OSHA HazCom 2012
OSHA HazCom 2012 – One Month after the Deadline: What’s Different?

Where’s the Beef?

A better question to ask than the one posed in the title is “Where’s the beef?” Many will remember this 1980’s catchphrase uttered by Clara Peller in an advertisement for the fast food chain Wendy’s. The purpose of this advertisement was to differentiate between the big name sandwiches provided by McDonald’s and Burger King and Wendy’s own Single. The difference was in the size of the bun used by the competitors and the large beef patty used at Wendy’s. (Click here for the Wendy’s Commercial)

For those in the hazard communication industry, the question applies because of the June 1st deadline. This deadline was for all safety data sheets (SDS) and labels to be updated under the new OSHA HazCom2012 format. It is now after July 1st and many downstream users are asking “Where are the updated SDS and labels” much like in the Wendy’s commercial. Granted some companies made the deadline and are supplying the new versions of the documents. Unfortunately, there are a great many that have not.

So, are things really different?

Many on the business side of manufacturers, importers and distributors, the answer will likely be, “not much”. The business is still manufacturing product, importing goods and distributing items. That process has not truly changed. From a Regulatory or Compliance point of view the answer to that is “yes”. If your company has not completed the reclassifications of your products, then you are probably out of compliance. If the reclassifications are complete but the SDS and labels do not reflect this, then you are probably out of compliance. The words “out of compliance” are bad words, very bad words.

The word “probably” is used above because OSHA provided a memorandum on Enforcement Guidance on February 9th to help people meet the June 1 deadline. It basically allows for companies to “make a case” for why all of the items required by the June 1st deadline are not complete. For information on it, please see one of my previous blogs (Enforcement of HSC 2012). On May 29th a follow-up Interim Enforcement Guidance was published. This memorandum gives some further clarification to the February 9th document. To see this updated memorandum, please see: OSHA’s HCS Guide.

Despite the passing of June 1st, many in the industry are still waiting for the updated SDS and labels. For many, things are still in process and haven’t truly changed. We will all continue to ask “Where’s the beef?” until the next two OSHA deadlines pass. Perhaps by December 1, 2015 and definitely by June 1, 2016 we will finally know where to find the “beef”.

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