employers will, at minimum, train employees in WHMIS 2015 sooner if products received are supplied under the new system.

Why Wait?

It would seem only prudent to undertake WHMIS 2015 training well before the “official” workplace implementation date. Items outlined as under review in the RIAS are unlikely to require significant changes to employee awareness requirements in understanding the new GHS-based classification, labelling and SDS aspects.

The May 31 CGII contains 2 separate notices: SOR/2017-92 for the new June 1, 2018 manufacturer/importer deadline; and SOR/2017-93 for the September 1, 2018 distributor deadline. The former contains the RIAS for both notices, found under the above SOR (referencing ‘Order Fixing . . . Economic Action Plan 2014″) at:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2017/2017-05-31/html/index-eng.php

If you have any questions regarding WHMIS 2015 implementation, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).


WHMIS 2015 – June 2017 Deadline Extended

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Consumer Chemical Products and GHS SDS Requirements

Consumer chemical bottles

Do My Products Need a SDS?

Determining which of your consumer chemical products would require a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS), can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Which products actually do need to have compliant SDS, can differ depending on which country/region you are in, and how the product is being used.

Canada

In Canada, chemical products that are labeled, packaged, and sold at retail outlets as consumer products, are regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001). Examples of ‘retail’ outlets are stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, and corner gas stations that anyone off the street can walk into and buy chemical products in, etc.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and not sold at retail outlets, on the other hand, are regulated by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR, or “WHMIS 2015“). It is the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015), where GHS SDS requirements are found, while the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not currently contain any SDS requirements at all.

In the HPA, in Part II, Section 12(j) and Schedule 1, CCPSA consumer products are actually excluded from the application of the HPA’s requirements.

What does this exclusion mean?

Keep in mind that the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not contain any SDS requirements, while the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015) do. As a result of the exclusion in the HPA, the HPA and HPR do not apply to consumer chemical products in Canada. As such, these consumer chemical products do not require SDSs (since SDS requirements are in the HPA and HPR), provided the products are labeled, packaged and sold at retail outlets in accordance with the CCPSA and CCCR 2001.

Legally, the proportion of sales in each of the respective sales markets (consumer vs. workplace), is not relevant. Sales to worksites (e.g. direct to contractors) could be, for example, 90% of the product’s total sales, while sales to retail outlets could constitute only 10% of the product’s total sales. As long as the product is in the same container size in both markets, and the product is labeled/packaged according to consumer rules, and it is available for sale in retail outlets, then the HPR (WHMIS 2015) does not apply. This means GHS SDS are not required, even when the majority of sales are to worksites. Providing GHS SDS is totally optional for a supplier in this case. It’s completely up to the business relationships a company may have with their own customers, on deciding whether or not to provide GHS SDS.

Key points for this exclusion from SDS requirements, however, is whether or not the product container is actually ‘sold at retail outlets’, and the sizes of containers. Consider a company selling one product in two container sizes (for example a 1 quart / 946 mL size and a 5 gallon / 18.9 L size). The 1 quart / 946 mL size is sold in retail outlets such as Home Depot, as well as direct to worksites. The 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, is ONLY being sold direct to worksites and contractors with special licenses, for example. In this case, the customer would require a GHS SDS to accompany the 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, since this container size is NOT sold at retail outlets.

The United States

There is a similar exclusion in the US from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) GHS requirements for consumer products, however, there is a difference in how the consumer product is treated, depending on what the frequency or manner of use of the product is.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and which are not sold at retail outlets, are regulated by OSHA in the 29CFR 1910.1200 standard for hazard communication (Hazcom 2012). The OSHA Hazcom 2012 standard states that

This section does not apply to:

(ix) Any consumer product … where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer or importer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than the range of exposures that could reasonably be experienced by consumers when used for the purpose intended [29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)(ix)].

OSHA goes onto provide an example, in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of their website, which involves Windex. Windex is commonly used by both retail customers in their homes, as well as, for example, by Janitors who use the products in their workplaces only. If the janitor uses the Windex in exactly the same way the retail customer would at home, and no more frequently than that retail customer would, then there are no OSHA Hazcom 2012 GHS requirements for the product, and a GHS SDS is not required.

But, if that Janitor uses the Windex 5 or 6 days a week for hours at a time each day, this usage is significantly more frequent than how a user at home would use the product. In this case, there would be OSHA Hazcom 2012 requirements and a GHS SDS would be required.

The European Union (EU)

In the EU, REACH [Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals] requires suppliers to provide SDS for certain substances and mixtures. It also states in Title IV, Article 31, Section 4, that:

The safety data sheet need not be supplied where hazardous substances or mixtures offered or sold to the general public are provided with sufficient information to enable users to take the necessary measures as regards the protection of human health, safety and the environment, unless requested by a downstream user or distributor.

The difference here for consumer products (ie., sold to the general public), is that at any time, a downstream user or distributor may request an SDS for a consumer product…and it must be supplied to them. Initially, a supplier could just provide other means of giving sufficient information on the products’ hazards and safe use (e.g. instruction booklets, labels, technical data sheets). But at any time, if requested, an SDS would have to be provided.

For further information

For further information on European and North American regulations, please consult the following website links:

Europe:

https://echa.europa.eu/safety-data-sheets

United States:

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html

Canada, for workplace products:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/index-eng.php

Canada, for consumer product:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php

If you have any questions regarding GHS or consumer product requirements, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

WHMIS Logo
WHMIS 2015 – June 2017 Deadline Extended

Warehouse with chemicals

Extra, Extra Read All About It!

Health Canada has announced that the deadline for manufacturers and importers to comply with the HPR (a.k.a. WHMIS 2015) has been EXTENDED.

The deadline of June 1, 2017 has been delayed by one (1) year to June 1, 2018. The second deadline of June 1, 2018 has been delayed by three (3) months to September 1, 2018.

The orders and a regulatory impact analysis statement (RIAS) will be published in Canada Gazette Part II shortly. We will provide details as they become available. Stay tuned.

Finally, thank you to everyone that worked with Health Canada to make this extension a reality.

Check out our resources for complying with the WHMIS 2015 regulations »

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 Labelling: Imports – Direct Shipments

Warehouse with chemicals

Uniquely Canadian

A key difference that distributors of imported hazardous products are struggling with is the treatment of products that require re-labelling with Canadian-compliant labels.

WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 both require a “supplier” (seller) to ensure that products have compliant labels- i.e. as outlined in the respective “controlled” or “hazardous” products regulations. Manufacturers and Distributors, as suppliers are usually comfortable in complying when they are preparing/consolidating shipments of products initially labelled in compliance with the Canadian regulations for GHS-based required wording, pictograms, etc.

However, when receiving imports other mandatory features such as bilingual English/French text, a Canadian Supplier name/address and “non-GHS” classifications may not always be present.

Do It Here or Do It There?

Ideally the foreign supplier will have the instruction and capability to address Canadian label requirements when fulfilling the order from a Canadian customer- be it the end user or a distributor.

If the foreign supplier is unable to reliably provide WHMIS-compliant labels, the Canadian importer may supply the labels for application before shipment.

Practically this may not always be possible depending on the sophistication of the foreign supplier, the volume ordered or the uniqueness of the product. The Canadian distributor may bring non-compliant product to their facility/agent and re-label the product before delivery to the final customer who will have employees handling and/or using the product.

The above options are possible under both the WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 regulations.

The Plot Thickens

A third option was available under WHMIS 1988 which most suppliers found most expedient, particularly for skid-load packages, and the only practical option when delivery requirements necessitated direct delivery to the user location- bypassing the distributor/importer’s facility.

The section in the WHMIS 1988 version of the Hazardous Product Act (HPA) dealing with labels required them to be applied to each container upon sale or import unless (HPA 14. (2)(a)(ii)) “the person to whom the controlled product is sold undertakes in writing to apply a label to the inner container“.

This provision is no longer contained in the equivalent sections (HPA 13.(1)(b) re “sell” & 14.(b) re “import”) of the current WHMIS 2015 legislation.

Lack of support for the customer labelling option of WHMIS 1988 is also reinforced in Health Canada’s 2016-12 “WHMIS 2015 Supplier Requirements Guide” (“Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the Hazardous Products Act and the Hazardous Products Regulations” – e.g. page 204 & 207).

A copy of the Guide may be ordered from Health Canada’s website.

It would appear that relying on the customer to label each container could be considered non-compliant. Importers may wish to review the situation with their legal counsel or petition Health Canada.

For re-instatement of the previous HPA 14.2(a)(ii) option before customers encounter issues with Labour Inspectors as the transition period begins at the “employer” (user) level.

GHS
GHS in North America and Europe – Where Are We Now?

Isn’t everyone using GHS for SDS’s and labels?

The answer to that is yes, and also no.

The European Union (EU)

In the EU, REACH [Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals] and GHS regulations [Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, or the ‘CLP’] have already been implemented for many years. Most phases of the EU’s implementation plan have already been completed. There is one last remaining date that has not yet passed, however, with respect to SDS’s and labels.

SDS’s and labels for pure substances are required to fully compliant with REACH and the CLP. The last transition date for pure substance SDS’s was completed on December 1, 2012. Any SDS and label for a pure substance after that date, had to be fully compliant with REACH and CLP regulations, and display only GHS information.

SDS’s and labels for mixtures, for products placed on the market in the EU for the first time after June 1, 2015, are also required to be fully compliant with REACH and the CLP, and display only GHS information.

Mixture SDS’s and labels, only for products already placed on the market in the EU for the first time before June 1, 2015, however, may still show old system EU information. These SDS’s and labels for mixtures, may still display the EU’s old system of regulations [Directive 1999/45/EC], which made use of Risk (R) and Safety (S) phrases, as well as square shaped, orange and black symbols. These SDS’s and Labels, have the last remaining compliance date, which is coming up fast, of June 1, 2017. Any SDS and label after that date, will have to be fully compliant with REACH and CLP regulations.

The United States

In the United States, GHS regulations have also already been implemented for a few years as well. All effective completion dates have passed in the United States. All SDS’s, labels, written Hazard Communication programs, and training must be fully compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazcom 2012 GHS standard. The last transition date, for Employer workplace systems, was completed on June 1, 2016.

Canada

In Canada, the implementation of GHS into existing regulations is currently in only its first transition phase. Health Canada’s Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) (ie. the ‘Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System 2015’, or ‘WHMIS 2015’), were only fairly recently published in February of 2015.

In its first transition phase, Manufacturers, Importers and Distributors, may comply with either the existing WHMIS regulation (‘WHMIS 1988’ or the ‘Controlled Products Regulations / CPR’), or the new WHMIS 2015 GHS regulation. SDS’s in this phase, may still be called ‘Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s)’, and labels may still show the characteristic WHMIS 1988 hatched border and circular symbols. Phase 1 comes to an end on May 31, 2017, after which, Manufacturers and Importers must comply fully with the WHMIS 2015 regulation. SDS’s and labels then after that date, which are produced by Manufacturers and Importers, must display GHS information.

In its second transition phase, which begins on June 1, 2017, Distributors may still comply with either the existing WHMIS 1988 regulation, or the new WHMIS 2015 GHS regulation. Employers now will also comply with either regulation. Phase 2 comes to an end on May 31, 2018, after which, Distributors must comply fully with the WHMIS 2015 regulation. Any SDS’s and labels in a distribution warehouse, then, after that date, must display GHS information.

In its third and final transition phase, which begins on June 1, 2018, Employers may still comply with either the existing WHMIS 1988 regulation, or the new WHMIS 2015 GHS regulation. Phase 3 comes to an end on November 30, 2018, after which, Employers must comply fully with the WHMIS 2015 regulation. With this third and final phase, individual Provinces may slightly extend certain aspects of employer WHMIS 1988 requirements, so the rules in place for each individual Province must be reviewed. For example, the Province of Ontario, will allow Federally-regulated Employers to use WHMIS 1988 for products already present in the workplace on December 1, 2018, until May 31, 2019.

Mexico

In Mexico, GHS was adopted even before it was adopted in the United States into OSHA regulations. In June of 2011, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare published a new Mexican standard, NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011. The standard adopted all building blocks of the UN’s Purple Book, revision 3, including all Environmentally Hazardous categories. The standard, however, was completely optional. Mexico presented the new standard as an ‘alternative’ to its existing standard, NOM-018-STPS-2000.

Then, fairly recently, in October of 2015, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare announced the adoption of a new GHS standard, which will eventually become mandatory. This is Mexican standard NOM-018-STPS-2015. This newer GHS standard adopted all building blocks of the UN’s Purple Book, revision 5, again, including all Environmentally Hazardous categories.

Similarly to Canada, Mexico is now also in a transition phase. Employers in Mexico may comply with the existing standard, NOM-018-STPS-2000, or standard NOM-018-STPS-2014 (this was a ‘proposed’ NOM that was officially adopted as NOM-018-STPS-2015), until October 8, 2018. SDS’s and labels then after that date, must display GHS information.

North America and Europe Reminders

Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Europe, will not be completely transitioned to GHS, across the board, until November 30, 2018, when Canada’s final transition phase for employers come to an end. In the meantime, keep in mind these differing transition and completion dates. And as always, remember that each country or region may throw in side-bar country specific requirements that veer away from the UN’s Purple Book. Review each regulation fully, and individually.

For further information and updates on European and North American regulations, please consult the following website links:

Europe:
ECHA

United States:
OSHA

Canada:
WHMIS

Mexico:
Diario Oficial de la Federación


If you have any questions regarding the GHS, please contact ICC Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

Services
Inspector Issue

Gaining Regulatory Knowledge

Many of us have heard the phrase, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” at some point in conversation with people. What’s interesting is the phrase was originally “A little learning is a dangerous thing“. It comes from Alexander Pope’s poem called “An Essay on Criticism“. This phase can be applicable when you work in an area with ever-changing regulations. The key is to get more knowledge.

A prime example can be found in a September 2016 newsletter from Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC). This group was formerly called the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors. In Volume 6 Issue 37 is the headline “Issue being reported with some WHMIS 2015 Inspectors RE: MSDS vs SDS“. In the article, RDC was contacted by a paint manufacturer. The manufacturer indicated that a Health Canada inspector was on the job site causing problems. At issue is the following:

“The HC inspector apparently said the paint manufacturer’s MSDS sheet was not acceptable because a “Safety Data Sheet” should now be supplied instead of a “Material Safety Data Sheet”. The inspector added that this change became effective in 2015 and said that the word “Material” should not be mentioned on the technical sheets.”

According to the manufacturer they have yet to convert to WHMIS 2015. In this case it is the inspector in error and a classic case of a little knowledge being dangerous.

Why?

Let’s discuss why. Canada aligned the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) in February 2015. This is why it is called WHMIS 2015. A part of the new regulation is to move from using the term “material safety data sheets” to just “safety data sheets”. There is a multi-year transition plan or phase in period in place before the new regulation goes into full effect. Here is where the inspector gets in trouble. It is during Phase 1 of the phase in plan that the terminology shifts. The dates for Phase 1 are February 11, 2015 to May 31, 2017. Since the paint manufacturer has yet to convert to WHMIS 2015, they still have time as allowed under Phase 1. They are in the right.

The inspector is aware of the changes in WHMIS 2015 which is great but also qualifies as a “little bit of learning”. Where he is “dangerous” is the fact that he was not aware of the time periods involved with the phase in of the new regulations. He was trying to force a regulatory change that is not yet mandatory. Had the inspector been more familiar with the new regulations this issue would not have happened.

Another part of Pope’s poem is the phrase, “To err is human, to forgive divine“. While this is a lovely sentiment, in the world of business and compliance it just isn’t possible. For a link to the complete RDC newsletter, click here.

Don’t be a “danger” to your business. Get trained beyond “a little bit of learning”. ICC Compliance Center offers a full range of courses including WHMIS 2015. Call us today for compliance audits and the multiple courses and learning platforms we offer.

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ – GHS Symbols on SDS in Canada and the United States

Frequently Asked SDS Symbols Questions

How many times have you thought you understood a requirement, only to second guess yourself about whether you got that right or not? It could be something relatively straight forward, or something a bit more complicated. Everyone has these moments occasionally, especially with the implementation of GHS around the world. At ICC, two of the questions that seem to pop up from time to time, revolve around symbols on SDSs.

Do GHS pictograms have to appear on an SDS?

The answer: No. The ‘pictogram,’ specifically, doesn’t have to appear. This answer, in part, boils down to terminology.

In both Canada, under WHMIS 2015 Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) requirements, and in the United States, under Hazcom 2012 requirements, Section 2 of an SDS is required to list the label ‘information elements’ that are applicable to the product. Hazard ‘symbols’ being one of the required ‘information elements’.

In both the United States and in Canada, ‘pictogram’ is defined as a “symbolalong with other “elements, such as a border or background color”. So a complete GHS ‘pictogram’ is actually two part; a graphic symbol on the inside, and a frame surrounding it. Both countries include an allowance only to show a ‘symbol’ (ie. not a ‘pictogram’), or, just the name of the symbol, on the SDS [Hazcom 2012, Appendix D, Table D.1, Item 2(b); WHMIS 2015 Hazardous Products Regulations, Schedule 1, Item 2(b)].

So … no complete ‘pictogram’ is required on the SDS in the US or in Canada.

If I choose to show a complete ‘pictogram’, and not just the ‘name’ of the symbol on the SDS in Section 2, do I have to use a red frame?

The answer: No. the ‘pictogram’ would not have to show a red frame on the SDS.

As mentioned above, in both countries, what is required on the SDS is the ‘symbol’ and not the complete ‘pictogram’ [Hazcom 2012, Appendix D, Table D.1, Item 2(b); HPR, Schedule 1, Item 2(b)]. What that means, is that if you choose to include a complete ‘pictogram’ on your Hazcom 2012 or WHMIS 2015 SDS (ie. the ‘symbolplus the frame), you can include the frame in the color you prefer since the requirement on the SDS is for the ‘symbol’ only and not the ‘pictogram’. There is no specific requirement in Hazcom 2012 or the HPR to have a red framed pictogram on the SDS. The red frame requirement is only on the label (Hazcom 2012, Appendix C, Section C.2.3.1; HPR, Part 3, Section 3.1).

As an example, Section 2 of an SDS for a product classified as a Flammable Liquid – Category 3 and an Eye Irritant – Category 2A, may appear as any of the following 3 options:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Label elements Label elements Label elements
Hazard pictogram(s) Hazard pictogram(s) Hazard pictogram(s)
Insert GHS Red flame & Exclamation Mark Insert GHS Black flame & Exclamation Mark Exclamation Mark

Don’t Forget

The above SDS information is applicable in Canada and the United States. Section 2 SDS requirements may vary, depending on what region of the world you are dealing with.

Should you have any questions regarding SDS’s, please contact ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 – The Great SDS “Headache” – Concentrations

New Concentrations and Concentration Ranges Rules

If you’ve begun switching your MSDSs to SDSs under the new WHMIS 2015 regulations, you likely know this headache all too well.

With the publication and implementation of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR or WHMIS 2015), Health Canada removed the old Controlled Products Regulations’ (CPR or WHMIS 1988) list of prescribed concentration ranges that could be used in MSDSs. These concentrations were in place, in part, to allow some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection when concentrations varied in a product. WHMIS 2015 now requires disclosure of exact concentrations of ingredients, or the actual concentration range of the ingredient. Actual concentration ranges can only be used if the concentration varies in the product due to issues such as batch to batch variability. You cannot list a range if you have an exact concentration, and simply wanted to “protect your formula”.

Suppliers would be required to file a CBI claim under WHMIS 2015 requirements, if even just to protect the exact concentration of one ingredient on a SDS. A whole host of difficulties may face the supplier in obtaining information that would be needed to complete this type of CBI submission, such as obtaining exact concentration information from suppliers outside the country, where CBI or trade secret requirements are different from those in Canada. In the United States, for example, there is no federal requirement to submit any type of claim to protect an ingredient’s exact concentration on a SDS. The SDS simply has to state that the concentration is being withheld as a “trade secret.” You can imagine the reluctance of a US supplier in providing information that they consider to be a trade secret.

This new requirement to submit a CBI claim for exact concentrations can result in significant additional costs. Fees for an original claim begin at $1800 CAD per claim, with review fees every three years of $1440 CAD per claim. Sometimes the supplier can group several products into one claim; however, costs for submission could skyrocket depending on just how many products are being submitted. The non-profit trade association Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC) estimates that the impact of those submission fees to members of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association (CCSPA) will be over $12 million.

Alternatives

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however. As a result of this substantial cost burden, the RDC, as an industry representative, has requested that Health Canada amend the HPR to include some kind of alternative to disclosing exact concentrations that avoids having to file a costly CBI claim. The RDC believes that the use of ranges does not diminish protection of workers, and that the new requirements in WHMIS 2015 creates disharmony rather than harmony between Canada and its major trading partners.

In the RDC Newsletter Volume 6 Issue 43, issued November 7, 2016, the RDC presented a proposal that would allow the use of the WHMIS 1988 prescribed ranges again, with the added ability to combine up to three of the low end ranges into a single range (e.g. 0.1 – 1%, 0.5 – 1.5% and 1 – 5%, into one range of 0.1 – 5%). The additional stipulation of allowing those combined low end ranges, would, the RDC believes, allow for better alignment with US requirements.

Open for Suggestions

In previous meetings with Health Canada, the RDC and other industry groups did not come to a resolution on this issue of concentration disclosure, but Health Canada is willing to listen to solutions to this issue such as the current RDC proposal. The RDC has requested help from interested parties on approaching Health Canada, and is asking that suggestions from interested parties be sent to Cathy Campbell at: ccampbell@rdcanada.ca. Please submit your suggestions prior to November 30, 2016.

If you would like to learn more about the RDC, please consult the following website: http://www.rdcanada.ca/. For further information on CBI exemptions and claims in Canada, please consult the following website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/hmira-lcrmd/index-eng.php.


As always, should you have any questions regarding SDSs, please contact ICC Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

OSHA Safety
What to do When the Inspector Comes Knocking

Is anyone really ready for a surprise visit from a hazmat inspector? The quick answer is no, but there are things that you can do to prepare in anticipation of a visit.

Federal law requires that you allow an inspector access to records, property, reports, and other information relevant to shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods. Unlike the crime show Law and Order, a search warrant is not required; you may not deny an inspector access to a regulated facility, impose conditions on the entry, or limit the inspector’s right to gather information or evidence.

Inspector’s will visit for a variety of reasons, but often include:

  • Complaints
  • Observations
  • High-risk commodities (explosives, bulk shipments)
  • Incidents
  • Prior issues
  • Proximity to another company being inspected

Preparing for the inevitable

  • Develop a plan and designate staff with defined roles
  • Ensure the designate knows what to say, and when to seek assistance from upper management
  • Conduct internal audits and institute corrective actions
  • Have commonly requested items in a centralized location

What are commonly request documents?

  • List of hazmat employees
  • Employee training records
  • Shipping papers
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Special permits and interpretations

What do you do when it is show time?

  • Ask the inspector to identify him/herself and the purpose of the visit
  • Escort them to a quiet area where they can review documents
  • Do not volunteer information, wait for them to ask
  • Be polite, courteous and helpful. Never become rude or argumentative
  • Take notes on what is discussed and who is spoken to
  • Explain company polices (i.e., they must take brief safety training before entering the facility, they must wear safety glasses in a specific area, the supervisor must be present when…)
  • Document the inspector’s information and get a business card, if available
  • Do NOT sign anything except the Exit Brief

The Exit Brief

The Exit Brief will document the visit and any infractions that were found. Signing this document is not an admission of guilt, but rather acknowledging receipt of the document.

Most common violations

  • Failure to train
  • Improper training recordkeeping
  • Undeclared shipments
  • Improper packaging
  • Improper closures
  • Improper testing
  • Labels and marks not properly applied
  • Unauthorized Emergency Response number

After the inspection

  • Follow up with information/documents that may have been requested
  • Verify the probable violation, and take corrective actions
  • Document any actions and/or training
  • Seek assistance by industry experts on areas that you may not understand
  • Reply within timeframes indicated on the documents received
  • Ask for an extension when needed

Being prepared for the inspector before they arrive will save time, cost, and frustration. Always do your best to comply with the regulations, and revisit internal procedures regularly to ensure they are being followed. Ensure that you stay up-to-date with the changes in the regulations, and ensure all employees are trained accordingly.


Need help? Ask us about our auditing and training services. We can help ensure you and your employees are prepared just in case the inspector comes knocking.

WHMIS 2015
Bulletin – Saskatchewan Puts WHMIS 2015 in Force

Saskatchewan Joins the Fold- WHMIS 2015 Implementation Starts August 17

The “Land of Living Skies” (SK) has become the 6th province to finalize regulatory amendments to implement WHMIS 2015 in workplaces under their jurisdiction.

REG 6, officially named “The Occupational Health and Safety (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Regulations, takes effect August 17, 2016 –as published in the June 17 Saskatchewan Gazette.

The regulation supplements The Saskatchewan Employment Act WHMIS requirements (Part III, DIVISON 7 of Statute S-15.1). As long as employers comply with the WHMIS 1988 requirements during the transition period, full compliance with WHMIS 2015 labelling/SDS at a worksite does not become mandatory until December 1, 2018.

The requirements mirror those in the model regulation which have been included to varying degrees in the FPT (federal/provincial/territorial) workplace regulations issued to date.

As with most OHS (occupational health & safety) regulations, training must be provided for hazards in the workplace- so employers receiving WHMIS 2015 labeled products/SDS will be expected to have trained workers in using the new system before they are able to be introduced to a worksite or place of employment (the defined terms for what other FPT refer to as a “workplace”).

Oh – “Land of Living Skies”?:
Saskatchewan is called the Land of Living Skies for a reason »

But if you visit, beware of Captain Tractor: