Why Did OSHA Revise its Policy on GHS?

by Lawton Brothers | Jul 13, 2015


Last month, OSHA’s
policy on Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS, went into effect. As of June 1, 2015 manufactures, distributors and businesses that repackage hazardous chemicals must label each container being shipped downstream with HCS 2012-compliant labels and SDSs. This left manufacturers, distributors and businesses that this change in policy affected scrambling to update existing stock.

At the last minute OSHA relaxed their policy for existing stock, classified as hazardous materials that were already boxed, palletized or shrink-wrapped, so that manufactures did not have to unpack, re-label and re-package those hazardous materials.  As some manufactures were not able to comply because they had not received necessary classifications, SDSs and labels from their upstream suppliers. They must, however, provide an HCS 2012-compliant label and SDSs for each shipment, or show signs of diligence and good faith that they attempted to procure and use the required materials. 

U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis has said, “Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing American workers today. Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive." 

It’s great that OSHA is taking steps to ensure worker’s safety around hazardous chemicals. It’s also refreshing to know that they relaxed their enforcement policy to give those manufactures, distributors and repackagers a chance to become compliant without penalizing them for existing stock. 

If you have any questions about how OSHA regulations will affect your facility, give us a call today. 

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