With the recent passing of the June 1st GHS deadline for chemical manufacturers, questions have arisen regarding the impact that this significant milestone has on companies that still aren’t fully compliant. It has become apparent that many chemical manufacturers, even with the best intentions, have struggled to meet the required June 1st deadline for the creation of the revised Safety Data Sheets.
The cause is primarily due to supply chain issues. As chemical manufacturers are frantically striving to author new documents, the information flow downstream hasn’t made its way fully to the blenders and distributors. The challenge is that these companies require the utilization of the updated SDSs to develop their specific documents and are finding that the ancillary SDSs aren’t yet available. SafeTec has reached out to a number of chemical manufactures in an attempt to collect the newly authored SDSs and have found that the majority, especially within the small-to-medium size business category, are still under development.
OSHA is aware of this lag and has issued an enforcement guidance document as of May 29th, 2015, which outlines some relief for those parties who can show that they attempted to meet the deadlines but, through no fault of their own, were unable to do so. The guidance document further clarifies expectations for chemical manufacturers, blenders and distributors, and provides additional clarification on due diligence requirements to avoid citations and penalties.
As part of their ‘due diligence’ stance, OSHA has indicated that they will "use its enforcement discretion when compliance staff consider whether formulators and manufacturers have performed their due diligence and made good faith efforts." In essence, blenders and distributors need to continue their attempts to obtain updated SDSs, all-the-while documenting the steps they’ve taken to pursuit the necessary upstream information.
Employer due diligence
As employers readily await June 1, 2016, it’s important to begin taking proactive steps to actively monitor and manage your transition efforts. If you are a downstream user, here is what you can do:
In parallel path with those efforts, the focus now shifts to the forthcoming GHS enforcement dates of December 1st and beyond:
GHS Transition Key Dates:
Stay tuned as SafeTec’s partners with you in navigating this transition and helping to shed light and dissect the information as it becomes available.
For additional information and an open forum for discussion, check out the GHS Community blog: http://www.ghscommunity.com/