The U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally published its long-awaited revisions to the Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). While alignment with GHS Rev. 7 and the impact on aerosol products is the change that is getting the most attention, there are three other specific changes worth highlighting here:

  • New language to clarify OSHA’s expectation that the hazard classification must not only consider the immediate chemical substance(s) that make up a hazardous chemical or mixture, but also the hazards associated with the chemical’s intrinsic properties including: a change in the chemical’s physical form and chemical reaction products from known or reasonably anticipated uses or applications. To illustrate, consider a substance that is a solid when shipped but is used at temperatures above its melting point and, upon melting, releases flammable vapors. Thus, the substance would need to also be classified as a flammable liquid even though it is sold as a solid. Similarly, if the use of a substance is known to release a toxic gas upon reacting with another substance, the hazards of that toxic gas must also be addressed even though it is not present at the time the substance is placed on the market. While this new language may seem to be a minor change on the surface, the possibilities are vast, and it is surely going to challenge the developers of SDS authoring software. OSHA does clarify, however, that these hazards need only be addressed on the SDS and not on the label.
  • New language that outlines the labeling requirements for small containers. This is a welcome change since, in its absence, manufacturers of products in small containers had to assume that all the required information would somehow have to be included. However, manufacturers must first be able to demonstrate that the use of pull-out labels, fold-back labels, or tags containing the full label information is not feasible. In cases where these types of labels are not feasible, containers less than or equal to 100 ml are to be packaged within an immediate outer package that includes all of the required label information while the label on the inner container need only have the product identifier, pictogram(s), signal word, the chemical manufacturer’s name and phone number, and a statement that the full label information is on the outer package. In addition, for containers less than or equal to 3 ml, the inner container need only have the product identifier. Thus, a long list of hazard and precautionary statements would no longer be required on containers less than or equal to 100 ml, and the pictograms and signal words would no longer be required on containers less than or equal to 3 ml, provided these containers are packaged in a fully-labeled outer package and provided the inner container is stored in the outer package and provided the outer package includes a statement that the small container(s) inside must be stored in the immediate outer package.
  • New language prescribes allowable concentration ranges in Section 3 of the SDS when the exact concentration is withheld as trade secret. These allowable concentration ranges align with those prescribed by Canada’s Hazardous Products Regulations (SOR/2015-17) and, as a result, overly broad ranges are no longer allowed.

The new standard was published in Federal Register Notice: Vol. 89, No. 98 / Monday, May 20, 1994 and a copy can be found here:

For details regarding our SDS Authoring services, including co-authoring and temporary staffing for your SAP S/4HANA® Product Compliance (SAP® EHS) system, visit our webpage: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Authoring – Experien Health Sciences

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