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 Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
What is the Significance of June 1st?

What significance does June 1st have in the world of hazardous materials?

Hopefully this does not come as a surprise, but it is the deadline for the final implementation date for Hazcom 2012.

Effective Completion Date Requirements Who
December 1, 2013 Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format. Employers
June 1, 2015 or December 1,2015 Compliance with all modified provisions of this final rule, except:The Distributor shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a HCS Compliant label Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers
June 1, 2016 Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards. Employers

In March 2012, OSHA aligned the HCS (Hazard Communication Standard) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This kicked off a four-year phase-in period which is now officially over.

By now, all chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers in the USA should have switched from OSHA 1994 to Hazcom 2012. This includes training all employees, classifying all products to the Hazcom 2012 criteria, creating Hazcom 2012 Safety Data Sheets (SDS), creating compliant shipped container labels, and finally updating workplace labeling and written safety programs to Hazcom 2012 standards.

Our handy 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 Continue Reading…

December 1, 2015 – HazCom 2012 Effective Completion Date

December 1, 2015 is an important date. You should know why by now!

Dates are important to everyone – especially during holidays when people take time off, relax, and enjoy company. December 1, 2015 is definitely an important date – to those in the hazardous materials industry – but, there won’t be any time off, relaxation, or holiday to celebrate. Rather, today is the effective completion date for compliance with all modified provisions of the Hazcom 2012 final rule: distributors shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a Hazcom 2012 label.

Sounds simple enough, right? Just put a Hazcom 2012 label on containers and you’re done. On the surface it sounds simple; however, it is anything but that. This affects chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers. If labeling is not part of the normal procedures then making sure the proper Hazcom 2012 label is used can be a daunting task.

Chemical distributors who package product (i.e., drums, totes) will need safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels updated. Otherwise, they cannot ship product as of December 1, 2015. Chemical distributors who distribute only (i.e., warehouse chemicals and distribute in the containers they came in) will need to find Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

OSHA Labeling
It’s What’s Inside that Counts — OSHA Labeling of Shipped Containers

Sometimes, regulations don’t give us all the answers we need. For example, many people are confused about the labelling requirements found in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) of Part 1910.1200 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This section tells us that we must label all “shipped containers” that contain hazardous substances destined for workplace use. But what exactly is the “shipped container,” when you have inner containers inside an outer one?

The simplest form of “shipped container” is a single packaging. This is a packaging such as a drum or bag, with no inner containers. Such a packaging must be labeled according to the HCS, if the product is hazardous and is intended for a U.S. workplace. If the product is also regulated as a hazardous material for transport according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), then we must also display DOT labels and marks as required by 49 CFR.

However, it gets murkier when we look at combination packagings. These packagings consist of an outer packaging as well as one or more inner packagings. In a transportation sense, both the inner and outer packagings are “shipped.” But are they “shipped containers”?

The answer to this question isn’t found directly in the HCS. Instead, Continue Reading…

GHS
“Oh, How We Could Harmonize” — OSHA HazCom 2012 & WHMIS 2015

The Gang that Sang in this case is US OSHA/Health Canada; and it’s hazardous communications, not “Heart of my Heart” (despite my fondness of the former!), that they’ve been “singing” about.

In any case, despite the efforts there are still some differences between the two countries. Health Canada, following the coming into force of the Hazardous Products Act/Regulations (“HPR- WHMIS 2015”) in February, has thoughtfully produced a summary table of variances between Canada’s WHMIS 2015 and US OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (“HazCom” or HCS2012”).

The obvious English-French bilingual requirement is first on the list. One aspect of this that is not highlighted is the requirement to provide BOTH languages on the SDS (either as a bilingual document- or with the 2 versions attached as a single document) when selling to a Canadian customer.

As indicated in the Canada Gazette II “regulatory impact analysis statement” (RIAS), various differences are necessary to either reflect constitutional/regulatory regimes or to ensure that worker protection features considered essential are maintained.


10 Disharmonies in OSHA & WHMIS »


An example of the former is the requirement to differentiate and define “hazards not otherwise classified” (HNOC) between physical and health related hazards. Also the unilateral declaration of “proprietary” information, while not specifically mentioned Continue Reading…

GHS Pictogram Exclamation
The Challenge of Two-Color Pictograms

Two-Colors are Required

One of the challenges that chemicals companies face due to the implementation of Hazcom 2012 is how to print the red border on their supplier/container labels.

Part 1910.1200 C.2.3 says:

C.2.3.1 Pictograms shall be in the shape of a square set at a point and shall include a black hazard symbol on a white background with a red frame sufficiently wide to be clearly visible. A square red frame set at a point without a hazard symbol is not a pictogram and is not permitted on the label.

The newly released WHMIS 2015 regulations adopted the same requirement.

ghs-pictograms

Most companies like the flexibility of printing on-demand.

Printing On-Demand Options Include:

  • Keep the monochrome laser printer and buy preprinted stock
  • Buy a 2-color laser printer
  • Buy a 2-color thermal transfer printer
  • Inkjet printers (using pigmented inks)

See ICC’s full line of printing and label options »

There is no cookie-cutter approach. Every company has different requirements. How many labels are needed, how often they are needed, and how many different types are needed are just a few things to be considered. The environment where the printer and label stock is located also plays a part.

Did you know that ICC Compliance Center manufacturers labels? We specialize in chemical Continue Reading…

GHS
GHS Revision 6 is Coming!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

David Bowie’s 1971 album “Hunky Dory” included the song “Changes” which was released in January 1972. While being recognized as one of Bowie’s most well-known songs, it never made it in into the “Top 40”. One of the lyrics from that song is

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes / (Turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-Changes”.

Those lyrics are most appropriate given the release of the UN ECE Secretariat’s publication of the changes to the 5th Revised edition, which will lead to the creation of Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Sixth Revised Edition.

Here is the link to published changes document.

Six of the changes coming to Revision 6 are as follows:

  1. Desensitized Explosives. A new hazard class for Revision 6 which carries the definition of “solid or liquid explosive substances or mixtures which are phlegmatized to suppress their explosive properties in such a manner that they do not mass explode and do not burn too rapidly and therefore may be exempted from the hazard class “Explosives” (see Chapter 2.1; see also Note 2 to paragraph 2.1.2.2).”  This new class will have four categories and include its own label elements, H phrases and P phrases.
  2. Pyrophoric Gases. Chapter 2.2 entitled “Flammable Gases (Including Chemically Unstable Gases) Continue Reading…
GHS
Fewer Than 100 Days – HazCom 2012 Effective Date

Time Flies …

There are fewer than 100 days left until the big June 1 deadline. Will you be ready?

It is hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since OSHA announced the integration of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS) into their hazard communication regulations 29 CFR 1900.1200. Since then, many countries have also published their regulations, including Canada, with their recent announcement about WHMIS 2015.

I hope the June 1 deadline for safety data sheet and label conversion is not news to you. Most companies should have their documents and labels in progress, if you don’t, better get started! You have a lot of work ahead of you.

I don’t know if everyone understands what a huge undertaking the conversion of an MSDS to an SDS is. The research alone to get the data needed for the classification can take hours. The health hazard data is often hard to find, and confusing. Finding quality, reliable data is key. Don’t take short cuts.

Once you have the data, interpreting it is another matter. STOTs are especially difficult. But, once you finally have the classification you need, the label phrases and SDS are easy! If you have not taken a class Continue Reading…