SafeTec Blog

Life After the June 1st GHS Deadline

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.

 

What now?

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:

 

  1. Inventory all of your chemicals.
  2. Marry your on-hand chemical inventory with your MSDS library. This includes quantities, container specifications and physical locations.
  3. Identify MSDS-purchasing gaps. There are likely to be some. Some chemical management vendors offer an inventory service, in which technicians will visit an end user’s facilities and inventory their chemicals.
  4. Correlate MSDS data with purchase data. Start to correlate your purchase data with your MSDS and SDS data so that moving forward, as you are making purchases, you are actively tracking new SDSs as they arrive in your workplace.
  5. Identify MSDS-SDS gaps. If you don’t have an SDS for a corresponding purchase, you need to contact the manufacturer requesting the SDS, and time-stamp that request.
  6. Implement controls to identify and track new purchases.
  7. Practice due diligence. Track and report retrieval efforts for obtaining new SDSs. OSHA has said that this is the process they will consider appropriate for a downstream user’s due diligence report. As such, when OSHA comes in for an inspection, if you can provide this documentation, OSHA won’t insist on seeing all of your SDSs. It will just want to see what you’re doing, which your report will show.

 

Moving forward:

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:

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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/

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