An inquiry was made by the American Coatings Association, which they asked OSHA to clearly outline the import of materials and the export of materials in sealed containers for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) responded with a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) on November 23rd, 2015 which further clarified the responsibilities of US companies when importing or exporting materials that require attention under the 29 CFR 1910.1200
In regard to import OSHA’s guidance in the LOI states the responsibility falls on the importers to assure compliant labeling when the material becomes under their control. Once in their control, importers must follow the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(4) where applicable. Importers must also assure compliance with HCS 2012 prior to shipping within the United States. In this LOI, OSHA encourages the review of their CPL-02-02-079 Section X.F.2h compliance directive which entails information for materials packaged for shipment prior to June 1st, 2015.
OSHA’s guidance for export in this LOI for sealed containers is that if prepared for direct shipment outside the US and are inside a USDOT approved shipping container, the manufacturer can label the container for the destination country. A HCS compliant label must be affixed to the outside package or be attached to the shipping papers as well. The container would also have to be labeled according the appropriate regulation for transport. In the case of said containers being stored in a manufacturer’s onsite warehouse prior to shipment overseas, then the external packaging must be labeled in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(6) in addition to the above mentioned labeling. The requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200 (b)(4) apply in addition to the requirements already mentioned if containers are stored off-site or in a third party warehouse prior to overseas shipment. The manufacturer must provide a safety data sheet to the third party employer.
Manufacturers that are exporting materials may find relief from the burden of attempting to label shipped containers under the US and other country’s regulations. Reminders have been given to importers that if it cannot be arranged for compliant labeling to be applied materials prior to US entry, the duty will fall upon them.
Access to this LOI, which contains the above information, was provided by the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC).