Safety Data Sheets GHS/Hazcom Hazard communication

Interim policy allows limited use of pre-2012-compliant hazcom labels

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Washington – An OSHA interim policy issued May 29 allows limited continued use of hazard communication labels that are not yet in compliance with the revised Hazard Communication Standard released in 2012.

The compliance date for use of updated labels was June 1. However, some manufacturers, importers and distributors say they are still waiting to receive classification and Safety Data Sheet information from upstream suppliers.

In February, OSHA published a memo explaining that labels complying with the original standard would be allowed if employers exercised “reasonable diligence and good faith” to comply with the updated rule.

Since issuing the February memo, OSHA has received an “overwhelming” number of questions and requests for clarification related to continued use of older labels on containers packaged for shipment.

The new policy provides guidance for manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals; employers that repackage, blend or mix the chemicals; and companies that distribute them. It also provides examples of reasonable diligence and good faith efforts employers might make, including:

  • Finding hazard information from alternative sources
  • Documenting the process used to gather information from upstream suppliers
  • Developing actions for making changes to SDSs and labels once the information becomes available

The memo will be canceled once OSHA issues its Hazard Communication directive, which will incorporate clarification on the use of older labels. The directive was expected shortly after June 1, but had not been released as of press time.