Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. Here are some highlights from our helpdesk last week. Check back weekly, the helpdesk rarely hears the same question twice.
#4. Why is My Product X when it should be Y? (USA)
Q. Why is my product listed as a Flammable Liquid Category 4, when the product is combustible?
A. Under OSHA Hazcom 2012, a product that has a flashpoint >140°F and <199.4°F is considered a Flammable Liquid Category 4.
This is illustrated in the table below:
Table B.6.1: Criteria for flammable liquids
Table B.6.1: Criteria for flammable liquids
Flash point < 23°C (73.4°F) and initial boiling point ≤ 35°C (95°F)
Flash point < 23°C (73.4°F) and initial boiling point > 35°C (95°F)
Flash point ≥ 23°C (73.4°F) and ≤ 60°C (140°F)
Flash point > 60°C (140°F) and ≤ 93°C (199.4°F)
Once you have the classification, then you can apply the label phrases. The Flammable Liquid Category 4 hazard statement is Combustible Liquid. This is outlined in the table below.
C.4.19 Flammable Liquids (Continued)
(Classified in Accordance with Appendix B.6)
#3. Does my Class 6 placard need to show Class 6.1? (International)
Or: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, … “it means just what I choose it to mean …”
Lewis Carrol “Through the Looking Glass” in Bartleby’s “A Dictionary of Quotations”: http://www.bartleby.com/73/2019.html
Health Canada provided an FAQ presentation at a recent CIC (Current Issues Committee) meeting that may provide a useful lead in to the more detailed Guidance document published in December 2016.
The latter, “Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the Hazardous Products Act & Hazardous Products Regulations – WHMIS 2015 Supplier Requirements”, provides (at 540 pages) a detailed review of the content of the law and various aspects of guidance/interpretation. This document is available for download at:
The length of the document may be daunting to the casual user, so the FAQ presentation attempts to present Health Canada’s position on items that are of current concern.
The CIC is a multi-representative committee that meets several times a year to review, as it’s name implies, issues that can be improved to increase the effectiveness of WHMIS in helping to protect workers. Currently there are representatives from various government levels (Federal/Provincial/Territorial), Health & Safety organizations (e.g. CCOHS), industry organizations (e.g. RDC, CIAC, etc.) and Labour (CLC, Unifor, etc.).
Alberta Labour Announces Comprehensive OHS Review – Invites Comments by October 16
Taking Alberta workplaces a little closer to heaven:
The province of Alberta is inviting stakeholders to get involved in a comprehensive review of its occupational health and safety (OHS) system. Although there have been some amendments (e.g. to the OHS Act in 2012, with an update to the OHS Regulation in 2013), the system was established in 1976. The operating OHS Code, containing details (such as WHMIS requirements) has not been updated since 2009.
[Note: Alberta Labour has also posted an update to their WHMIS 2015 transition policy following the extension of Health Canada’s deadline to 2018 for suppliers:
In addition to general regulatory updates, the review will also look at improving the fundamental aspects of the system under the key themes of responsibility, worker engagement and prevention.
This topic will examine potential enhancements to the internal responsibility system that may include tools such as prescribed joint health and safety committees or other programs, and enforcement options.
Worker engagement is dependant on protected rights- i.e. the right to: know about hazards; freely participate in OHS decisions or to refuse unsafe work, without fear of reprisal. Education and training of workers can Continue Reading…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Continue Reading…
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 Continue Reading…
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 Continue Reading…
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.”
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 “symbol” along 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’ Continue Reading…