Several members of the CPS Product Stewardship and Toxicology group attended the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication’s (SCHC’s) Fall 2013 Meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Topics discussed in the plenary session included (in order of presentation) a GHS update from OSHA, advanced topics in GHS, K‑REACH and Korea GHS, data availability under REACH, Hazcom in the Middle East & Africa, a Canadian GHS update, and an update on EPA’s existing chemicals program.
With regard to GHS and hazard communication strategies, a key message was that countries worldwide are adopting GHS. The United States adopted GHS in the revised Hazard Communication Standard (i.e., HazCom 2012). Under the revised standard, hazards must be classified using GHS criteria, labels must be aligned with GHS guidelines on format and content, safety data sheets (SDSs) must follow the 16-section ANSI format, and all workers must be trained in the new label and SDS elements, as well as the new hazard classifications that result from GHS reclassification. Canada is in the process of adopting GHS with the goal of minimizing variances with HazCom 2012. Physical hazard classes in Canada will be aligned with those of the US except for combustible dusts and physical hazards not otherwise classified. Health hazard classes will be aligned between the two countries, except Canada will include biohazardous infectious materials and health hazards not otherwise classified, although in the US, HCS also includes a general hazards not otherwise classified category. Labels and SDSs will be aligned between Canada and the US, and Canadian labels will no longer require hatched borders. Environmental hazards do not need to be classified under OSHA HazCom 2012 or the revised Canadian standard.
In Korea, GHS was adopted for substances in July 2010 and will be adopted for mixtures in July 2013. Korea’s system is aligned with GHS hazard classes with the exceptions of categories for chemically unstable gases, aerosols, flammable liquids, skin corrosion and irritation, acute toxicity, and acute aquatic toxicity. Unlike the US and Canadian self-classification systems, Korea has a compulsory list-based system. Another difference is that the Korean government has developed mandatory SDSs for pure substances.
Despite a plethora of diverse regulations governing hazard communication practices in the Middle East and Africa, some countries have taken preliminary steps in adopting GHS or GHS‑like regulations. The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, has two voluntary Hazcom regulations in effect, while its member countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, and Oman maintain their own individual non-GHS compliant requirements. In contrast, countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Israel, and Turkey have made greater strides towards GHS alignment. Turkey, for example, requires a 16-section REACH-compliant SDS and is currently in the process of adopting legislation aligned with the EU CLP. Despite this piecemeal approach, GHS adoption is either in effect or in progress in many Middle Eastern and African countries.
Among the many lessons learned from the conference is that good data are your passageway to registration and classification in regulatory jurisdictions around the world. Managing and protecting your data are of utmost importance to your business. Contact one of our Product Stewardship experts for more information about the SCHC Fall Meeting or any questions you might have about registering or classifying your product in the US or worldwide.