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VelocityEHS was in attendance Tuesday morning at the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication’s Fall 2019 Meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Representatives from OSHA and Health Canada, along with industry subject matter experts convened to deliver important regulatory updates, and lend their expertise on a wide range of hazard communication and chemical safety topics including OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012), Health Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015), UN GHS and EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Here’s a quick re-cap:


OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance

Maureen Ruskin, Deputy Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance opened the morning meeting with a presentation on OSHA regulatory updates. She specifically highlighted the continuing activities of the US and Canada’s Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), including:

  • The June 2018 memorandum of understanding (MOU) reaffirming the objectives of the RCC to facilitate greater coordination between agencies and departments in both countries; and reduce, eliminate or prevent unnecessary regulatory differences between both countries while maintaining high levels of protection for health, safety and the environment.
  • The U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ (OIRA) October 2019 Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public input on how the RCC may reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulatory differences between the United States and Canada.
  • Announcement of the RCC’s December 2019 stakeholder meeting to continue discussions on further alignment between OSHA HazCom 2012 and Health Canada’s WHMIS 2015 hazard communication standards.
  • The recently published Joint Health Canada and United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidance summarizing the differences and similarities between the hazardous product supplier requirements under Health Canada’s WHMIS 2015 and U.S. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012).

Deputy Director Ruskin concluded her session with a summary of items currently being reviewed by the UN Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS (UNSCEGHS) during its 2019-2020 biennium, and also hinted at the question that was on everyone’s mind — the status of OSHA’s long-awaited alignment of the HazCom standard with GHS Revision 7.

The news is — there is no news at this time. OSHA indicated that the next update on the status of its proposed rulemaking will be made during the upcoming December 12, 2019 meeting. While OSHA has repeatedly expressed its intent to align the HazCom standard with GHS Revision 7, Deputy Director Ruskin noted that once the proposed rule is published and the public comment period opens, there is the possibility that commenters will suggest elements of GHS Revision 8 be added to the forthcoming Hazcom revisions, and those comments may ultimately be incorporated into the final rule.

Be sure to stay tuned to the VelocityEHS Blog for updates on OSHA’s HazCom standard as they happen.

OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement

Sven Rundman from OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement delivered the next session discussing the agency’s recent enforcement activities and initiatives surrounding hazard communication and other related chemical safety regulations. Highlights of the session included:

  • The overlap and differences between EPA FIFRA, RCRA and OSHA HazCom requirements
  • The proper use of ingredient concentration ranges on product SDSs and labels under HazCom
  • Guidance on DOT/OSHA bulk shipment labeling requirements
  • Requirements for listing product ingredients in sections 3 (Composition/Ingredient Information) and 8 (Exposure Control/Personal Protection) of the SDS when the ingredients in question have PELs, TLVs, and/or OELs
  • OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards 2018 (HazCom remains the #2 most frequently cited standard)
  • HazCom standard violations and enforcement statistics for FY 2018

Mr. Rundman concluded his session with a reflection on OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week which took place August 12-19, 2019. Referring to the FY 2018 enforcement statistics, he specifically expressed concerns about the large number of HazCom violations that OSHA continues to uncover through its workplace inspections, and emphasized the need to engage businesses both big and small to help ensure compliance and the safety of workers.

Health Canada’s WHMIS

Next on the agenda were Dr. Kim Godard and Véronique Lalonde from Health Canada, who hosted the morning’s third session on Canada’s ongoing implementation of GHS and WHMIS 2015. The session covered a variety of current issues including:

  • An overview of the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) and the various federal, provincial and territorial occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation that support the WHMIS 2015 standard
  • Updates to Health Canada’s HPR Technical Guidance, including the use of prescribed concentration ranges on SDSs and supplier labels, as well as clarification on hazard classifications for carcinogens
  • Future amendments to the HPR to align WHMIS with Revision 7 of the GHS
  • Proposed amendments to the HMIRA to modernize and improve the confidential business information (CBI)/trade secret application and review process
  • Guidance for submitting a CBI/trade secret application
  • Access to Health Canada’s Hazardous Substance Assessments for hazardous product suppliers
  • Compliance and enforcement activities, and Health Canada’s SDS compliance promotion
  • Availability of additional guidance and compliance resources for hazardous product suppliers

The take home message of the session was that Canadian hazardous product suppliers and employers should take full advantage of the compliance resources available to them, and that Health Canada is committed to its mission of working with businesses to ensure chemical safety in the workplace.

Looking for an easy way to get up to speed with the latest updates on WHMIS 2015? Watch our on-demand webinar WHMIS 2015 Deadlines Have Passed: Are You in Compliance? You’ll get a high-level overview of Canada’s WHMIS 2015 requirements, along with valuable tips and best practices to help make sure your workplace is in compliance.

GHS Revision 8

The UN published its most recent revision of the GHS (Revision 8) back in July, 2019 and introduced a number of changes that could have big impacts for suppliers and users of hazardous chemicals. Here’s a quick snapshot of the changes highlighted during the session:

  • Chemicals Under Pressure – New hazard classes have been added to close gaps in hazard information for aerosols and chemicals under pressure
  • Skin Corrosion/Irritation – Modification of the “Tiered Approach” for hazard classification to include a weight of evidence assessment where information at a lower tier suggests a stricter classification and there is concern of misclassification
  • Precautionary Statements – Precautionary Statements P201 and P202 eliminated and replaced with simpler P203; clarification, rationalization and guidance on the use of medical response statements
  • Labeling of Small Packages – (Annex 7) New approved formats for supplier labels on sets or kits containing multiple small containers for which there is insufficient space to affix a full GHS supplier label
  • Dust Explosion Hazards – (Annex 11) Guidance on identifying and preventing dust explosion hazards that do not result in hazard classification under GHS, but which may need to be assessed and communicated; Approved phrases for Labels, SDSs and/or operating instructions for substances or mixtures determined classified as combustible dust
  • “Significant” Editorial Changes – Revision 8 edits address the scope of the GHS, the use of bridging principles in hazard classification, changes to the decision logic text used in classifying aerosol hazards, and clarification of single- and repeat-exposure hazard classifications for Specific Target Organ Toxicity.

Meeting attendees noted that while the UN has made a print copy of GHS Revision 8 available for purchase on it’s website, it has not yet made a free digital copy available as it has done for previous revisions. Stay tuned to the VelocityEHS Blog for updates as soon as it is available.

Update on TSCA, SNURs and Nanomaterials

The morning’s final session provided recent updates on the EPA’s 2016 amendments to TSCA, otherwise  referred to as the  Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). Specifically, the session looked at the pre-manufacture notice (PMN) requirements for newly manufactured chemicals; the EPA’s risk determination process when evaluating and approving those chemicals for sale in commerce; the agency’s use of consent orders; the issuance of Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) when EPA determines that the use of new chemicals presents health or environmental risks; and the impacts of all of these issues on U.S. chemical manufacturers.

One of these impacts is the potential need for chemical manufacturers or other suppliers to re-author product SDSs and labels following the issuance of a consent order or SNUR, in order to include additional hazard information required by the EPA on the SDS and label.

The session concluded with a brief discussion of nanomaterials, and how EPA is handling the manufacture of nanomaterials under TSCA. In a nutshell, TSCA requirements do not conflict with the agency’s prior approaches to identification and classification of nanomaterials, but that the ability of EPA to review those materials certainly lags behind the technology. Manufacturers are advised to spend additional time looking for analogs of their materials for which there is existing data, and expect EPA to scrutinize your PMN and likely issue a consent order and/or SNUR.

Let VelocityEHS Help!

When it comes to chemical hazard communication, VelocityEHS is the industry leader. Our award-winning chemical management solutions have helped more than 18,000 customers and 10 million users around the globe to simplify compliance and maintain workplace safety, while our in-house team of EHS experts is dedicated to keeping our customers at the leading edge of hazard communication regulations and EHS best practices.

To see for yourself how VelocityEHS can help you simplify compliance with HazCom, WHMIS and other global GHS-aligned hazard communication standards, Request a Demo today or give us a call at 1.888.362.2007