OSHA & PHMSA Working Together

OSHA & PHMSA Issue Joint Guidance Memorandum

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a joint guidance memorandum that is intended to provide clarity on the applicability and relationship between, DOT’s labeling requirements under the HMR and OSHA’s labeling requirements for bulk shipments under the HCS 2012.

PHMSA’s hazardous materials regulations require labeling of hazardous materials in transportation, while OSHA requires labeling on containers in the workplace.

When OSHA released its Hazcom 2012 (29 CFR Part 1910.1200) revisions, Appendix C.2.3.3 stated that “If a label has a DOT transport pictogram, the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear.” The Hazardous Materials Regulations state “No person may offer for transportation and no carrier may transport a package bearing any marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused with or conflict with a label prescribed by this part” (49 CFR Part 172.401(b)).

This raised many questions with stakeholders, and shortly thereafter, OSHA published a brief that stated that PHMSA does not view the pictograms as a conflict, and both may appear. OSHA continues on in the brief to state they intend on revising C.2.3.3, but in the meantime, they will allow both to appear. This new guidance document further confirms this position.

The Joint Guidance Memorandum can be found at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/joint_phmsa_memo_09192016.html

ICC is your source for compliant DOT/OSHA or TDG/WHMIS labeling requirements. Contact us to find out how we can help.

OSHA Talks Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

My husband is a rocker. He loves heavy metal music and listens to it often. There is no better channel for him than “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM radio. Having grown up with him, I know he has attended every concert available including Bon Jovi, Ratt, Metallica, Poison, and the like. One of his best memories is seeing Motorhead perform while we were living in Austria. To this day he still goes to concerts, but now the bands include Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. What is interesting is his approach to going to concerts now as compared to when he was younger. You guessed it. The biggest change is the use of ear plugs.

I’m not sure if this change is due to getting older or the fact that being in a safety role he now realizes how damaging the level of music at these concerts is to his hearing. (You can insert your own joke about men or women having “selective” hearing here.)

two workers wearing ear protection

Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge

In a recent press release OSHA indicated that every year 22 million workers risk losing their hearing due to workplace noise hazards. The estimated worker’s compensation costs for this disability is around $242 million. This is too high! Employers warn of hearing hazards in the workplace and often require workers to wear hearing protection. In a workplace the 8-hour time weighted average exposure level is 85 decibels. To put that in context, city traffic noise heard while inside a car is about 85 decibels. Normal conversation is around 60-65 decibels. A power saw and lawn mower are around 105-110 decibels. From a few websites I checked, ear pain and damage can begin as low as 125 decibels. For more information on noise and hearing conservation in general industry, I refer you to 29 CFR 1910.95.

To combat the issue and bring attention to it, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued the “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge”. The goal is to involve everyone in coming up with ideas and/or technology related to occupational hearing protection. Everyone is able to submit ideas. For more information or to submit ideas go to https://www.dol.gov/featured/hearing. Submissions are due by September 30th.

Workers: Do your part and wear the proper personal protection equipment (PPE) as outlined by your employer. Think about what you do at home and ask yourself if it will have an impact on your hearing.

Employers: Know the standard and your workplace. Contact ICC Compliance Center for all custom GHS and PPE signage. Consider utilizing our PPE webinar as part of your new worker training.

As always, ICC is here for all of your safety needs. Contact us today.

OSHA Update
2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Silicosis and OSHA Standards

As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.

Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who inhale small particles, which puts a worker at risk of developing silica-related diseases that can be serious. Even deadly. Tiny as these particles are they can be easily inhaled and get deep into workers lungs, which then causes silicosis, an irreversible, incurable, and fatal lung disease. There are other repercussions from exposure to silica, workers are at risk for lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and kidney disease.

Silica Exposure Limits

OSHA and the workforce has known about the dangers of silica for a long time. As a matter of fact more than 80 years ago, U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins brought experts and stakeholders together to figure out ways to safeguard labors from silica. OSHA’s current PEL’s (permissible exposure limits) for silica are over 40 years old. There has been proof that shows the current exposure limits do not protect workers. For instance silica exposure has been proven to cause lung cancer and kidney disease at the current PEL’s.

In efforts to protect workers from the dangers of crystalline silica, OSHA has finalized a ruling and put in place standards for silica. One for general industry and maritime, and the other for construction. OSHA has taken the time to gather information through many venues getting them to the point of establishing the final rule for silica. They have accomplished this through extensive review of scientific evidence from current industry standards, public outreach efforts, weeks of public hearings, and a period in which they took comments from the public. By doing this the ruling provides reasonable, inexpensive and flexible strategies for employers to implement protection for their workers. It is estimated that this ruling will save the lives of 600 or more workers each year and once fully implemented prevent more than 900 cases of Silicosis each year.

Just how will the rule protect workers? The rule reduces the volume of silica dust that a worker can be exposed to (PEL equation can be found here). Employers will have to implement controls and practices that reduce workers’ exposure to the silica dust. Employers will also have to safeguard that silica dust is wetted down or vacuumed up in dust collectors to prevent workers from breathing it in. Many employers have already been implementing measures to protect their workers from silica.

In brief under the new rule employers are required to:

  • limit access to high exposure areas
  • provide training
  • provide respiratory protection (if controls are not enough to limit exposure)
  • provide written exposure control plans
  • measure exposures

Employers are also required under this ruling to offer medical examinations to workers that are considered to be highly exposed to silica dust.

OSHA Compliance

OSHA will help employers comply with the rule to protect their workers by providing flexibility to help employers protect workers from silica exposure. They have given from one to five years to get the correct protections in place. OSHA has staggered compliance dates to give sufficient time to meet the requirements of this rule.

There are many industries affected by this new rule, are you one of them?

Here are the industries projected to be affected according to OSHA:

  • Construction
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Pottery products
  • Structural clay products
  • Concrete products
  • Foundries
  • Dental laboratories
  • Paintings and coatings
  • Jewelry production
  • Refractory products
  • Ready-mix concrete
  • Cut stone and stone products
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Refractory furnace installation and repair
  • Railroad transportation
  • Oil and gas operations

If specifications are followed correctly employers can be confident that they are providing workers with the necessary level of protection. What are these specifications? Stay tuned for part 3 of this silica blog series where I will detail the Crystalline Silica Rule.

More information can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html

Other Articles in the Silica Blog Series

Crystalline Silica Rule (Part 3)

Silica Dust Just One Account in History (Part 1)

OSHA Update
Silica Dust Just One Account in History (Part 1)

The Hawk’s Nest Incident

In Muriel Rukeyser’s book, The Book of the Dead, which is considered poetry, it tells of the historical Hawk’s Nest Incident. It is the grand truth told of one of the worst industrial disasters in US history. It happened in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. This story is particularly near to my heart, because my grandparents and our extended family are from the area. When I was a young girl we used to frequent the area often to camp and visit our family. I remember hearing stories of some of my ancestors working in the tunnels and mines of West Virginia but it was only years later, as an adult, that I realized what that actually meant.

The Hawk’s Nest Incident revolves around the contraction of silicosis while constructing a power plant. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such as mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can inhibit your ability to breathe. The most common warning sign shown by sick people is shortness of breath. Silicosis is contracted through inhaling rock dust that contains silica dust. Blasting away at the rock in order to build a tunnel at Hawk’s Nest produced this such dust.

A proposal to build a hydroelectric plant on the New River was brought up in 1927 in which this project was to help boost West Virginia’s economy. The project created a multitude of jobs in which many workers came from the Southeast. A company out of Charlottesville, VA was contracted to begin construction. Construction began on this job which included the construction of numerous structures, power stations, dams, and tunnels. A process used in which the rock was broken and removed from the tunnel was called mucking. When workers removed the broken up rock it assisted in the dispersal of dust that was highly likely to be contaminated with silica dust and because the workmen schedule was rigorous, a six day work week with ten-hour shifts, exposure to the dust was at a high level. This dust has been considered to be the root cause in several hundred infected men who work on this site.

Working in Hawk’s Nest

Working in the tunnel was by far the worst of the jobs, where in the tunnel work shifts consisted of two three-hour shifts where they used a process where they would drill holes in the rock, dynamite was inserted to blast out the remainder of the rock and after the explosion the debris would have to be removed. This removal involved a high level of exposure to silica dust. The use of gasoline powered equipment also polluted contaminated air in addition to the dusty conditions. Certainly, not ideal conditions for working.

Hawk's Nest Tunnel - Silica Dust

It was noted that there were never steps taken to evaluate the risk of exposure to silica dust for the workers on this site. There are also many accounts on how workers from the site would come out of the tunnels coated in dust from head to toe. Members of the community reported that when these workers would walk home from the mines they would leave a trail of dusty footprints from the thick layer of dust they were covered by.

The number of how many workers actually died as a result of Silicosis in Gauley Bridge, Hawk’s Nest project has never been confirmed. It has been estimated and agreed upon to be around 700 deaths. The fatalities remain for the most part anonymous in part from lack of record keeping or lack of knowledge at the time. Reports differ on how many died and the causes of these deaths were persistently debated.

Records were accessible through only a certain date, leaving several incomplete files. These records did not take in to account the number of migrant workers who left the area after the project completed and possibly died from Silicosis. Investigators attempted to find more information about deaths during this time through an assessment of county records, but found them lacking. Records of medical services received by the workers have never been fully recovered. Without them it is difficult to figure out whether or not patients truly suffered from Silicosis. At the time it was difficult for physicians to diagnose due to unfamiliarity with Silicosis and the fact that it resembled tuberculosis so closely.

Lawsuits and Regulations

Hawk's Cave employees Gauley Bridge, West Virginia

Eventually, lawsuits began to be filed for the affected workers. Residents testified for the workers, stating that the workers were coated with dust when they left the work site. The general manager of the project, who was employed by the construction company that headed the work, claimed that there wasn’t any negligence by the administration and there were no known documented cases of Silicosis from any of his workers. He also declared his employees never complained about the working conditions while working in the tunnels. The courts eventually ruled in favor of rewarding the complainants. In 1935, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a state worker’s compensation law which would compensate workers who were infected with Silicosis. This was a giant step forward by paying workers for illness contracted from the job, however there were many loopholes such as, clearing the employer of responsibility for the disease and made eligibility for this law almost impossible for workers. Clauses that made eligibility difficult involved the length of employment a worker had to endure before they could claim workman’s compensation under this law. The hearings that existed brought attention to the danger of working with silica dust and the risks involved with working in tunnels and mines, though they did not do enough for the victims and their families.

In the late 1930s a lot of news-magazines such as Time and Newsweek were publishing articles about the Hawk’s Nest Incident and the dangers of silica dust. The nationwide coverage that Silicosis had now received, made other industrial projects aware of the dangers associated with it and what their workers could be subjected to. Silicosis remained absent from the list of diseases that could be claimed under the workman’s compensation laws until the 1940s.

Fast forward to today and there have been slow strides in making OSHA standards to protect these workers from such aforementioned hazards specific to Silica dust. How so? They have recently adopted a new final rule that affects many industries and how they must approach Silica dust. Please look for my upcoming blog for more information on this ruling.

Other Articles in the Silica Blog Series

2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Crystalline Silica Rule (Part 3)

OSHA Update
Are you a One Percenter? Enforcement Delay of PSM 1% Concentration Policy

Recently in popular culture and the news the term “one percenter” can be heard. What does that mean, to be a one percenter? According to one urban dictionary site a one percenter is defined as a member of the top one percent of a population as decided by wealth. The term comes from the same rationale as being in the ninety-ninth percentile which means there is only one percent of the population who is better. So do you fall into the one percenter club? You might be surprised at the answer.

For those who are not familiar with the new one percent policy, let’s review some terminology and information on this standard. OSHA Standard 29 C.F.R. § 1910.119 which is the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals “contains requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. These releases may result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards.” Part of this standard is Appendix A (found here) which contains a listing of toxic and highly reactive hazardous chemicals that could present a potential for a catastrophic event at or above the threshold quantities. In 1991 the PSM Final Rule was published. It was followed by a series of letters of interpretation and compliance directives. In 1994, OSHA further defined the policy. The letter from 1999 basically stated:

“chemicals listed in Appendix A without minimum concentrations are covered at “commercial grade” concentrations and higher. The letter defined “commercial grade” as “a typical maximum concentration of the chemical that is commercially available and shipped.” OSHA also noted that an employer could determine the maximum commercial concentration by referring to any published catalog of chemicals for commercial sales. OSHA PSM compliance directives issued during this period contain similar statements describing the agency’s policy.

However, in all of these “updates” and letters things still remained unclear to many manufacturers. With all of this ambiguity and a criminal case that was later dismissed, OSHA did a critical review of the “commercial grade policy”.

Here OSHA looked to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on releases of hazardous chemicals and how these releases impact the public and environment. OSHA decided to use the one percent concentration cut-off that the EPA uses. According to the memo released in March, “the one percent concentration cut-off established in the EPA rule is …the concentration of an Appendix A chemical that must be present in a mixture before the threshold quantity of the chemical must be determined.” This is different from the “commercial grade” and pure grade policies that do not have a clear level for when a chemical or mixture is covered.” This new one percent policy was published on June 5, 2015. For the full memo, click here. It should be noted that this new policy could and has expanded the number of facilities covered by PSM. Are you one of them now that should be called a one percenter?

Take heart though, on Wednesday, March 23rd, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a temporary delay in enforcement for the new one percent concentration policy to determine if a chemical should be subject to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. Enforcement of this new policy now will not be in effect until September 30, 2016. For the exact language of the delay, click here.

National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) and the American Chemistry Council are currently in litigation with OSHA on this new policy and are working to have this rescinded.

Stay tuned to see if your status as a one percent stays. As always, ICC Compliance Center is working to keep you informed on all changes to regulations.

OSHA Update
OSHA Comment Deadline Extended for Weight of Evidence Determinations

Back in the 1970’s Toyota Motor Corporation ran an advertising campaign around the slogan “You asked for it, you got it – Toyota!” The idea was Toyota was listening to what consumers wanted and created cars to meet those requests. You can see from this print advertisement how they worked that slogan.

As Hazard Communicators working under OSHA’s HazCom 2012, we often ask for more information or guidance to help us do our jobs. After all, we are tasked with writing compliant Safety Data Sheets (SDS), shipped container labels and workplace labels under these regulations which are pretty dramatic shifts from what used to be. The data required for the writing of these items can be difficult to find, massive in scope and hard to understand.

So what does that have to do with Toyota’s slogan? Well, OSHA is taking a page from Toyota’s book. In fact they recently published a “Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination” document. OSHA wants this guidance to show how to apply the Weight of Evidence (WoE) approach when dealing with complex scientific studies and in considering all available information when classifying a chemical. It will not be an additional standard or regulation nor will it hold any new legal obligations. It is meant to complement the recently posted, 832-page “Hazard Classification Guidance for Manufacturers, Importers and Employers”.

What is interesting is the guidance document is actually a DRAFT document and open for public comment. Originally the comment period was only going to be open from February 16 until March 31 of this year. Apparently the response was overwhelming. As of March 9th, the comment period has now been extended until May 2. That is an additional month!

Per the website, OSHA is particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. OSHA’s primary goal in the draft WoE guidance is to provide classifiers with an overview on how to approach a weight of evidence evaluation using the criteria that was adopted under the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). Has OSHA achieved this goal?
  2. OSHA intended to write this draft guidance in language that is appropriate for, and easily understood by, personnel who would be primarily responsible for the classification process. Has OSHA achieved this objective?
  3. OSHA has also provided guidance on how to use other authoritative bodies that use a weight of evidence or systematic approach. Is this type of guidance helpful? Are there other authoritative bodies that OSHA should reference that provide weight of evidence evaluations that would be relevant to worker exposures?
  4. To simplify the guidance, OSHA has primarily focused on chronic hazards: Carcinogens, germ cell mutagens and reproductive toxicants since these are more complex endpoints and generally need a higher degree of expert judgement to interpret studies.  Did OSHA adequately identify the key considerations for a WoE evaluation of these toxicants? Was the OSHA discussion of the WoE approach appropriate for this guidance document?
  5. OSHA has provided a section on classification based on a single positive study. Was this section useful?
  6. OSHA has provided a series of examples to demonstrate the principles discussed in the Weight of Evidence guidance document.  Are these examples helpful? How can they be improved?

Consider this a call to arms all you Hazard Communicators out there. Do your diligence – read the draft and comment.

You can start by going to https://www.osha.gov/weightofevidence/index.html. Here you’ll find the necessary information reviewers need, the document itself and how to submit your comments. Do your part so we can say we asked for it and got it.

OSHA Labeling
Fainting is an OSHA Recordable?

Fainting, or syncope in medical terms, is when someone loses consciousness for a short period of time usually caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. In movies and television though, we are lead to believe that fainting can occur for a variety of non-medical reasons mainly emotional ones. One example is where a female character meets a monster for the first time and is so overcome with fear that she faints. For effect, she usually faints into the arms of the monster. Soap Operas are notorious for the next example. There are many scenes where the lead character is presented with horrible news and as a result faints due to the extreme emotion the news triggers. Another one used quite often by the entertainment industry is when a character faints at the sight of blood. Take a look here at Dr. Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” passing out from cutting his thumb.

What is interesting about that clip is Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler would have to list this as a recordable case on the OSHA Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses. In November of 2015 OSHA posted in a Letter of Interpretation that fainting at the sight of blood is a recordable event. The scenario as outlined in the letter involves a worker scratching his finger on a clamp. As a co-worker began to apply a bandage to the scratch the injured worker saw the small amount of blood on his skin. At this point he became light-headed and fainted. Once conscious again the injured employee revealed it was the sight of the blood on his skin that caused him to faint.

Section 1904.5(a) in OSHA tells us that the employer:

“must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception in § 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies.”

For this case, the fainting was a result of a work-related event or exposure – the blood on the skin. The exception 1904.5(b)(2) does not apply because the fainting did not result from a personal health condition such as epilepsy, narcolepsy or other conditions that could cause that result.

What makes this event recordable is Section 1904.7(b)(1)(v) which states “a work-related injury or illness must be recorded if it results in loss of consciousness.” Since the injured employee did lose consciousness, this section applies and therefore the incident must be recorded.

This blog is but a brief summary of the case. A read through the actual letter of interpretation is recommended. For a link to the actual letter, click here.

Overall, Hollywood has taken liberties with the portrayal of fainting but there is no denying that a loss of consciousness is serious and now reportable.

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 way to avoid the expense?

For example, toxic materials are usually classified by a test called the LD50 (the lethal dose to 50% of test subjects). This is a more expensive, complicated test, but there’s one beautiful feature for mixtures. You don’t have to do the test if you can calculate it. This calculation basically prorates the LD50s of the ingredients based on their concentrations. While there is debate about how accurate this system is, it’s directly mentioned in the above regulations as an option if testing of the actual product has not been done.

Unfortunately, the same regulations do not directly provide us with a method for calculating a flash point. But OSHA and WHMIS are based on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling, and TDG and the HMR are based on the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Both of these documents do include a reference to calculating flash points if directly measured ones are not available.

That’s the good news. The bad news starts when we discover that both the Globally Harmonized System and the UN Recommendations don’t give the specific formula for the calculation. The GHS reference can be found in sub-section, while the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria places the reference to a calculation in Appendix 6, paragraph 4. At least both of them refer to the same method, one reported by Gmehling and Rasmussen in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Fundamentals 21, 86, (1982) titled “Flash points of flammable liquid mixtures using UNIFAC”.

When we look up this article, we encounter another road block – like many scientific journals, this one is not free, and the article is behind a paywall. We have a choice; either pay up to read the full article, or see if the formula appears somewhere else.

Oh, and it helps if we know what UNIFAC is. Apparently the acronym stands for “UNIQUAC Functional-group Activity Coefficients” (making it an acronym containing an acronym), and is “a semi-empirical system for the prediction of non-electrolyte activity in non-ideal mixtures.”

A little more digging on the internet comes up with an article summarizing how to calculate various flammability measurements, published by M. Hristova and S. Tchaoushev in the Journal of the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, 41, 3, 2006, 291-296, titled “Calculation of Flash Points and Flammability Limits of Substances and Mixtures.” This can be accessed, with no paywall, at http://dl.uctm.edu/journal/node/j2006-3/04-Hristova-291-296.pdf .

So, we finally have our method to calculate our flash points. Except it’s nothing like the relatively simple method for calculating LD50s. Hristova and Tschaoushev tell us the calculation will take four steps:

  1. Determine the flash point which satisfies an equation relating “the actual partial pressure of component i in a vapor-air mixture” with “the partial pressure in a gas-air mixture with a composition corresponding to the LFL (lower flammable limit) of pure component i”.
  2. Determine the flammability limits at the temperature under study using the Zebatekis equation. (This equation is helpfully included.)
  3. Determine the partial pressure of each component, using the Antoine equation, and
  4. Determine the activity coefficients using the UNIFAC method.

Easy, right?

At this point, it becomes obvious that these calculations are currently of use, perhaps, to physical chemists, but are not yet a workable solution for companies simply trying to determine if their product is in Packing Group II or III. It turns out that the molecular forces in flammable liquids are far too complex to reduce to a simple equation such as can be used for toxic mixtures. Even computer systems that model these mixtures must be taken as provisional, and certainly not nearly as reliable as measured data.

So, the day when we can toss aside our flash point testers and classify flammable liquids based only on the composition is yet to come. To comply with the classification rules for workplace safety or transportation, a measured flash point is still the simplest and most accurate solution.

Do you have any questions about classifying hazardous materials? Contact ICC Compliance Center here at 888-442-9628 (U.S.) or 888-977-4834 (Canada), and ask for one of our regulatory specialists.

OSHA Labeling
Disney, Dwarfs and Workplace Labels

It was recently announced that Disney was re-releasing the classic animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The commercial started with the dwarfs singing their classic song “Heigh-Ho”. In this tune, the cute characters of Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc all sing about coming home from working all day digging in the mine. To remember these characters, watch and listen here.

As the scene starts, I can’t help but notice there are no OSHA workplace labels anywhere. In the new OSHA Hazard Communications Standard 1910.1200 there isn’t much guidance on how to handle workplace labeling. The regulation states “the employer shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked”. The regulation goes on to say use the same information that is found on the shipped containers or use a “Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.”

Many Employers may feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what to have in a workplace after reading the regulation. Let us help. We offer the GHS Workplace Labels (Orange System).

Orange System GHS Workplace Labels Available in 3 Styles


This is a symbol-based system designed to avoid language barriers. The details are easy to read and alerts workers to the hazards of the chemicals they are handling.

You’ll notice each style has the same basic format. There is a space for the name of the chemical and a way to indicate the signal word for that chemical. Doc Dwarf is happy about seeing sections dedicated to the health and physical hazards. In fact there are two distinct locations for physical hazards allowing for a more precise classification of the physical hazards of your chemical(s). The section dedicated to Personal Protective Equipment is greatly appreciated by Sneezy Dwarf. Now he can know whether or not a respirator is required when working with a given chemical.

Happy Dwarf is excited by this system for a few reasons. First of all, there are also various size options along with the choice for paper or vinyl that can be used for these labels. Also there are over 100 stock workplace labels pre-printed and ready to use. Some of these chemicals are Acetone, Gasoline, Benzene and others. For the full list of stock classified chemicals click here. This system even has an Implementation Manual, a Training Manual and posters to help get all of your employees up to speed, even Sleepy Dwarf.

When used together the simplicity of this system is enough to keep the Dwarfs Dopey and Bashful from getting into trouble.

So don’t be Grumpy Dwarf when it is time to update your workplace labeling. Let ICC The Compliance Center make it easy to do.

OSHA Carcinogen
OSHA Celebrates World Cancer Day?

We all have reminders on our calendars for such things as holidays, birthdays, and appointments. As I looked forward to February for some planning purposes, the date of February 4th popped up as World Cancer Day. Is this a day to celebrate cancer? Does that even make sense when most of us upon hearing that word have some pretty strong negative reactions and emotions? This sent me on a path of fact checking. The purpose of World Cancer Day as established by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. So, this day is similar to Earth Day or World AIDS Day then.

Since I work in the Regulatory World, I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about cancer in the realm of Hazard Communication. For many cancer is part of the acronym CMR which stands for materials that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. In OSHA HazCom 2012, Appendix A Subsection 6 covers the definition, classification criteria, and cut-off values for carcinogens. Are those pieces of information really enough to classify all of your products? Granted the regulation points out in A. some factors to consider, but those exact particular factors can be hard to find in many full length cancer studies.

To make things a bit easier, OSHA has allowed for people to rely on the lists of classifications from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to help make decisions. There is also Appendix F to supply more guidance on carcinogenicity. Many of us have defaulted to the following table and its qualifying notes when classifying our products:

Approximate Equivalences Among Carcinogen Classification Schemes


Group 1 Category 1A Known
Group 2A Category 1B Reasonably Anticipated (See Note 1)
Group 2B Category 2

If, as classifiers, we do determine our product is carcinogenic, here are a few reminders.

  1. If you have a chemical in your product at a concentration that is listed on IARC and/or NTP, then those classifications must be noted on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  2. If OSHA determines a chemical to be a carcinogen then that classification must also be on the SDS.
  3. For Category 2 Carcinogens present between 0.1% and 1% then all of the labeling requirements are needed on the SDS, but the Label warning is optional. If the Category 2 ingredient is present at greater than or equal to 1% then the requirements for the SDS and Label must be fulfilled.

Don’t let the reminder on my calendar or World Cancer Day pass you by without taking a look at any of your products that may contain carcinogens. Be sure they are classified correctly with appropriate language on the SDS and Label. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here to help you with all of your regulatory needs. For more information on our supplies and services visit our website:  http://www.thecompliancecenter.com.