WHMIS 2015
Final Employer Countdown – WHMIS 2015 Compliance
Clock and calendar countdown

TIME TO CONSUME OR RE-LABEL EXISTING WHMIS 1988 CONTROLLED PRODUCT INVENTORY

The final stage in the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015 is drawing to a close. Consequently, employers in Canada have an obligation to ensure that any “leftover” stock at the workplace is identified under the WHMIS 2015 GHS-based classification and hazard communication protocols.

Note that, while the majority of Canadian jurisdictions require all provisions of WHMIS 2015 to be in place as of December 1, 2018, there are currently two exceptions.

Employers under the Federal jurisdiction have the ability, under the Canada Labour Code, to continue to use stock in the workplace with WHMIS 1988 labels/MSDS until May 31, 2019 (Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – SOR/2016-141, s. 77(b)).

Also, as of November 9, 2018, Nova Scotia has yet to publish an update to the 1989 WHMIS regulation.

ONTARIO CLARIFIES O.REG. 860- WHMIS 2015 REQUIREMENTS FOR EXISTING WHMIS 1988 STOCK

In an amendment published on e-laws November 2 (to appear in the November 17, 2018 Edition of The Ontario Gazette )- effective December 1 employers must re-label any existing inventory of hazardous product received under WHMIS 1988 regulations.

This amendment affects O.Reg.860 sections 8, 10, and 18. Also a new s. 13 has been added; and the obsolete (transition) s. 25.1 is revoked at Dec.1. Terminology for labels has been modified in recognition that SDS or labels normally provided Continue Reading…

Bear awareness icon
Hazmat Packaging Bears Rigorous Testing

Hazmat Packaging Specs

Shippers of Hazardous Materials (or Dangerous Goods) know that the packaging they use has to meet certain specifications and pass standard tests before it can be considered appropriate for the hazardous shipment. Most training classes will explain that the package design must go through various tests to simulate conditions they may encounter during transport.

I started to wonder if users of the packaging really understand the conditions these designs are put through. No, it doesn’t look like this…

… but a few of the tests are quite rigorous! Below are some examples.

  • Drop Test – Drop testing is done on five test samples. The samples are prepared as they are intended to be used by a shipper. Each sample is dropped on a different surface of the package (top, bottom, long side, short side, and corner) from a height between 2.9 and 5.9 feet (0.8 – 1.8 meters), depending on the packing group of the materials that are going to be authorized. Any release of sample material during any of the drops is considered a failure.
  • Stack Test – Stack testing is done on three test samples. The samples are subjected to force that is equivalent to the weight of identical packages stacked to 3 meters. The samples must withstand the weight for 24 hours without leaking or showing any damage or distortion that could reduce Continue Reading…
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 Continue Reading…

OSHA
OSHA, Newspapers, and Pictures

Before the age of television, cell phones and the internet, news was conveyed via newspapers. In 1911, Arthur Brisbane, a reporter and editor in New York City, used the expression “use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Today, that phrase has been adjusted and is more commonly known as “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Keep this quote in mind for the next few seconds. Close to my home is a gas station that sustained some damage from a recent summer storm. The awning over the gas tanks had collapsed and was being replaced. As my husband and I drove past the station, I took the following picture.

Fall Prevention

Now my husband and I both work in the safety field, so you can imagine the conversation we had after seeing this. The comment that struck me most was “I’d rather terminate a person for working at elevation without fall protection than have to tell their family that they died.” Think about that statement. It is powerful, honest and true.

For the past few years one of the top ten OSHA violations is in the area of Fall Protection. In 2014, it was the number one violation. Per OSHA 1926.501, Employers must design the workplace in such a way as to keep Employees from falling. Falling can be from overhead platforms, elevated work stations or even into holes.  In fact, the regulation Continue Reading…

TDG
Know Your Exemptions – the 500 Kilogram Exemption (TDG Section 1.16)

Like most regulations based on the UN Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Canada’s “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (TDG) includes a number of exemptions. These provide easier and more cost-effective ways for shipping low-risk materials. However, each exemption needs to be carefully studied. If you don’t comply with all the requirements, you are not entitled to any part of the exemption.

One of the most misunderstood exemptions in TDG is found in section 1.16, the “500 Kilogram Exemption.” The provisions in this section originated in a long-ago series of permits intended to make shipment of small quantities of dangerous goods easier. Over the years, changes to this section have reduced its effectiveness; it still may be a helpful exemption in certain specific cases, but it must be used appropriately.

The first myth about the 500 kilogram exemption is that it is a total exemption from all requirements of TDG. This is far from the truth. At best, the exemption relieves the shipper from Part 3 (Documentation), Part 4 (Dangerous Goods Safety Marks) and Part 5 (Means of Containment). All other requirements of TDG will still apply. This includes, for example, the requirement that the carrier and all handlers must be TDG-certified. At one point, receivers were exempted from Part 6, Training, but this relief was removed in an amendment several years ago.

Obviously, the exemption only applies Continue Reading…

Why You Need the Most Updated Regulatory Texts

The Bible, Shakespeare and Transport Regulations

“Woe is me” is a phrase heard by many. It basically means someone is unhappy or distressed. The Bible uses this phrase in several locations including Job 10:15, Isaiah 6:5 and Psalms 120:5. Shakespeare later used this same expression when writing for his tragic character Ophelia in “Hamlet”. Existing and operating in the world of regulations can also bring on this feeling. It is difficult enough learning the basics of any regulation, but to truly “know” it takes time, patience and work. This process is complicated by the fact that many regulations change. Is it really necessary to have the newest, latest regulation? To answer that question it is time to look to the regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

For many, these are the Air Regulations. In this instance, the regulation is updated YEARLY. A new edition goes into effect on January 1st of any given year and ends on December 31st of that same year. The Regulation is currently on its 56th Edition. To showcase some of the changes that could apply to a variety of shippers, please read the following:

  1. The List of Dangerous Goods has new entries and/or updates to existing substances
  2. Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries was updated to include not only a change but also a new addition
  3. Section 7 – Marking and Labeling for Limited Quantities has new information

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, OSHA has issued interpretations that provide guidance here and here. (Note that one of these interpretations was issued long before the current rules, known as Hazcom 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 in the summary guide, results from regulatory constraints.

The disclosure of information on carcinogenic ingredients is an example of the latter. WHMIS 2015 doesn’t require SDS Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Looney Tunes, “Of Mice and Men,” and Safety Data Sheets

Which way do I go, George?

John Steinbeck’s novella “Of Mice and Men” is often a required reading for many school children. Though published in 1937 about a story of migrant workers in the Great Depression, it has many themes that are still powerful today. What many don’t know is that one of Steinbeck’s characters from this story is parodied in a classic Looney Tunes cartoon.

Of Fox and Hounds

In this cartoon, Willoughby the dog is fooled by George the fox. Willoughby is voiced by Tex Avery, while George’s voice is done by Mel Blanc.

Now what does this have to do with Safety Data Sheets or SDS? Often when tasked with writing a SDS one can feel like poor Willoughby. All of the information is available, but which way do you go. Which way do you go?

ICC Compliance Center can help and it won’t be in the way of George in the cartoon. We offer five different SDS Services.

But how do I choose which is right for me?

  1. SDS Creation: The process is simple. Send us a basic product information sheet, the raw materials SDS documents, and the countries involved and we can write an SDS for you that meets the requirements of OSHA HazCom 2012, WHMIS, European REACH, or European CLP. We even offer to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep your product information private.
  2. SDS Reformats and Revisions: Most companies already Continue Reading…
European Union
Alphabet Soup and the European Union

Remember eating alphabet soup as a child? Remember playing with the noodle letters to make more words than your friends or siblings? Remember when the letters would not cooperate and random letters were floating in your bowl? Remember trying to use abbreviations and acronyms to make those random letters work? Oh, the frustration! Working on Safety Data Sheet (SDS) documents in the European Union (EU) can often feel like some of those memories.

ICC Compliance Center is here to help and possibly give some new ways to win in your next competition.

EU – Directives and Regulations

As a reminder, the EU governs hazard communication in two ways – by directives and regulations. Directives mean all member states are required to implement their version of the directive within their state. Regulations, however, mean complete implementation in all member states without the need for or allowance of versions in each state.

Current directives and regulations

As of February 2015, there are multiple active directives and regulations at work in the EU. The oldest is the Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC) or the DSD and the Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC) which is the DPD. This is followed by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances Regulation more commonly known as REACH (EC1907/2006). Finally, there is the Regulation on Classifying, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (1272/2008/EU) or in the shortened form the CLP. It should be mentioned Continue Reading…