The safety data sheet and label format requirements under OSHA’s revised Hazardous Communication Standard officially went into effect on June 1, 2015.  Employers are encouraged to review their safety data sheets and labels to ensure that the meet the new requirements and align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.  Employers should contact their distributors and manufacturers if they have yet to receive updated safety data sheets and labels and document such communication and follow-up in the event that OSHA requests such information.

In a May 29, 2015 memorandum, OSHA indicates that the Hazard Communication directive will be issued in the near future.  While the June 1, 2015 has passed, OSHA has provided some additional guidance on what this requirement means for already packaged stock and for manufacturers, importers and distributors who are not ready for the change.  Specifically, OSHA notes that manufactures, importers of hazardous chemicals and businesses that repackage do not need to re-label packaged shipment containers with 2012-compliant labels if boxed, palletized, shrink-wrapped.  However, 2012-compliant labels and safety data sheets must be provided for each individual container shipped, unless the manufacturer or importer can demonstrate that it had not received classification information from its upstream suppliers and had exercised reasonable diligence and made good faith efforts to obtain such information.

The memorandum reminds distributors that they can continue to ship existing boxed, palletized, shrink-wrapped stock chemicals with 1994-compliant labels until December 1, 2015.  Distributors will not be required to re-label packaged for shipment containers with HCS 2012-compliant labels.  However, distributors will be required to provide a HCS 2012-compliant label and safety data sheet for each and every individual container shipped with any future shipments after December 1, 2015 or upon request, unless they can demonstrate reasonable diligence and good faith.

OSHA reminds individuals that reasonable diligence and good faith may be demonstrated by manufacturers and importers if they can provide documentation to show efforts to:

  • Obtain classification information and safety data sheets from upstream suppliers;
  • Find hazard information from alternative sources; and
  • Classify the data themselves.

More information on the Hazardous Communication requirements can be found at OSHA’s website: