OSHA recently issued an internal memorandum outlining enforcement guidance for some of the 2012 Hazard Communication Standard’s (HCS) requirements effective on June 1, 2015—namely, the requirement that chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors must develop and use safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels for their chemical mixtures that align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The policy provided in the memorandum will not exceed two years.
This memorandum appears to be in response to concerns raised by several trade groups that they needed until June 2017 to comply with the SDS and labeling requirements because they had not received classification and SDS information from upstream suppliers of raw materials in enough time to meet the current deadline. While it denied the trade groups’ petition to formally modify the compliance date, OSHA indicates in the February 9, 2015 memorandum that it will not issue a citation against manufacturers, importer or distributors if they have exercised “reasonable diligence” and “good faith” to classify and label their chemical mixtures in accordance with the 2012 HCS requirements and if the mixture’s material safety data sheets and labels comply with the 1994 HCS requirements.
Whether the manufacturer, importer, or distributor exercised reasonable diligence and good faith will be determined by the compliance officers and their supervisors, after considering a host of factors designed to ensure that they attempted to meet the June 1, 2015 effective date.
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