December 1, 2015 marks the next completion date for implementation of the revised OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012). As December arrives, containers of hazard chemicals shipped from a distributor must be labeled with HazCom 2012 hazard warning information. Manufacturers and importers shipments to their distributors included these revised labels on June 1, 2015. Or at least “should have” included these revised labels.Read More
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I have seen no less than 20 emails inviting me to webinars that will help me get my house in order for all the changes coming with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard this year. From the tone of these emails, it would seem like the sky is falling! You know what? The sky is not falling … although there is work to be done to implement the changes.
OSHA has a reasonable timeline for compliance and with planning, we can get through this with ease! Here’s our take on the issue …
On first glance, the changes seem monumental …
- 90,000 workplaces = the number of sites that produce hazardous chemicals in the US. HazCom 2012 requires these manufacturers to.
- Modify the hazard classification for chemicals they produce
- Create new labels to highlight these hazards
- Draft and distribute revised Material Safety Data Sheets (now referred to as Safety Data Sheets)
- 43 million US workers = the number of workers in the 5 million facilities that will be notified of the new physical and health hazard classifications for the chemicals in their workplaces by new labels and Safety Data Sheets communicating these hazards.
- $201 million a year = the cost OSHA estimates to roll out HazCom 2012 for the entire United States. OSHA lists yearly program element costs as follows:
- $22.5 million for chemical hazards classification based on the GHS criteria and revising safety data sheets and labels to meet new format and content requirements
- $24.1 million for printing packaging and labels for hazardous chemicals in color
- $95.4 million for employee training about the new warning symbols and the revised safety data sheet format under GHS
- $59 million a year for management to become familiar with the new GHS system and to engage in other management-related activities as may be necessary for industry's adoption of GHS
Let’s look at the actual tasks each organization has to accomplish for compliance:
With a plan … these tasks are quite doable!
- Chemical Users: Continue to update safety data sheets when new ones become available, provide training on the new label elements and SDS format and update hazard communication programs if new hazards are identified.
- Chemical Producers: Review hazard information for all chemicals produced or imported, classify chemicals according to the new classification criteria, and update labels and safety data sheets.
OSHA’s HazCom 2012 Compliance Timeline …
||December 1, 2013|
||June 1, 2015|
||June 1, 2016|
On April 25, Emilcott will be presenting a HazCom 2012 Webinar for anyone interested. Our approach—let’s not try to alarm everyone, but let’s provide a basic understanding of the changes made to the standard and a simple plan of action for employers to meet the regulatory requirements within the specified time frames. Would you like to join us?
Register here: OSHA HazCom 2012: A Simple Plan for Compliance
Secretary of Labor Solis and Assistant Secretary Dr. Michaels provided a press release conference call this morning where they indicated that the new standard will reduce injuries to employees, reduce costs for employers and allow US manufacturers to be more competitive in a global market.
There were a few questions regarding combustible dust and unclassified hazards, which are now labeled as Hazards NOC (not otherwise classified). Combustible dust will be classified as such and will not be placed in the Hazards NOC category. A number of compliance dates were specified including employee training to be completed by December 1, 2013 and full compliance by June 2016.
OSHA launched its new website on HazCom 2012 today. It provides guidance on compliance and frequently asked questions regarding the new standard.
Now that the final rule is released, look for an Emilcott Free Webinar, HazCom 2012 made Simple
Do you have hazardous chemicals in your workplace? If you think the answer is no, are you sure?
OSHA defines a hazardous chemical as one that presents either a physical or a health hazard. Many common and readily available products such as paints, cleaners, and other materials found in the workplace meet this definition. In fact, last year OSHA issued over 6,300 violations to companies that failed to comply with this standard. As we noted in a previous blog, non-compliance with the Hazard Communication standard was the third-largest source of OSHA violations in 2009 and 2010!
If you are an employer, you have a legal obligation to provide a workplace that is free of recognized hazards and to communicate any hazards present to those in the workplace. In 1985, OSHA established the Hazard Communication Standard ( 1910.1200) to ensure, in part, that all workers have the "right-to-know" about the hazardous chemicals in their workplace.
Essentially, employees have a Right-to-Know about any hazardous substances that they may come into contact with at work and how to protect themselves from adverse affects. Employees, for their part, have a responsibility to follow directions and work safely by using products for their intended purpose and in accordance with the manufacturers instructions to reduce risk and chance of exposure. This is where the Hazard Communication Standard kicks in, as all workplace information about hazardous substances needs to be in a Written Hazard Communication Program. This "HazCom" program must contain
- A list of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace and a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each chemical (or product) on that list
- All employees must have access to that list and the MSDSs during their work shift
- Methods to communicate hazards of these chemicals to employees, on-site contractors and visitors such as signs and labels
- Records showing that all employees have been properly trained to understand the hazards, read the MSDSs and understand labeling and signs.
In addition to the federal OSHA requirements for labeling, the State of New Jersey has specific labeling requirements for all vessels, piping and containers that contain hazardous chemicals.
So, do you have hazardous chemicals in your workplace? Are you rethinking your answer?
If you have products that arrive with an MSDS, and you have not implemented a written HazCom Program, youll need to get a program in place to be OSHA compliant. If you have been following the standard, consider the following:
- Are you keeping up with its requirements?
- When was the last time your HazCom Program was reviewed?
- Is your hazardous chemical list and MSDS collection up-to-date?
- Do you know what OSHA considers Hazardous?
- Is every hazardous chemical container labeled properly even the transfer containers?
- Are ALL your employees trained about the workings of your HazCom program and the hazards of each chemical in their workplace?
Now do you know the answer? Or, do you have more questions?
If you are confused or intimidated, dont worry. A great resource is the Institute of Hazardous Materials Managers which certifies individuals as Hazardous Materials Managers (CHMM) and Hazardous Materials Practitioners (CHMP). These trained professionals must demonstrate various levels of knowledge, expertise, and excellence in the management of hazardous materials. And, there are EHS (Environmental, Health and Safety) experts like Emilcott everywhere their job is to help companies stay in compliance with state and federal regulations while protecting employees. No matter what resource you find, just ask if they are experienced in developing Hazardous Communication programs. Not only will workers stay health and safety, youll see added benefits like prevention of property damage, reduced insurance claims and costs, and, of course, your company will not be cited for OSHAs third most-common violation!
Have you found any chemicals in your workplace that you didnt know are hazardous? Does your right-to-know increase your job comfort level or concern you? And, have you carefully reviewed the company HazCom plan so that you understand what to do if ?
Topics: OSHA, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, H&S Training, Hazardous Waste Management, HazCom, health and safety, Compliance, regulation, General Industry, emergency response training, Exposure, hazardous chemicals, chemicals, MSDS, Hazard Communication Standard
In an age where we are reliant on modern technology as a part of our job, it is difficult to imagine not being able to use your cell phone or access the Internet because of topography. As the Field Safety Manager for a 300-mile electric power transmission power line construction project, one of my first tasks was to address the question How do you make communication possible across 275 miles of relatively unpopulated, harsh mountainous territory? Specifically, I had to meet OSHAs requirements for communication: 29 CFR 1926.35 Employee Emergency Action Plans and 29 CFR 1926.50 Medical Services and First Aid.
For a project health and safety administrator, it is vital to be able to communicate with your team members and with outside resources. How do you keep tabs on who is where and what is happening? How do you find if something has gone wrong or someone needs help? In fact, these are the reasons that OSHA implemented the Standards listed above life and death situations may depend upon it!
On this particular project, numerous construction crews were working at different, extremely remote locations with a distance of several miles between each work crew. While the power line tower construction and electric line-stringing companies included requirements for an eventual end-to-end 2-way radio system, the system was not available for at least the first year of the project. And, since cell phones and the average two-way radio systems were not able to be consistently or reliably available to meet the communication needs required for this project, I needed to find an alternative.
After digging around and countless meetings, calls, and trips to all kinds of communications companies, we settled on a resourceful, cost-conscious and effective method of communicating between the crews, safety personnel, surveyors and managers. The end result was a creative mix of new technologies:
- Cell phone signal boosters in each vehicle in the field
- GPS SPOT locator units for each crew
- New technology satellite phones for work crews heading into the most remote locations.
The vendor that built these systems also owned many of the frequencies needed for an end-to-end two-way radio system that would reach across the 275-mile project location.
Of course, the systems effectiveness had to be proven we were relying on it! So, I spent hours deep in the mountains field testing the equipment in some of the most remote project locations I have ever seen. Luckily, I was helped by some of the project team members who had spent a great deal of time in this area. Experience also helps communication!
This project had unusual difficulties a big, remote, mountainous and unpopulated area that could have thwarted OSHAs communication requirements. At any time, it would have been easy to throw in the towel, cross our fingers or perhaps put together a patched-together system and hope it worked. However, with some tenacious ingenuity and a confidence that a reliable health and safety communication system could be found, we were able to overcome the almost overwhelming challenges and put an effective field communication system into place.
Have you been faced with challenges to provide adequate communication systems for your employees? What has made a job site seem almost impossible to conquer? What did you do to overcome those challenges?
Topics: OSHA, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, Construction H&S, Emergency Response, HazCom, health and safety, Compliance, worker safety, Occupational Health, Occupational Safety, Hazard Communication Standard, communication
Every day there are more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials (hazmat) in trucks-usually flammable liquids, such as gasoline, or flammable gas. About 200 hazmat trucks a year are involved in fatal crashes and 5,000 in nonfatal crashes. Although these numbers are small relative to the totals of almost 5,000 trucks involved in fatal crashes and 400,000 involved in nonfatal crashes annually, the potential for human injury and property damage in hazmat crashes is much greater.
Topics: General Industry H&S, Emilcott, General EHS, H&S Training, DOT, Hazardous Waste Management, HazCom, Hazardous Materials, Compliance, Occupational Safety, regulation, Hazard Communication Standard, Public Safety, Lab Safety
Another calendar year is drawing to a close; where does the time go? As I plan my own holiday celebrations and commitments, environmental professionals like me have another type of planning to keep in mind. With the start of each new year, we face regulatory submission deadlines reporting data from the past year including Submission of the EPA Community Right to Know (CRTK) Survey -- a Federal act with each state managing their own program due March 1 st and EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) due July 1 st.
Just like Christmas shopping, the compilation and reporting process is less stressful and yields better results if I begin early and develop a strategy with deadlines in mind. As such, here is my personal January 1 st kick-off list that should make the time-consuming process of CRTK and TRI reporting easier to handle.
1) Start requesting and gathering all the information needed for these submittals.
- 2010 purchasing records of the chemicals you are reporting
- 2010 production logs where these chemicals are used
- 2010 waste information
- 2010 recycling information for any reported chemicals that were recycled
- 2010 air emission inventory
2) Develop and write down a comprehensive set of due dates so that you have time to review information as it comes in. If the requested data is late, have a plan to follow up or find another source because the deadline is not going to change!
3) Review the rules early to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule effective November 10, 2010 which added 16 chemicals to the list of TRI reportable chemicals. To ensure that you are reporting what you need to report, check the TRI database on the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/tri/trichemicals/index.htm.
4) Allow time for anomalies and additional fact-finding. As Charles Peruffo described in a recent EHSWire blog about filing the NJ PPA, reported amounts from different sources may not match. If you find that is the case, its your job to figure out why and that always adds more time to the already challenging process.
Emilcotts clients depend on our environmental knowledge and organizational capabilities to gather the required information on time and give them fair warning if there is trouble ahead. My best advice for successful reporting-dont wait until the last minute. Much like shopping for Christmas on Dec 24th, waiting until February to gather the information for the CRTK or starting in June for the TRI will be stressful and could result in costly errors. So, what am I doing today? Like Santa, Im checking my own list twice!
Have you been meeting the CRTK and TRI deadline? If yes, can you offer additional advice or do you have particular steps that you take to get the submission process rolling?
The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. §13101 et seq. (1990)) was a paradigm shift in the control of pollution (and hazardous waste). While previous regulations emphasized the end of the pipeline, the PPA moved the control of pollution upstream in the manufacturing process to prevent the waste from being generated in the first place. Closely related to the PPA is the NJ Pollution Prevention Act. Passed in 1991, the NJ PPA implements the concept of reduction in waste production upstream by requiring affected companies to develop and submit a 5-year pollution reduction strategy and file a Release and Pollution Prevention Report (RPPR). The NJ Release and Pollution Prevention Report collects data for New Jersey Right to Know Act ( NJRTK).
What does the Federal PPA require?
Facilities must account for their use of toxic chemicals and, where feasible, reduce their use. Toxic pollution that cannot be reduced should be recycled, and pollution that cannot be recycled should be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
EHS professionals must have a firm understanding of the processes that use toxic chemicals in order to reduce their use. Documenting these activities is an important step in PPA compliance and must include an accounting for the final disposal of toxic chemicals. Generally this is done using the EPAs Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting Form R.
For facilities in New Jersey, what else is required?
The New Jersey Pollution Prevention Act (NJ PPA), enacted in August of 1991, requires a Pollution Prevention (P2) Plan for facilities that meet specific requirements:
- A facility in New Jersey that files a Form R and a Release and Pollution Prevention Report (RPPR) under the New Jersey Worker and Community Right to Know Act for the same chemical(s) in two consecutive years. Note that in New Jersey any employer required to submit a TRI Form R is also required to submit the RPPR.
- The chemicals listed in the Form R and RPPR remain at or above the TRI activity thresholds.
The facility must prepare a five-year Pollution Prevention (P2) Plan and submit a P2 Plan Summary by July 1 once they become covered (the second year they submit an RPPR for the same chemical). This becomes the base year. For each of the following years that the facility remains at or above the TRI activity thresholds, the facility completes the P2-115 which compares pollution prevention progress for the reporting year to the base year.
The PPA Filing Process by an EHS Professional
When recently preparing PPA paperwork for a small biotech site, I had to collect a variety of information for preparing a New Jersey P2 Plan. A brief review of the steps is listed below. For detailed instructions, look at NJDEP Form DEP-113.
- Contacted the companys purchasing department to find out how much of each toxic chemical had been delivered to the facility.
- Contacted the companys hazardous waste management contractor to confirm that the amount purchased (Step 1) equaled the amount that was disposed.
- Compare the purchased to disposed amounts. The amounts did not match.
- Investigate the discrepancy. It turned out the waste management contractor was using a less accurate method for calculating the percentage of toxic chemical in our waste stream. Their laboratory data indicated that the company was disposing of more toxic chemical than purchased. Ultimately, the volume data from the companys purchasing department was used since no new toxic chemicals could be produced by the companys processes.
- Reviewed the companys air permit for an estimation of the toxic chemicals lost to the air.
- Calculated the chemical remaining as residue in the empty drums, which were also removed by our hazardous waste management contractor.
- Contacted the site Controller for the facility SIC code.
- Prepared a Five-Year Use Reduction Goal based on pollution prevention activities such as process improvements after a review of documentation of meetings where possible improvements were discussed with personnel who work with toxic chemicals as well as process engineering diagrams. (Sets site five year pollution prevention goals).
- Progress towards these goals needs to be reviewed yearly and documented on the site P2 Plan.
- Obtain signatures for plan from the highest ranking corporate official with direct operating responsibility and the highest ranking corporate official at the facility.
Note --- A P2 Plan Summary needs to be updated and submitted every five years for the chemicals referenced in the original P2 Plan submission.
This process needs to be repeated for each toxic chemical at each applicable facility in New Jersey with all of the information included as part of one P2 Plan regardless of the number of toxic chemicals reported. The facility does need to file one RPPR for each chemical. Does this seem like a lot of work? Consider this: In the twenty years since adoption, the PPA and NJ PPA have helped to substantially reduce the use and improper disposal of toxic chemicals by requiring industry to examine their work processes.
How about your facility?
As a facility, are you tracking your toxic chemicals and filing the appropriate PPA/NJ PPA documentation? Have you noticed that a mindful approach to the processes and paperwork have resulted in reduced usage and better, more healthful disposal of chemicals?
About Our Guest Blogger: Charles Peruffo is an EHS professional specializing in laboratory health and safety. Prior to his EHS career, Charles spent many years as chemist in the pharmaceutical industry with responsibilities ranging from laboratory safety to analyst training. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Montclair State University and is pursuing his Master of Science in Occupational Safety Health Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Topics: General Industry H&S, General EHS, EPA, Emergency Response, Hazardous Waste Management, HazCom, health and safety, Compliance, Air Sampling, reporting, chemical manufacturer, regulation, chemicals, Hazard Communication Standard, pollution prevention, pollution, chemical disposal, Right to Know
Both OSHA and the EPA seemed to have recently awoken from their regulatory slumber. OSHA has announced its first major rulemaking during the Obama administration with a proposed change to the agencys Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard. The existing OSHA HazCom Standard provides workers with the right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to while working, as well as the measures they can take to protect themselves. This standard was originally adopted in November 1983 and has been enhanced a few times with the latest revision in February 1994.
The proposed changes set the stage for the United States to catch up with the global community in the use of globally consistent methods for chemical hazard classification, hazard labeling, and the format of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The proposed changes will align the HazCom Standard with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS). The GHS was adopted by the UN in 2003 with a goal of implementation in 2008. Most multinational companies have been following both the global system and the current OSHA Hazard Communication Program in recent years. The US Department of Transportation has already modified the DOT requirements to make them consistent with international UN transportation requirements and the GHS. Now it is time for OSHA.
The proposed changes will significantly improve the quality and consistency of information provided to workers, employers and chemical user by having a standardized approach to identifying the hazard, labeling the hazard on containers and equipment, and documentation of the hazard on a MSDS. The most pronounced change that chemical purchasers and workers will see is a consistent hazard warning statements and warnings (including pictograms) along with MSDSs will always have the same information located in the same place. These changes are critical not only for everyday users of the chemicals but also emergency responders and medical personnel.
However, the changes wont be required next week and probably not even next year. The process for moving through a major revision to an established regulation can be long and loud (with input from all vantages points on the changes). OSHA took the first step of this process in September 2006 with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). The recent step, in September 2009, is detailing the changes to HazCom with the publishing of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Next is the comment period (90 days December 29, 2009) and then public hearings scheduled for early 2010. OSHA will then draft a Proposed Standard which will have to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and will consult with the Small Business Administration. The Proposal Standard will then get published in the Federal Register, and will most likely have a comment period. FINALLY, OSHA will incorporate changes from comments into the Final Standard, which will be published in the Federal Register with the provisions taking effect over the following months or years.
Its a long process. Regulators dont have the window of time to slumber.
Topics: OSHA, General Industry H&S, Emilcott, Construction H&S, EPA, Emergency Response, H&S Training, DOT, Hazardous Waste Management, HazCom, health and safety, worker safety, Occupational Health, Occupational Safety, MSDS, Hazard Communication Standard, Occupational Training, Safety Training in Spanish
Laurie de Laski
1. The OSHA Standard for regulating safety in research and development laboratories is: Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories (29 CFR 1910.1450). The standard does not apply to production or QA/QC labs (see definition in #9).
2. The employer must develop and maintain a Chemical Hygiene Plan for each lab
3. The employer must designate a Chemical Hygiene Officer (an individual or group of individuals responsible for implementation of all requirements of the lab standard)
4. The employer must provide a formal training program for all employees that will work in R&D laboratories, to be provided prior to initial assignment AND whenever a new chemical, hazard, or task is introduced.
5. Training should include a review of the Chemical Hygiene Plan, location of MSDS and reference materials, chemical use and hazard information, standard operating procedures and emergency procedures, chemical labeling system, and proper storage.
6. An Up-to-date inventory maintained for all hazardous materials must be maintained
7. Hazardous Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be maintained and all employees must know the location of MSDS' and related reference material
8. All chemical containers must have an appropriate label based on the labs labeling/identification system
9. Workplaces covered by the laboratory standard are determined by their conformance with the laboratory use and laboratory scale criteria, as defined in the standard terms as those operations involving:
- use of chemicals in relatively small quantities and multiple chemical procedures
- chemical containers of such a size that can be easily and safely handled by one person
- small scale research procedures (investigative scale), and not production processes (industrial scale)
- use of protective laboratory practices and equipment (e.g., fume hoods)
10. R&D Lab facilities may have other support operations (shipping/receiving, warehouse) where the OSHA Hazard Communications Standard 1910.1200 applies.