Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Consumer Chemical Products and GHS SDS Requirements

Consumer chemical bottles

Do My Products Need a SDS?

Determining which of your consumer chemical products would require a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS), can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Which products actually do need to have compliant SDS, can differ depending on which country/region you are in, and how the product is being used.

Canada

In Canada, chemical products that are labeled, packaged, and sold at retail outlets as consumer products, are regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001). Examples of ‘retail’ outlets are stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, and corner gas stations that anyone off the street can walk into and buy chemical products in, etc.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and not sold at retail outlets, on the other hand, are regulated by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR, or “WHMIS 2015“). It is the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015), where GHS SDS requirements are found, while the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not currently contain any SDS requirements at all.

In the HPA, in Part II, Section 12(j) and Schedule 1, CCPSA consumer products are actually excluded from the application of the HPA’s requirements.

What does this exclusion mean?

Keep in mind that the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not contain any SDS requirements, while the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015) do. As a result of the exclusion in the HPA, the HPA and HPR do not apply to consumer chemical products in Canada. As such, these consumer chemical products do not require SDSs (since SDS requirements are in the HPA and HPR), provided the products are labeled, packaged and sold at retail outlets in accordance with the CCPSA and CCCR 2001.

Legally, the proportion of sales in each of the respective sales markets (consumer vs. workplace), is not relevant. Sales to worksites (e.g. direct to contractors) could be, for example, 90% of the product’s total sales, while sales to retail outlets could constitute only 10% of the product’s total sales. As long as the product is in the same container size in both markets, and the product is labeled/packaged according to consumer rules, and it is available for sale in retail outlets, then the HPR (WHMIS 2015) does not apply. This means GHS SDS are not required, even when the majority of sales are to worksites. Providing GHS SDS is totally optional for a supplier in this case. It’s completely up to the business relationships a company may have with their own customers, on deciding whether or not to provide GHS SDS.

Key points for this exclusion from SDS requirements, however, is whether or not the product container is actually ‘sold at retail outlets’, and the sizes of containers. Consider a company selling one product in two container sizes (for example a 1 quart / 946 mL size and a 5 gallon / 18.9 L size). The 1 quart / 946 mL size is sold in retail outlets such as Home Depot, as well as direct to worksites. The 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, is ONLY being sold direct to worksites and contractors with special licenses, for example. In this case, the customer would require a GHS SDS to accompany the 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, since this container size is NOT sold at retail outlets.

The United States

There is a similar exclusion in the US from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) GHS requirements for consumer products, however, there is a difference in how the consumer product is treated, depending on what the frequency or manner of use of the product is.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and which are not sold at retail outlets, are regulated by OSHA in the 29CFR 1910.1200 standard for hazard communication (Hazcom 2012). The OSHA Hazcom 2012 standard states that

This section does not apply to:

(ix) Any consumer product … where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer or importer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than the range of exposures that could reasonably be experienced by consumers when used for the purpose intended [29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)(ix)].

OSHA goes onto provide an example, in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of their website, which involves Windex. Windex is commonly used by both retail customers in their homes, as well as, for example, by Janitors who use the products in their workplaces only. If the janitor uses the Windex in exactly the same way the retail customer would at home, and no more frequently than that retail customer would, then there are no OSHA Hazcom 2012 GHS requirements for the product, and a GHS SDS is not required.

But, if that Janitor uses the Windex 5 or 6 days a week for hours at a time each day, this usage is significantly more frequent than how a user at home would use the product. In this case, there would be OSHA Hazcom 2012 requirements and a GHS SDS would be required.

The European Union (EU)

In the EU, REACH [Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals] requires suppliers to provide SDS for certain substances and mixtures. It also states in Title IV, Article 31, Section 4, that:

The safety data sheet need not be supplied where hazardous substances or mixtures offered or sold to the general public are provided with sufficient information to enable users to take the necessary measures as regards the protection of human health, safety and the environment, unless requested by a downstream user or distributor.

The difference here for consumer products (ie., sold to the general public), is that at any time, a downstream user or distributor may request an SDS for a consumer product…and it must be supplied to them. Initially, a supplier could just provide other means of giving sufficient information on the products’ hazards and safe use (e.g. instruction booklets, labels, technical data sheets). But at any time, if requested, an SDS would have to be provided.

For further information

For further information on European and North American regulations, please consult the following website links:

Europe:

https://echa.europa.eu/safety-data-sheets

United States:

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html

Canada, for workplace products:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/index-eng.php

Canada, for consumer product:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php

If you have any questions regarding GHS or consumer product requirements, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
How to Read a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Hockey Goalie

Safety Data Sheets Defend Your Employees

Chemical Safety in the workplace can be a topic most employers would like to avoid. However, not only is it vital to the employee’s and community’s wellbeing, it is a requirement by law. In comes Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to the rescue! If Chemical safety in the workplace was a hockey team, training, storage requirements, purchasing, disposal, and inventory requirements would make up the Center, Forwards, and Defense, leaving the cornerstone of any hockey team, the Goalie to represent Safety Data Sheets (SDS). OSHA Standard 1910.1200 (g)(8) states that The employer shall maintain in the workplace copies of the required safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical, and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s). However without correct understanding of Safety Data Sheets, it would be like having an injured goalie in your starting lineup. Below are some tips for reading a 16-section format SDS.

Section 1. Identification:

Identifies the chemical on the SDS and displays the recommended uses. This section also provides contact information of the manufacturer as well as an emergency phone number.

Section 2. Hazard Identification:

The purpose of this section is to identify various hazards the chemical presents as well as any warning information. This includes Hazard class, signal words, pictograms and hazard statements.

Section 3. Composition/Information on Ingredients:

Displays the ingredients contained in the product. It gives the concentration of each ingredient that is classified as a health hazard.

Section 4. First Aid Measures:

Describes any first aid that should be given by untrained responders if there is exposure to the chemical. This includes symptoms and recommended immediate medical care.

Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures:

Gives recommendations of how to handle a fire that is caused by this chemical. This includes extinguishing equipment, protective equipment, and information on other hazards that can arise if the chemical burns.

Section 6: Accidental Release Measures:

Lays out the recommended response to spills, leaks, or releases of the chemical. This includes cleanup practices, emergency procedures for evacuation, protective equipment, and spill volume.

Section 7: Handling and Storage:

Outlines the procedure for safe storage of the chemical. This includes ventilation requirements if applicable.

Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection:

Recommends the specific types of personal protection such as gloves, respirators, or glasses when using the chemical referenced in the SDS.

Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties:

This section identifies the appearance, odor, density, flammability or explosive limits, as well as other physical properties of the chemical.

Section 10: Stability and Reactivity:

Breaks down the different reactive hazards of the chemical and stability information. This includes an indication of whether the chemical will react in certain situations such as pressure or temperature change, as well as any safety issues that may arise if the product changes in physical appearance. There is also a description of specific test data for the chemical.

Section 11: Toxicological Information:

Identifies any information about immediate or chronic health effects that may arise from exposure to the chemical. This also includes symptoms of exposure from lowest to most severe.

Section 12: Ecological Information:

This section measures the impact the chemical has on the environment if it were released. This includes test results if available.

Section 13: Disposal Considerations:

Provides information on how to properly dispose of the chemical as well as safe handling practices.

Section 14: Transport Information:

Provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting by ground, air, or sea. This includes UN number, proper shipping name, and hazard class.

Section 15: Regulatory Information:

Displays the specific regulations for the product not indicated anywhere else on the SDS.

Section 16: Other Information:

Indicates when the SDS was created and the level of revision. This section states where the changes have been made to the previous version.


As always, if you have any questions regarding SDS Services contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).


Source: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3514.html

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Who is Authoring Your SDS? – Dare to Compare

Authoring safety data sheets (SDS) is a technical job and requires a thorough understanding of various regulations depending on the destination country. Companies may promote themselves as experts, but how can you be sure?

Some companies may contract SDS work out unbeknownst to you and act as the middle-person. This in turn can lead to delayed responses as they try to understand/interpret your questions and/or get in touch with the contractor.

An SDS is a valuable and critical component of your dangerous goods product and deserves as much attention as the finished product itself. When looking for an SDS authoring company ask them questions such as the following to be sure you are selecting the right one.

  1. How many SDS have they authored?
  2. Do they understand the rules/regulations if the authoring is done manually?
  3. Can they verify the accuracy of the data if using authoring software?
  4. How long have they been authoring SDSs?
  5. Is there a team of qualified peers to contact if necessary?
  6. What process/procedure is in place to guarantee non-disclosure and safeguard any confidential business information (i.e., formulations)?
  7. Are they using authoring software?
  8. Can the SDS be integrated into a user-friendly multi-location labeling system?
  9. What type of training do they have in place for SDS authors?
  10. How many ingredients are present in their library/database?
  11. What associations do they belong to and/or are active in?
  12. How many languages can they translate an SDS to?
  13. Where or how are they storing your SDS?
  14. Can you obtain access to the completed SDS 24/7 on a dedicated site?
  15. Can you search your SDS database by fields such as CAS number, product name, or part number?
  16. What industries have they written SDS for?
  17. Are you required to complete/provide minimum information prior to starting your SDS work?
  18. Do they ask for clarification of your SDS or supporting data to ensure all information needed for a compliant SDS is obtained?
  19. Can they answer your questions as to why products were classified a certain way?

If these questions cannot be answered with confidence – or worse yet the vendor tries to pass over these questions nonchalantly – then you should continue your search. Of course you may have additional questions after reading the list. But, the above questions should give you a good reference point when deciding who to choose as your vendor. Sadly if the price is too good to be true be wary about the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” This is not an area where your business can afford a mistake.


ICC Compliance Center has a team of full-time regulatory specialists who have years of experience and are certified/recognized in their field of expertise. Contact us about authoring, reformatting, updating, and translating your SDSs. Ask us your tough questions by calling 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 – The Great SDS “Headache” – Concentrations

New Concentrations and Concentration Ranges Rules

If you’ve begun switching your MSDSs to SDSs under the new WHMIS 2015 regulations, you likely know this headache all too well.

With the publication and implementation of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR or WHMIS 2015), Health Canada removed the old Controlled Products Regulations’ (CPR or WHMIS 1988) list of prescribed concentration ranges that could be used in MSDSs. These concentrations were in place, in part, to allow some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection when concentrations varied in a product. WHMIS 2015 now requires disclosure of exact concentrations of ingredients, or the actual concentration range of the ingredient. Actual concentration ranges can only be used if the concentration varies in the product due to issues such as batch to batch variability. You cannot list a range if you have an exact concentration, and simply wanted to “protect your formula”.

Suppliers would be required to file a CBI claim under WHMIS 2015 requirements, if even just to protect the exact concentration of one ingredient on a SDS. A whole host of difficulties may face the supplier in obtaining information that would be needed to complete this type of CBI submission, such as obtaining exact concentration information from suppliers outside the country, where CBI or trade secret requirements are different from those in Canada. In the United States, for example, there is no federal requirement to submit any type of claim to protect an ingredient’s exact concentration on a SDS. The SDS simply has to state that the concentration is being withheld as a “trade secret.” You can imagine the reluctance of a US supplier in providing information that they consider to be a trade secret.

This new requirement to submit a CBI claim for exact concentrations can result in significant additional costs. Fees for an original claim begin at $1800 CAD per claim, with review fees every three years of $1440 CAD per claim. Sometimes the supplier can group several products into one claim; however, costs for submission could skyrocket depending on just how many products are being submitted. The non-profit trade association Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC) estimates that the impact of those submission fees to members of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association (CCSPA) will be over $12 million.

Alternatives

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however. As a result of this substantial cost burden, the RDC, as an industry representative, has requested that Health Canada amend the HPR to include some kind of alternative to disclosing exact concentrations that avoids having to file a costly CBI claim. The RDC believes that the use of ranges does not diminish protection of workers, and that the new requirements in WHMIS 2015 creates disharmony rather than harmony between Canada and its major trading partners.

In the RDC Newsletter Volume 6 Issue 43, issued November 7, 2016, the RDC presented a proposal that would allow the use of the WHMIS 1988 prescribed ranges again, with the added ability to combine up to three of the low end ranges into a single range (e.g. 0.1 – 1%, 0.5 – 1.5% and 1 – 5%, into one range of 0.1 – 5%). The additional stipulation of allowing those combined low end ranges, would, the RDC believes, allow for better alignment with US requirements.

Open for Suggestions

In previous meetings with Health Canada, the RDC and other industry groups did not come to a resolution on this issue of concentration disclosure, but Health Canada is willing to listen to solutions to this issue such as the current RDC proposal. The RDC has requested help from interested parties on approaching Health Canada, and is asking that suggestions from interested parties be sent to Cathy Campbell at: ccampbell@rdcanada.ca. Please submit your suggestions prior to November 30, 2016.

If you would like to learn more about the RDC, please consult the following website: http://www.rdcanada.ca/. For further information on CBI exemptions and claims in Canada, please consult the following website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/hmira-lcrmd/index-eng.php.


As always, should you have any questions regarding SDSs, please contact ICC Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

Environmental Update
EPA Aligns 40 CFR Part 370 with OSHA Hazcom 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final technical amendment to 40 CFR Part 370, in June 2016 which aligns the hazardous chemical reporting regulations to the changes in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazcom 2012.

These changes have a compliance date of January 1, 2018, and affect reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), sections 311 and 312.

Section 311 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit a SDS or a list of hazardous chemicals grouped by categories of physical and health hazards. Section 312 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form yearly by March 1.

Prior to the change in 2012, the hazard communication regulations (OSHA) were performance oriented, and did not specify the language/description or format that the company had to use. Once the hazard communication regulations were updated, stakeholders requested that EPA align the wording to be consistent with the new OSHA Hazcom 2012 regulations.

Some of the changes in 40 CFR Part 370 include:

  • Technical terms have been updated (i.e., Material Safety Data Sheet to Safety Data Sheet)
  • The definition of Hazard Category has been updated
  • The “Five categories” (Fire/Sudden release of pressure/Reactive/Immediate acute and Delayed-chronic) have been changed to match the physical and health hazards outlined the Hazcom 2012
  • The Tier I and Tier II inventory forms are modified
  • Tier 2 Submit, the software will be updated, and EPA is providing flexibility for states to modify their software by January 2018

Look for these changes to be found in Section 15 of your Safety Data Sheets in the near future.

Contact ICC Compliance Center for more information, or if you need help updating your SDSs.

OSHA Record Keeping
Sending and Receiving Safety Data Sheets

There are lots of songs out in the world about letters. You remember those things we used to write and send in the mail and have now been replaced by emails? There are some truly classic song regarding letters and the messages they carry. In 1961 The Marvelettes were begging their postman for a letter from a boyfriend indicating he was coming home. Click here for their song. This was followed in 1967 by The Box Tops song “The Letter” (listen here) where the singer is going home “because my baby done wrote me a letter”. This was followed in 1970 by Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” that you can hear here. In this song the “letter” is actually Stevie letting his love know he is still hers.

So how do letters fit in today’s world of hazard communication? You may think they don’t, but actually they do. Think about when and how you receive your Safety Data Sheets (SDS). There are requirements for ensuring all workers know the hazards of the materials with which that work and that is usually accomplished by the SDS. What are the requirements for ensuring that you have an SDS for the hazardous chemicals in your workplace?

First, we will look at what the United States’ OSHA HazCom 2012 says:

“Employers shall maintain copies of any safety data sheets that are received with incoming shipments of the sealed containers of hazardous chemicals, shall obtain a safety data sheet as soon as possible for sealed containers of hazardous chemicals received without a safety data sheet if an employee requests the safety data sheet, and shall ensure that the safety data sheets are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area”

The Canada Labor Code states the following about Safety Data Sheets:

“125.1 … every employer shall…

(e) … make available to every employee, …, a safety data sheet for each hazardous product to which the employee may be exposed that meets the requirements set out in the regulations made under subsection 15(1) of the Hazardous Products Act

And the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations say:

10.32 (1) Where a controlled product, … …, is received in the work place by an employer, the employer shall, without delay, obtain from the supplier of the controlled product a supplier material safety data sheet in respect of the controlled product”

Given all of these regulations, what does this mean to you? What is the best way for you to get and/or give a Safety Data Sheet?

The Canadian Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau recently provided the following clarification:

“A bilingual SDS must be provided to the purchaser of the hazardous product, either in hard copy (e.g. mail, hand delivered etc.) or by electronic means.

The following are examples of ways in which a bilingual SDS could be provided to a purchaser by electronic means:

  1. The supplier could send an email to the purchaser and attach the SDS to the email (in the case where the English and French portions of the SDS are two separate parts, both the English and French parts must be attached in the same email).
  2. The supplier could provide the purchaser with a universal serial bus (USB) stick or a compact disc (CD) on which the SDS has been saved (in the case where the English and French portions of the SDS are two separate parts, both the English and French parts must be saved on the same USB stick or CD).

It is important to note that it is not acceptable to provide an SDS by only providing the purchaser of the hazardous product with a website address or hyperlink from which the purchaser may download the SDS for the product that he purchased.”

For the United States, as part of the OSHA HazCom2012 Regulation it states:

(g)(8) The employer shall maintain in the workplace copies of the required safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical, and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s). (Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.)

(g)(10) Safety data sheets may be kept in any form, including operating procedures, and may be designed to cover groups of hazardous chemicals in a work area where it may be more appropriate to address the hazards of a process rather than individual hazardous chemicals. However, the employer shall ensure that in all cases the required information is provided for each hazardous chemical, and is readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s).

If you are new to a business, have a new product line, have switched roles always be sure you know where to find the SDS. ICC The Compliance Center offers various safety data sheet services, including creation and hosting. Contact us for more information on how we can help. Let’s hope your SDS is never lost in the mail.

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.6.2.5.2 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

IARCGHSNTP RoC

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.

A Scientist, an Actor, a Businessman, and Unknown Toxicity

Many good jokes have a common setup to them. That setup involves a unique group of individuals and some sort of humorous interaction that ends with a punchline. So here is my setup for this blog. What do a famous scientist, an award-winning actress/comedian and a well-known businessman have in common? Let’s look at a quote from each of them.

  • From Werner Heisenberg, the scientist, and his book Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science:
    • Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding’.
  • From Gilda Radner, the actress/comedian:
    • Life is about not knowing, having to change and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
  • From Warren Buffet, the businessman:
    • Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

Now, I don’t have the best punchline but there is a common thread in each of these. It is about the unknown.

As authors of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels, when researching ingredients there are times when there are no acute toxicity data in the literature on an ingredient. When this happens, alarm bells should ring. There is a very specific thing that has to happen when ingredients have unknown acute toxicity. When that ingredient is a part of an untested mixture at a relevant concentration, and the mixture is classified as acutely toxic, it presents a unique situation under OSHA HazCom2012. Per Appendix A, Section A.1.3.6.2.3 when this happens the statement “x % of the mixture consist of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity” is required in Section 2 of the SDS and on the label. What has never been truly clear to me in the regulation is how to actually use that phrase.

Since that is the case with the current set of documents I’m working on, I wanted to see if OSHA had given any more guidance on the topic. Per the website under the FAQ’s drop-down tab,

Classifiers can present the unknown acute toxicity information on labels and SDSs either as a single statement or as multiple statements, where routes are differentiated. If there is an unknown acute toxicity by more than one route, and the classifier chooses to provide one statement in order to save space on the label or SDS, then the route with the highest percentage unknown toxicity will be used in the statement. The single statement on the label or SDS would state that:

“x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity.”

Because it is possible to have ingredients with unknown toxicity for more than one route (e.g., oral, dermal, inhalation), differentiating the unknown toxicity statement by route is recommended.1 As such, classifiers may also communicate the information as:

  • x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute oral toxicity,
  • x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute dermal toxicity,
  • x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute inhalation toxicity.

1 Revision 4 of the GHS has clarified that the statement of unknown acute toxicity should be differentiated by route, see GHS Rev. 4 (or current version) paragraphs 3.1.3.6.2.2 and 3.1.4.2, and OSHA recommends classifiers follow this guidance.

According to this, I can choose how to use this statement. There is the option of using one blanket statement or breaking out the individual routes of exposure. However, beware of the footnote! The footnote says, “Revision 4 of the GHS has clarified that the statement of unknown acute toxicity should be differentiated by route, see GHS Rev. 4 (or current version) paragraphs 3.1.3.6.2.2 and 3.1.4.2, and OSHA recommends classifiers follow this guidance.” I added the bold and underline to make my point. Even though at the start of the answer it appears you have options as an author, OSHA recommends we clarify by individual route. If you want more information, you can read the full Letter of Interpretation here.

So, now I have my answer for how to proceed. There will be a few more phrases in Section 2 of my next series of SDS. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here for all of your hazard communication needs.

OSHA Hazard Communication Website Gets a Facelift

As I get older and more wrinkles, crow’s feet and age spots appear on my face, I consider some sort of plastic surgery like a facelift. According to the dictionary, a facelift is a procedure carried out to improve the appearance of someone or something.  A little nip and tuck, tightening and smoothing could go a long way in removing some of my signs of aging. So, how does my desire to look younger have anything to do with OSHA? To put it simply, OSHA’s website on Hazard Communication got a facelift.

US Department of Labor - OSHA Hazard Communication Website Screenshot
Click to enlarge

OSHA announced the update to the Hazard Communication website in the November 2nd QuickTakes newsletter under the Educational Resources section. To see the full newsletter, click here.

The new look actually makes the site easier to maneuver through as there are now drop-down tabs that can be used for faster searching for needed information. A quick review of each tab is as follows:

  • Safety Data Sheets: This tab includes the Safety Data Sheets QuikCard™ in both HTML and PDF formats along with the OSHA SDS Brief regarding Safety Data Sheets that incorporates Appendix D of the HazCom2012 regulation.
  • Labeling: On this tab the setup is very similar to that of the Safety Data Sheets. An additional link is to a QuickCard™ of a comparison between NFPA and OSHA labels.
  • Pictograms: Here again are the same features as the Safety Data Sheets and Labeling tabs. A nice feature is also the ability to download the pictograms.
  • Interpretations: Finally, a quick way to find a complete list of all the OSHA Letters of Interpretation.
  • Standards: Using this tab will take you directly to the OSHA HazCom2012 standard itself. It includes links to the Regulatory Text, the Preamble, and all of the Appendices.
  • Guidance: The title of this tab explains exactly what can be found under this tab. Once on this section there are links to things such as the Small Entity Compliance Guide and a few PowerPoint presentations.
  • International: The intention of this tab is to provide information on the Regulatory Cooperation Council.
  • FAQ’s: While this page is similar to the Letters of Interpretations tab it houses considerably more questions and answers and is more direct. Some of the questions are from back when HazCom2012 was first adopted but it does contain current information. Of note here is information on the “unknown acute toxicity” statement.
  • Additional Information: This tab has links to the effective dates and the history and background of how the United States matches the United Nations regulation.

All of these tabs make finding information a little more quickly. Use it to make your job easier. As for me, I will pass on the facelift. For each wrinkle, crow’s foot, and age spot I see I can think of a memory that made me who I am today.

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Why did you use an exact concentration?

Why was an exact concentration used? Health Canada eliminated the allowable ranges (previously allowed with WHMIS 1988) and went to exact concentrations. The only exception is if there is a batch variation. The other option is the customer can apply for an exemption. The blog found here http://www.thecompliancecenter.com/blog/2015/08/10/strictly-confidential-not-sds-ingredient-disclosure-cbi/ provides addition information.

Why is my product a class 9 in Canada when it was not previously?

On December 31, 2014 Transport Canada issued an amendment to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (SOR/2014-306). Details on this amendment can be found here http://www.thecompliancecenter.com/blog/2015/01/05/new-year-new-tdg-amendment/ . Essentially, Transport Canada brought in the criteria for classifying marine pollutants that follows the IMDG code. Based on the available aquatic data for fish, invertebrate and algae, the substance or product is given a classification. If that classification falls into Acute Category 1 or Chronic Category 1 or 2, it is regulated for transport and gets the shipping description Environmentally hazardous substance (solids or liquids), n.o.s. The USA still leaves this as an optional classification (you can still use the list or you can harmonize).