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 Continue Reading…

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 Continue Reading…

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 Continue Reading…

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 Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…
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:

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 Update – Ontario Joins the Fold

UPDATE – The June 29 Canada Gazette II contains the Federal Canada Labour Code adoption of WHMIS 2015 into the various CLC OHS Regulations (SOR 2016/141).

The amendments are effective immediately with an employer operating transition period until Nov. 30, 2018 – i.e. WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 may be used for products in/entering the workplace.

WHMIS 1988 may be used for products already present in the workplace at Dec. 1, 2018 until May 31, 2019.

Details can be found:
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2016/2016-06-29/html/sor-dors141-eng.php

Watch our Blog site for more information


Formal Transition to WHMIS 2015

July 1st Ontario begins the formal transition to WHMIS 2015- Ontario Gazette June 25, 2016 –O.Reg. 168/16 amends O. Reg. 860

Ontario employers must prepare to convert their workplace programs to WHMIS 2015 during the period from July 1, 2016 through May 31, 2018. Stock under WHMIS 1988 already in the workplace may continue to be used until Nov. 30, 2018. Product received under WHMIS 1988 must comply with supplier labeling requirements (e.g. hatched borders/symbols) and MSDS requirements (e.g. 3 year “expiry” date) under the WHMIS 1988 (CPR) regulations.

Introducing new products under WHMIS 2015 will require training workers in WHMIS 2015 before they are used.

This information is referenced in the amended O. Reg. 860 s. 25.1 “Transition”; and the enforcement policy as last reviewed December 2015:

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/faqs/whmis2015.php

ON OHS ACT

As before, the majority of details are contained in the amended O. Reg. Continue Reading…

OSHA Flammable
“Light My Fire” – Calculating Flash Points for Flammable Liquids

One of the most common tests for determining hazard classification is the flash point. This humble piece of physical information is defined in various ways in various regulations, but generally is the lowest temperature at which the vapours from a flammable liquid will ignite near the surface of the liquid, or in a test vessel. This can be critical for safety, because this temperature will be the lowest possible for the liquid to cause a flash fire if released or spilled. If the material can be handled and transported at temperatures lower than the flash point, the fire risk will be much smaller.

The flash point has become the standard test for classifying flammable liquids. It’s used by the U.S. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) and HMR (Hazardous Materials Regulations) classification systems, as well as Canada’s WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) and TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations).

Obtaining a flash point on a new product is usually easy enough. Many laboratories, particularly those that deal with petrochemicals, can perform the test for a reasonable charge. If your company has too many products to make outsourcing practicable, a flash point tester itself is comparatively low cost (as scientific apparatus goes), and a trained person can obtain data quickly and efficiently. However, both of these options do cost money. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a Continue Reading…

OSHA Flammable
OSHA Tanker Labeling HazCom 2012 – “Everything Old is New Again”

Clarification provided by OSHA’s Inspection Procedure, Directive CPL 02-02-079 in July 2015, is filtering through the regulated community and causing some concern.

The directive essentially confirms that HazCom 2012 labeling applies to “… a tank truck, rail car or similar vehicle…” comprising the container for a hazardous chemical when it is not immediately unloaded at the destination.

Hazard Communication is Key

The intent is presumably to ensure that workers potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals will be able to identify the risks, particularly if they are not familiar with DOT markings – or if the substance is a hazardous chemical under OSHA, despite not being a hazardous material under DOT.

The wording of 29 CFR1910.1200(c) is light on definitions of “container” (“…storage tank or the like that contains a hazardous chemical…”); and “shipped container” in (f)(1) et al is not actually defined in the regulation itself.

However, “Shipped Container” is defined in part X.C.21 of the CPL directive, i.e. “… means any container leaving the workplace, whether through normal shipping routes or physically handed to another person.”

Consequently OSHA expects that rail or highway tankers as “shipped containers” will, in addition to 49 CFR – required safety marks, include the HazCom 2012 “… labeling information … either posted on the outside of the vehicle or attached to the accompanying shipping papers …”

Sending a copy separately from the vehicle is not allowed.

Custom Tank Labels Continue Reading…

Safety
Clark Griswold and Portable Ladder Safety

As it is the time of year to begin taking down holiday decorations, the topic of portable ladder safety should be addressed. There are various ways to teach and model proper safety techniques in the use of these types of ladders. One of the best is by using humor and my personal favorite is Chevy Chase playing Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon’s movies. Chase’s use of slapstick or physical comedy often has the desired effect of teaching people the best ways to NOT do a task.

Let’s put together one of the classic scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and apply OSHA’s Ladder Safety Requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1053 to it to see just how bad Clark Griswold is at safety. To view the scene, click here. To view OSHA’s Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™, click here.

So, here is the comparison. Below is the requirement as listed on the Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™ followed by how Clark is in violation of it.  See if you can find any I missed in my assessment.

  1. Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.

VIOLATION: This one is questionable, but given Clark’s way of working it is doubtful the yellow safety sticker on the side of the ladder was checked before it was removed from the garage and set into place.

  1. Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before Continue Reading…