WHMIS 2015 Concentration Ranges – Finally Some SDS ‘Relief’

WHMIS Update

Health Canada Amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations)

Health Canada published a proposed amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations), which included an option to use specified concentration ranges for ingredients rather than the exact or actual chemical concentration on their SDSs (safety data sheets) (October 21, 2017).

That proposed amendment to allow ranges, would offer industry some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection of formulations without having to go through a potentially costly CBI application claim under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).

Ahhh….’Relief’

After receiving comments and questions on the proposed amendment to allow the use of concentration ranges on SDSs, Health Canada has advised that the amendment has been approved and registered as of April 4, 2018. The approved amendment has yet to appear in the official Gazette II publication, but is expected to appear on April 18, 2018. Since it is officially registered, the amendment is effective, and can be applied, now.

The Details…

Health Canada, through this new amendment, is giving the option to suppliers, to list prescribed concentration ranges for ingredients on SDSs, without having to apply for a potentially costly exemption, in accordance with the HMIRA.

Suppliers may use this option when they wish to protect exact concentrations, or ‘actual concentration ranges’, which they feel are trade secrets.

The following are the approved, prescribed, list of concentration ranges:

0.1 – 1.0%
0.5 – 1.5%
1.0 – 5.0%
3.0 – 7.0%
5.0 Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: February 19 & 26

Shipments to Puerto Rico, Non-hazardous substances, the Overpack label, and Aviation Regulated Liquids or Solids

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows – of the regulations.

Shipping to Puerto Rico

Q.  If 49 CFR is used to make a vessel shipment of limited quantities from the mainland US to Puerto Rico is a shipping paper required? I’m asking because limited quantities don’t require shipping papers.

A. Technically that is true. Shipping papers are not needed for US GROUND shipments. You have to read the fine print in paragraph 173.150(b) which is the section on limited quantities for flammable and combustible liquids. It that paragraph it says, ” … is not subject to the shipping paper requirements of subpart C of part 172 of this subchapter, unless the material meets the definition of a hazardous substance, hazardous waste, marine pollutant, or is offered for transportation and transported by aircraft or vessel, and is eligible for the exceptions provided in §173.156 of this part“.

Non-hazardous substances under WHMIS 2015

Q.Customer called and asked if SDS’s were required for non-hazardous substances and where to find this in the WHMIS 2015 Regulations?

A.The answer to your question can be found below in WHMIS 2015, which states that safety data sheets only pertain to a hazardous product, therefore Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
GHS SDS Ingredient Disclosure

Young female Industrial Worker

Another SDS ‘Headache’

If you are supplying chemical products that require Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) to multiple countries, you are also likely to know this headache well.

With the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification & Labeling (GHS) around the world progressing, issues are beginning to appear which emphasize points where…. Maybe requirements are not so ‘harmonized’. One such issue, is ingredient disclosure requirements on SDS’s for mixtures across different regions of the world.

The United Nation’s (UN’s) GHS system, does contain some standardized recommendations for SDS, including that SDS’s should be provided only for chemicals classified as ‘hazardous’, SDS’s should contain basic minimum information (e.g., 16 sections with specific headings), as well as more detailed recommended guidance on how to prepare each section of the SDS.

Ingredient disclosure recommendations, in particular, appear in Annex 4 of the GHS. In general, the GHS recommends that for a mixture classified as hazardous, the SDS should list all ‘hazardous’ ingredients, which are individually hazardous to health or the environment, when the ingredients are present above concentration cutoff levels. There’s several parts of that general requirement, which can be viewed as a ‘can of worms’.

Are the cutoff levels the same for each region of the world? How should one handle ingredient disclosure when you are in a region that doesn’t regulate environmental hazards on SDS’s? Are ‘non-hazardous’ chemical mixtures really not Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: January 29

WHMIS Labels Format, How ICAO and IATA are Related, Shipping Residues, and IATA Documentation

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows – of the regulations.

WHMIS Labels Format

Q. Is there a specified format for WHMIS 2015 workplace labels?
A. No. The information is specified but not the format. Pictograms may assist employees in quickly identifying the hazards/precautions; and may simplify employer creation of substitute “supplier” labels.

This is especially true when employees have been trained in the GHS-based WHMIS 2015 system. Employers must ensure training has been provided if GHS pictograms are used on workplace labels during the transition period.

ICAO/IATA Relationship

Q. Is a risk of non-compliance in using IATA DGR given that government regulations specify compliance with ICAO Technical instructions?
A. IATA DGR states in §1.14 that they contain all of the ICAO TI requirements and add additional restrictions. Thus, complying with IATA DGR will ensure compliance with ICAO TI. As with all regulations, it is important to keep aware of amendments/corrigenda between publication dates.

Shipping Residues (TDG)

Q. When we are shipping residues…. Can we and how do we indicate ‘Residue last contained’ on the transport document.
A. If the quantity of dangerous goods in a means of containment is less than 10 per cent of the Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: January 22, 2018

Shipping Alkaline Batteries, IBC Pressure Gauges, and SDS Expiry Under WHMIS 2015

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows – of the regulations.

Shipping Spent Alkaline Batteries (49 CFR)

Q. Can spent alkaline batteries (Duracell) be shipped to a recycling facility by ground without being declared dangerous goods?
A. Assuming that these are dry alkaline batteries that are used or spent for recycling, they are not required to be shipped as dangerous goods by ground in the USA per 172.102 Provision 130 (d) provided they are rated under 9 volts per below.

Ground Transport (US DOT): 49 CFR 172.102 SPECIAL PROVISION 130

Used or spent battery exception. Used or spent dry batteries of both non-rechargeable and rechargeable designs, with a marked rating up to 9-volt that are combined in the same package and transported by highway or rail for recycling, reconditioning, or disposal are not subject to this special provision or any other requirement of the HMR.

Pressure Gauge Requirements for IBCs

Q. What are the pressure gauge testing requirements for 31A IBCs?
A. I referred the customer to 178.814 d (1) (2) which lists 2 consecutive tests that must be administered with a rating of 65kPa first followed by 200kPa.

Can You Use Capital Letters (TDG)?

Q. Do Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: January 8, 2018

3 Questions from our Regulatory Helpdesk

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows – of the regulations.

Disclosing Concentration Ranges Under WHMIS 2015

Q. Do I have to indicate “Proprietary” on a WHMIS (M)SDS when masking actual concentrations with ranges?
A. It depends. WHMIS 1988 accepted the use of concentration ranges on MSDS to mask confidential business information (CBI) without requiring any indication.

WHMIS 2015 does not currently allow the use of ranges other than the concentration range actually present for a variable substance (also, unlike WHMIS 1988, ranges cannot be used to allow a single SDS for a series of different but similar products).

Products subject to an approved masking under the HMIR Act do have to, in both versions, reference the exemption authorization on the (M)SDS.

A CBI amendment under consideration may re-introduce the permissible use of ranges to unilaterally mask actual concentrations. This proposal as currently written requires a statement in the SDS when a range is used that’s wider than the actual concentration range, to protect CBI. We’ll have to wait for the final amendment to answer the question going forward …

IMDG or TDG?

Q. Does a shipment within Canada by vessel from Newfoundland require placarding according to the IMDG Code or do the provisions of the TDGR Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: November 13, 2017

Top 4 Questions from the Regulatory Helpdesk

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.

WHMIS Label Size Requirements

Q. Is there were size requirements for WHMIS labels?
A. No, the HPR does not mandate a size requirement other than saying it has to be legible. But, what does legible mean? As a general rule of thumb, which we have developed from reviewing many different labeling regulations is 10 mm for one side of the pictogram, and 2 mm for the font size (1.6 mm for a worst-case scenario).

IATA Special Provision

Q. What does  IATA’s Special Provision A191 mean?
A. It was determined that SP A191 means if you have a manufactured article with less than 5 kg of mercury in it (like a thermometer) then you don’t need the Class 6.1 label for mercury’s subsidiary hazard and you don’t have to list the 6.1 subsidiary hazard on the shipper’s declaration.   From what we can tell that only applies to UN3506 which is Mercury contained in manufactured articles.

Quantity Limits – TDG (Canada)

Q: What does the quantity limit in TDG Columns 8 & 9 represent in terms of Passenger conveyance restrictions- package, consignment, …?
A: Good point which many find confusing. The answer is in the often-overlooked Continue Reading…
WHMIS 2015
Health Canada Notice of Intent for Possible Amendments to the HPA and HMIRA

Warehouse with chemicals

The Issues with Exclusions and Confidential Business Information (CBI) Keep Coming

Health Canada recently published a proposed amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations), which included an option to use specified concentration ranges for ingredients rather than the exact or actual chemical concentration on their SDSs (safety data sheets) (October 21, 2017). The proposed amendment to allow these ranges, would offer industry some CBI protection of formulations without having to go through a potentially costly CBI application claim under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).

The “Why” of the Notice

After receiving comments and questions on the proposed amendment, Health Canada brought forward two additional bigger issues, the full exclusion of consumer products from the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and HPR (or WHMIS 2015), and whether to allow CBI protections of substances with special health hazards (particularly carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants and respiratory sensitizers, or “CMRRs”).

The “What” of the Notice

With regard to the full exclusion of consumer products from the HPA and HPR, stakeholders felt that since the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001) did not include hazard criteria for special health hazards like the CMRR’s, a worker that might purchase a consumer product from a retail store to use in their workplace, will not have the same full hazard information on the product (and will therefore not protect themselves appropriately) that they would have if the Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: October 30, 2017

Top 4 Questions from the Regulatory Helpdesk

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.

WHMIS Labeling

Q. If a product is manufactured in Canada strictly for export into the US, does it require the French on the GHS label?
A. HPR (Hazard Products Regulations) section 5.14, subsection 3. These exemptions from labeling and SDS (safety data sheet) requirements apply to importation (subsection 5.14(2) of the HPR) and sale, for the purposes of exportation (subsection 5.14(3) of the HPR), of hazardous products that are not meant to be used in a work place in Canada. Such hazardous products do not require an HPR compliant label or SDS.

Lithium Battery Labels

Q. When does the 12 mm UN number height requirement start?
A. The IATA 59th edition states the UN number height should be 12 mm. Since IATA 59th edition becomes mandatory on January 1, 2018, the UN height change is effective then. Keep in mind however that IATA defines “should” as a recommendation, it is not mandatory.

Lithium Battery Label Hash Marks

Q. I have a question on the red slash marks all the way around the label – what is the requirement on that?

WHMIS 2015
Health Canada Proposed Amendment to the HPR

chemical concentrations and ranges

Hooray for Ranges!

Finally, news that every Canadian chemical manufacturer, supplier, and importer has been waiting for.

On October 21, 2017, Health Canada proposed an amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations) providing industry with the option to use prescribed concentration ranges rather than the actual chemical concentration on their SDS (safety data sheets).

When Heath Canada updated the HPR to include the Globally Harmonized System into their regulations, they removed the ranges that were previously allowed in the 1988 edition.

One can imagine the reaction from people in the industry. We have heard things like, “I am not going to give away my formulation,” or “Are they trying to put me out of business?“.

After many months and many discussions with industry, RDC (Responsible Distribution Canada) and other Canadian associations persuaded Health Canada to agree to amend the HPR to include ranges – providing relief to industry. HMIRA claims may still be required for those who want to further protect their formula; however, Health Canada expects that with this amendment HMIRA filings will not increase.

The following is what the proposed amendment states:

  • The amendment allows the use of prescribed concentration ranges to protect ingredient concentrations and concentration ranges that are considered CBI without having to submit claims for exemption under the HMIRA. These prescribed concentration ranges will be spelled out directly in the HPR. The concentrations and concentration ranges of Continue Reading…